Your boat and dock represent a significant investment into your property and water-loving lifestyle. Every boat owner wants to find the best ways to prepare their watercraft for the winter months and keep them in the best condition.
Thankfully, our experts have provided winter storage tips to help you protect your assets!
5 Ways to Store a Boat for the Winter
You have several options available for storing your boat for the winter:
- Your property: Owners can put their boats in garages, sheds or elsewhere on their property if it doesn’t conflict with homeowner association rules or local codes.
- A self-storage yard: Many self-storage companies offer seasonal storage for summer accessories like RVs and boats.
- Indoor stacked boat storage facilities: Commercial marinas typically provide indoor dry storage for a fee — this is the best winter boat storage option for the most protection.
- Outdoor boat storage facilities: Outdoor boat storage spaces are affordable and often have small roofs over the area.
- On a boat lift: Owners may opt to store their boat on their boat lift depending on the conditions and lift.
Can I Leave My Boat on the Water in the Winter?
While leaving your boat in the water might be possible if dry storage options aren’t available, your boat could face potential risks like ice flow and temperature extremes that can cause damage.
9 Steps for Winterizing Your Boat
Whether your boat is in or out of the water, you should winterize it. These steps help protect your investment and prevent unnecessary corrosion or damage:
- Change the engine oil and filter.
- Remove water from the engine and flush the cooling system.
- Add a fuel stabilizer.
- Coat engine parts with an oil spray.
- Drain and replace gear oil.
- Lubricate grease fittings.
- Take out all valuables and store them elsewhere.
- Clean and wax your boat thoroughly.
- Invest in a sturdy cover or shrink wrap.
Can I Leave My Dock Out in the Winter?
Whether you can leave your dock in the water during the off-season depends on your area and your dock’s construction materials. If heavy ice flow is a rarity, leaving your floating dock in the water is generally safe. In harsher conditions, you may consider taking precautions to protect your port from ice flow and temperature extremes.
While floating docks are quite simple to winterize, more permanent structures require a different approach because they’re not easily dismantled.
To prepare a metal, wood or fixed dock for cold weather, you’ll need to:
- Store as many fixtures as possible: You should remove anything non-permanent from your dock. Store accessories like furniture, ladders, ramps and lights in a more secure location to protect them from the extremes.
- Treat your dock: Modern options like de-icers and bubblers can help aerate the water and encourage movement. Consider using these to prevent ice build-up on your fixed dock’s surfaces, marking their locations, so others are aware.
- Check your hardware: Wood docks contract as the weather gets colder, meaning worn or improperly tightened hardware can easily loosen. Give your dock a visual inspection and tighten or replace hardware for more security against strong winds and rough waters.
- Anchor your dock: Lifelines can help protect your port from loosening and floating. Tie a sturdy rope to a more permanent structure high enough to avoid rising tides.
- Save the shoreline: Erosion along the shoreline can cause additional dock damage. Remove as many elements as possible from the area and consider using riprap or investing in hearty, winter-tolerant landscaping to help prevent erosion.
Make Winters Easier With EZ Docks
Our polyethylene docks are durable and offer the ideal blend of convenience, function and beauty. Winter is a great time to plan a new addition to your waterfront property — our EZBoatPort, boat lifts, EZLaunch® Residential and EZ Port components are compatible with all of our modular docking systems.