Guide to storing a boat long term

After a long summer of fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, wakeboarding, and sunbathing, it’s time to store away your boat. You won’t use it in the colder months that lie ahead. A boat has many exposed parts susceptible to corrosion. Such damage can impair performance and cost hundreds of dollars to repair. The unrelenting winter climate can further worsen these effects. Therefore, it is imperative to take care of your boat correctly. Taking the boat out for the first time in the spring is a feeling that all boat owners look forward to. When you take proper precautions for storing a boat long-term, your watercraft will be ready for boating season on day one.  Our experts at Preferred Movers NH have come up with a quick guide to storing a boat long-term. Follow it to make sure your boat is safe during winter.

People on a power boat before storing the boat long term
Make sure to take proper care of your boat so you can enjoy moments like this in the next season!

Choosing long-term boat storage

There are several options when it comes to boat storage:

  • Your yard or driveway. If you have the trailer, and the space, this is the least costly method of storing a boat. Small boats can be stored in a garage as well.
  • Outdoor boat storage. Whether a self-storage facility or a marina, outdoor boat storage is another option to store your boat. The boat can be covered or uncovered.
  • Indoor storage at a storage facility. Many storage facilities, like storage New Hampton NH residents recommend, offer units big enough to provide boat storage. If you want to be absolutely sure that your boat is protected at all times, a climate-controlled self-storage unit is the best way to go. A unit like that will provide the perfect conditions for winter boat storage.
  • A boatyard. This type of storage is also known as high and dry storage or rack storage. Boatyards store your boat indoors, on a rack with numerous other boats.
  • A marina. Having a boat slip at a marina can be convenient. If you leave your boat in the marina, it simply rests in the water ready to launch. Sometimes this is the only option. For example, if you’re storing a yacht or other very large boat. Regrettably, marinas are also the most expensive choice. Also, there is another disadvantage to this option. The boat remains susceptible to environmental influence. Sun exposure, rain, or hail can cause damage.

If you decide to store your boat outside of the marina or boatyard, note that you should complete routine maintenance and/or winterization before storing away your boat. Then you can find the best movers North Hampton NH has to offer so they can transport your boat to your desired destination.

Storing a boat long-term: how to do it right?

Before doing anything, it is critical that you read your owner’s manual. Examine the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding winterizing and long-term storage. When you’re storing a boat for a couple of warmer months, you can skip winterizing. However, do conduct any routine maintenance that needs to be completed before storing the boat or during the time the boat is stored. The following tips are the standard practice for storing a boat over winter. Follow the tips, pack your sailing equipment, and you’ll be ready for next season.

Boat in water covered with snow
Snow can easily damage your boat, make sure to cover it and store it correctly.


An important part of winterizing a boat is preparing the hull of the boat. Fiberglass hulls can split and crack, which can lead to leaks.

  • First, address any cracks in the fiberglass. Do this before you put the cover.
  • Scrape or pressure wash barnacles and residue off of the hull.
  • After washing the hull, you can add a layer of wax to protect it and make next years’ washing easier.
  • Get a poly tarp or polyvinyl cover to place over the boat. You might be able to find a cover to fit your exact model. Thus, you’ll secure hull integrity and prevent mildew.

Winterize the engine for storing the boat long-term

Corrosion, fuel degradation, and freezing are the biggest problems regarding storage. They often cause off-season engine damage.

  • Inspect wires, and hoses in the engine to assure there are no problems that could be worsened by months of disuse.
  • Run the engine once more, then change the oil and the oil filter.
  • Rinse the engine with fresh water while idling the engine. When clean water comes out, you can stop. This ensures that the engine won’t overheat and it removes salt, dirt, and corrosion.
  • Put the engine in an upright position. The water should drain completely. After that, you can refill the coolant system with antifreeze.
  • Turn the engine on once again, and diffuse fogging oil into the carburetor. While the engine is still running, shut off the fuel supply by turning the fuel valve.
  • When the engine stops, pull the spark plugs, apply some fogging oil on the cylinders, crank the engine a few times and reinstall the plugs.

Fuel System

Fill up the gas tank, then add a fuel stabilizer to the tank to prevent degradation of the fuel during winter.

Boat interior
Don’t forget to prepare the interior before storing a boat long-term.

Lubricate moving parts

Lubricate the steering system and control mechanisms. Gently apply lubricant on all moving metal parts of the boat. For instance, hinges, latches, and linkages should be greased. Disconnect the propeller, examine for fishing line and seal damage, grease, and return to the original position.


  • Make sure your cover allows ventilation. This will stop trapped moisture from causing mold or mildew. Not doing this properly is a very common issue with winterizing for first-time boat owners.
  • Remove all items you can from the boat, including personal floatation devices, flares, fire extinguishers, etc. Remove detachable electrical components like radios, as well.
  • Clean the carpets and deck.
  • Drain sinks and showers and apply antifreeze on them.


Disconnect the battery and put it at home or in your unit when storing a boat long-term. Charge it every once in a while throughout the winter. This will prevent the battery from draining and dying over the winter months. Remember: after storing a boat long term, you still want to be able to sail it again. So take good care of every single part of it, including the battery.