Make the most of the Redlands boating season by winterizing your boat

At the end of the Redlands boating season, you may be ready to put your boat into storage until the time comes to get back out on the water. However, this time that your boat will be out of service is just as important to prepare for as your first Spring outing. Even in Southern California, winterization is a highly beneficial step to prolong the life of your boat and make every boating season more enjoyable.

Before placing your boat into storage after the Redlands boating season, carefully investigate any issues that may warrant professional evaluation. By handling specific needs before storing your boat, you ensure that your craft is up and running to maximum efficiency next season. Part of this investigation may be checking the hull for signs of stress cracks, as these may require professional repair. Blisters on the hull can be corrected by puncturing and draining them, and then patching the area with epoxy-based filler. Hulls made of aluminum may have developed some dents here and there, which can be corrected with a rubber mallet.

After months in the water for Redlands boating, your craft will likely be in need of a thorough cleaning before going into storage. Check for old messes or spills that may have been hidden, and clean them so your boat looks and smells its best the next time you take it out on the water. Both the inside and the outside of your boat will need special attention. The inside will need an application of rust inhibitor around the steering column and control cables, as well as any metal hardware. The outside should be checked for barnacles or other tag-alongs, which need to be scraped off. Pressure washing is ideal to remove all dirt and residue. To make future cleanings easier, apply a paste wax product that keeps scum from clinging to the surface material of the craft.

Other steps to winterization include:
  • Disconnect and remove battery. Clean terminals and wash battery with water and baking soda, using distilled water for washing and rinsing. Lightly grease terminal ends. Place battery on a trickle charger or charge it periodically when the boat is in storage. It is best not to store the battery on concrete.
  • Empty and clean out the refrigerator on your craft, and prop the door open to prevent mildew from forming. Placing a few boxes of baking soda in the boat will also aid in moisture absorption.
  • Drain fluids from fresh water tank, water heater, port-a-potty, coolers, water pump, engine blocks, and manifolds, and gear case (refill with gear case lubricant). Add antifreeze where necessary, such as the water heater and water tank.
  • Change oil and filter to prevent thickening.
  • Remove spark plugs.
  • Change transmission fluid.
  • Wipe down engine with fogging oil or WD-40.
Performing maintenance before long-term storage will provide you with hefty rewards in the spring. Contact us to discuss your best storage option.
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