You have had several unforgettable adventures on your boat, but now it's time to put it into storage. Instead of placing your boat into a friend's unheated garage or hoping it remains safe under a tarp, you have decided to give your boat the best possible environment by putting it into a self-storage unit.

However, before you say goodbye to your boat for a few months, you need to prepare it for storage. Here are four simple tips to help you get your boat ready for a storage unit.

1. Change the Oil and Fill the Gas Tank

The best place to begin prepping your boat for storage is to change the oil. This step will help ensure any water or caustic materials that have made it into the system are flushed out and don't corrode your engine. Follow the steps found in your manual to change the oil, including changing the filter and flushing the system to ensure no water remains.

Once you're finished, refill the oil to the proper levels.

Next, fill the gas tank and add a stabilizer. This step will help prevent any condensation and corrosion from occurring inside the tank. After you add the stabilizer, turn the motor on, which allows the fuel and the stabilizer to work its way throughout the entire system. 

2. Prepare the Motor

The next step is to prepare the motor. A fuel tank flush and oil change are good starting places, but these aren’t the only ways to prevent corrosion or damage to the motor while it's in storage. The best option is to apply a fogging oil into the carburetor. The oil provides a nongreasy, protective film to the internal components of the engine, which helps prevent corrosion.

To apply the fogging oil, first refer to your boat's owner's manual. The manual will provide specific instructions of where to apply the fogging oil. Some manuals will recommend spraying the oil into the spark plug holes, while others will recommend applying it throughout the entire carburetor.

Finally, grab a clean cloth or rag and dampen it with fogging oil. Cover any exposed engine parts with the fogging oil to help protect them during storage, as well.

3. Clean the Propeller

Once you’ve prepared the motor, remove the propeller from the boat and check for any damage or obstructions, such as fishing line wrapped around the blades. Once again, your owner’s manual will have specific instructions for carefully removing the propeller. Clean the propeller with soapy water and a rag. Rinse off the propeller and allow it to air dry, or carefully dry it with a soft cloth.

Before you replace the propeller, cover the propeller shaft with a waterproof or water-resistant grease, according to the package directions. Finally, secure the propeller back on the shaft.

4. Clean the Boat

The next step is probably the most arduous: cleaning the boat. Begin by removing anything unnecessary. This includes fishing gear, food, garbage, and other personal items. Here are some additional steps to help clean your boat, which will help protect it from damage, including mold and mildew growth:

  • Clean the carpeting. To clean the carpet, begin by dampening it with a garden hose. Next, grab an all-purpose carpet cleaner, and work it into the carpet fibers with a scrub brush. Finally, rinse away the car shampoo and allow the carpet to dry.
  • Clean out the live wells. Live wells can also become covered with grime, mold, and mildew. Clean them by first draining the water. Next, wash out the sides with a mixture of vinegar and water or baking soda and water. Never use a strong chemical or bleach to clean out the live wells.
  • Clean the seats. Grab a product specifically designed to clean vinyl and wipe down your seats. If you have stubborn stains, use the product and a scrub brush. Once the seats are dry, cover them with a vinyl protectant.
  • Clean the console. The easiest way to clean your console and gauges is with a store-bought window cleaner. Make sure to use a microfiber or other soft cloth for the gauges to avoid scratches.

The last step is to clean the hull. Grab a garden hose with a sprayer attachment or a power washer, and clean every square inch of the hull. Clean the hull with a sponge or rag and a commercial boat cleaner. Rinse off the hull and allow it to dry before applying a coat of wax, according to the package directions.

Prepping your boat before placing it into self-storage will help prevent corrosion, mold growth, and other damage. If you have any further questions about storing your boat, contact the professionals at Sentry Mini-Storage Inc.We’re happy to provide covered storage for your boat either in the water or out of the water.