Boat Storage: 3 Tips To Avoid Engine Trouble In The Winter

Posted on: 14 July 2015

Boating is an incredibly attractive watersport and recreational activity in the U.S. captivating over 7.3% of all Americans over the age of 16 to become boat owners. There is nothing more freeing than going for an adventure on the waters. All boat owners have one common problem – storing the boat when it is not in use. Not knowing how to store the boat properly in storage could easily lead to engine problems – especially during the winter. Here are 3 tips you should implement if you want to keep your boat in pristine condition.

Topping off Your Gas Tank with Fuel and a Stabilizer

When summer comes along, you want to be able to take your boat straight to the water without having to go through the trouble of filling the tank. Topping off your gas tank with fuel before setting it aside for storage can also be beneficial for the engine and many other parts. The problem lies in the fact that marine fuel can become stale in a little over a month. At this point, the ethanol and the water in the fuel separates and the sticky by-products will coat the inner engine and become a costly obstruction.

The solution is simple. Add a fuel stabilizer designed solely for marine fuel into the gas tank as well. The stabilizer also reduces the chances of condensation. Run the engine for several minutes after you have added the stabilizer to make sure it is mixed well throughout the entire system.

Change the Engine Oil and Replace Filters

Letting used engine oil sit for a long period of time can become damaging to the engine. The chemical properties of the engine oil may react with the by-products produced, which may end up clogging parts of the engine as well. Take the time to change the engine oil and top it up to make sure all of the parts are properly lubricated while in storage.

In addition, if you've taken the boat out for several spins, there is a good chance the filters are dirty. You don't want to leave dirty filters alone for long because the problem will only worsen with time. To make sure your boat runs smoothly during the summer when you take it out from storage, replace all of the filters with new ones. This way, the boat will basically perform like new.

Flush the Coolant System with Water and Add Anti-Freeze

The coolant system is responsible for cooling down the engine, and should be properly cleaned and kept in pristine condition. Flush remaining coolant residue out with water, and make sure you add anti-freeze afterwards to prevent the water from corroding into and affecting the engine.

Make sure you stay consistent in the type of anti-freeze you use. There are two options to choose from: ethylene-gylcol and propylene-glycol anti-freeze. It is unwise to mix the two different types because they have unique freezing and boiling points. If you will be switching from one to the other, you want to flush the system thoroughly to get rid of any remaining anti-freeze residue.


Most boat owners recommend leaving the engine and fuel-system winterization work to qualified mechanics. One wrong step and you might be facing hefty and expensive repairs by the time summer comes around. Learning how to properly store your boat can help maintain its condition and performance for a long period of time and prevent the risk of incurring costly damages. There are also many storage units at places like Epic Group Inc  designed specifically for storing boats, so shop around and compare deals to find a unit most suited for your vessel.