Geographic diversity makes for varied boating needs.
After reading the subject line of the emailed press release, I was going to write about the “Next Evolution of the Koozie” this month. Instead, I was moved to opine about the less controversial, though more salient, subject of winter storage and how it might differ from other variants of boat storage. That last bit is a pet peeve of mine. Read, write, photograph and edit more than 100 different articles on the subject of storing boats during the offseason, like I have, and you too may become a bit punchy.
The main point I’d like to get across may seem brutally obvious. But I am going to state it anyway. Most of what is needed to protect a boat and engine during winter storage is identical to that which is needed during any long period of storage, regardless of the season or the ambient temperature.
What length of time equates to a long period of storage? Let’s call it 45 days overall and 30 days for gasoline fuel.
I’m ducking in advance because publicly making such pronouncements inevitably proves fraught with hazard. Some boaters will immediately challenge my assertion. And they’ll probably be right. For the way they use their boats and their specific engines, and in the specific area that they boat, the time periods listed may not equate to storage. “Hellooooo, Lake Powell!”
Others will agree wholeheartedly, having seen fresh fuel turn, new metal corrode, and lovely upholstery mildew in less time than it takes to develop a good farmer tan. Here’s looking at you, Florida Keys.
Shoot, on Lake Superior or Penobscot Bay, 45 days is the bulk of the season!
This is a challenge we face in presenting boating content. The vast geographic diversity of boaters means that any given must for one boater turns out to be a maybe, and sometimes even a never, for some other boaters in some other places. Therefore, we ever err on the side of caution.
But aside from the parts about draining water and ensuring that water doesn’t collect where it will freeze, expand, and crack whatever it hasn’t drained from, winterization is as much about the effects of disuse as it is cold temperature — keeping fuel supplies fresh, lubricating the innards of engines that are not being run, making sure fluids are topped up and more. If your prop-shaft seal is compromised and water gets into the gear case while you’re away from the boat for a month, even if it’s high summer in High Point, North Carolina, you may well have an expensive repair on your hands.
Or maybe you’ll get lucky and it will take 45 days for the corrosion to set in.
Enjoy the issue.
Most of what is needed to protect a boat and engine during winter storage is identical to that which is needed during any long period of storage, regardless of the season or the ambient temperature.