Preparing a Yacht for Winter Storage

Preparing a Yacht for Winter Storage

Winter storage for yachts is something boat owners should seriously consider as the colder months approach. Most boaters have probably enjoyed a long, hot summer with their boats out on the lake or ocean.

Placing a boat in storage is an efficient way to protect it from the ravages of winter. After all, they have more exposed components than cars or trucks, so they are much more prone to damage. If boat owners leave their yachts outside to brave the elements all winter, the vessel might suffer irreparable damage when spring rolls around. 

Getting yacht club insurance is a great way to ensure boats receive coverage from damage that may occur over winter. These policies offer extensive coverage specifically for watercraft, making them essential for yacht and boat owners. 

Before Preparing a Yacht for the Winter 

Before preparing a yacht for winter storage, your client should decide whether to store it indoors or outdoors. While indoor storage is preferable in most cases, not everyone can afford a dedicated storage unit. The alternatives would be renting a commercial unit or dry stack storage. These can vary considerably in terms of price, convenience, and availability.

Keeping a yacht outdoors comes with its own concerns. The vessel will be much more prone to damage, so it will be necessary to cover it with protective material. There is also an increased risk of theft and vandalism if leaving the boat outside. 

Winter Storage Tips

Whichever option the owner chooses, they will have to prepare the boat for winter storage. Here are some tips to ensure that vessels stay safe and ready to hit the water when spring comes around: 

Take It For a Final Spin

Most owners will probably be raring to take their boat out for a spin. It is actually a good idea, as it will help detect any problems that may require repair or replacement before winter arrives. 

Drain All Water and Fluid

Draining all liquid from the boat is always advisable when putting it away for the winter. But it is essential to do this before the winter cold and frost sets in to prevent costly damage. Boat owners should pour antifreeze into the bilge and water tanks to prevent any remaining fluid from freezing. 

Clean the Entire Boat

Pre-winter preparation is an excellent time to give the boat a thorough cleaning. It is advisable to scrub all surfaces‒including the interior‒with soap and water. Boat owners should also scrape the boat free of attached marine plants and barnacles. After cleaning, the boat should dry completely before storing.

Winterize the Engine

Winterizing is a crucial part of pre-winter care and maintenance. It involves flushing the engine and coolant system with fresh water to clear out salt residue, debris, and corroded matter. Owners should fill the coolant receptacle with antifreeze and top off the fuel tank. 

Lubricate All Moving Components

The next step would be to lubricate moving parts thoroughly before storing them. Owners should apply grease to the steering and control mechanisms. Hinges and latches will benefit from a light application of a moisture-repelling solution. 

Store the Battery Properly

They should remove the battery and charge it thoroughly before putting the boat away for the winter. It is also advisable to remove soot and corrosion from the battery terminals and cable ends and coat each with grease. Since the boat owner will not use the battery until spring, they should keep it in a warm, dry place. 

Remove All Valuables

Boat owners should remove everything that isn’t attached or bolted down and place it in storage. These include personal items, life jackets, fire-fighting equipment, fabric, leather, and electronics. 


Whether boat owners store the yacht indoors or outdoors, adequate preparation is necessary to ensure its optimal condition in the spring. By following the tips outlined above, your clients should have a seaworthy vessel they can rely on for a long time. 

About Merrimac Marine Insurance

At Merrimac Marine, we are dedicated to providing insurance for the marine industry to protect your clients’ business and assets. For more information about our products and programs, contact our specialists today at (800) 681-1998.