How to Prepare Your Boat for Winter Storage in South Dakota


Reno Gulch Self Storage
September 28th, 2023

boat storage
Few things are as fun, relaxing, or exciting as getting out on the lake in your boat during the warm summer months in South Dakota. Bringing along friends and family on your boat helps create wonderful memories that you will hold close to your heart for a lifetime.

However, there are many months of the year when you can’t use your boat. That’s because, as we all know, South Dakota is home to some very intense winters.

The winter in South Dakota means that you will have to keep your boat securely stored during the cold months of the year. That can require forethought and planning but it’s well worth it because if you don’t put your boat in storage during winter, you are going to be saying goodbye to your boat for good.

To keep your boat in good shape despite severe winter elements in South Dakota, it is essential to get it ready for winter storage. We have a step-by-step process that will help you get your boat ready for a long, cold winter.

Find a Storage Facility

First things first, before you can do anything you need to find the right location to store your boat during winter. Hill City, South Dakota is home to Reno Gulch Self Storage which can safely store your boat. The storage facility is gated and secured with cameras to ensure that your boat stays safe during the winter.

Clean Your Boat:

Before you can put your boat away for the winter, you need to make sure it is clean. You need to remember that your boat will come out exactly as you put it in. Therefore, you want it to look 100% because that’s how it’ll be in several months when you pull it out of storage again.

Cleaning is vital and it can take some time, so you need to be prepared for that. To get rid of any filth, debris, and saltwater traces, thoroughly clean your boat inside and out. Pay extra close attention to the deck hull and hull of the vehicle as well as every piece of equipment too. To protect the finish of the boat from harm, use a cleaner specifically designed for boats.

Also, make sure that you have enough of the cleaning supplies ready for when winter ends because you will be doing just a bit of cleaning again when the sun and warm weather is back, and you don’t want to extend the process then by having to go buy more products.

Drain All Fluids:

To avoid freezing and any damage, drain the fluids from your boat. There is a lot to this because it consists of emptying the bilge of water, draining the fuel tanks, and, if necessary, the cooling system of the engine.

This part of the process can take hours, so you need to plan accordingly.

Winterize Your Engine:

To protect it from the harm that comes with freezing South Dakota conditions, you must winterize your boat's inboard or outboard engine. The general procedures for winterizing an engine are as follows:

  • Replace the oil filter and the oil.
  • Use a rust inhibitor to fog the engine.
  • Drain the cooling system of the engine and replace it with antifreeze made specifically for marine engines.
  • Take out the spark plugs and spritz the cylinders with the fogging oil of your choice.
  • Unplug the battery and take it out so you can store it somewhere cool and dry.

Protect the Gasoline System:

To prevent your gasoline from degrading throughout the cold winter months, you should use a purchased fuel stabilizer to take care of the fuel remaining in the boat’s tank. This will last for several months. To make sure the stabilized gasoline is distributed throughout the entirety of the system, run the engine for just a short amount of time.

Electronics and Valuables Should Be Removed:

Next up, you need to remove all electronics, fishing equipment, valuables, and other detachable equipment from the boat. Keep these things in a safe, dry location where you won’t forget them.

Battery Removal:

After that, you will have to disconnect the boat's battery and take it out. Think about using a battery maintainer as well to keep the battery charged during the winter and ensure that you store it in a cool and dry location.

Cover Your Boat:

One of the most important parts of the storage process is the easiest: covering the boat.

To do this, you will want to use a well-fitting, breathable boat cover. Keep the cover from blowing off in heavy winds by checking it is well fastened and fits perfectly and is made for your boat’s model.

Verify the Drain Plugs:

Next, verify that the drain plugs are either open or removed. This enables any stored water to flow out and avoids freezing-related damage.

Keep Your Documents:

Before storing your boat, take pictures of its condition and make note of any maintenance or winterization procedures you've followed. Keep crucial papers, such as registration and insurance, in a secure location. Think about it this way: you want your boat to look the same when you store it and when you pull it out in the days of spring and summer, so you need to have a very good idea of how it appears when you put it away.

Boat Storage in Hill City, South Dakota

Once you have put your boat away, you can still check in on it. Periodically visit your boat during the winter to look for problems such as water buildup, damage to the cover, or evidence of pests.

Reno Gulch Self Storage provides boat storage in Hill City, South Dakota. Book a unit online or call us today at (605) 574-2106.