De-Winterize Your Boat

As the weather warms many will get the itch to head to the water as soon as possible. Boat owners yearn for those spring days and summer afternoons of carefree relaxation with only the water and a few fish for company, but there are a couple chores to complete before enjoying your boat if it has been stored during winter.

This brief guide from Bretz RV & Marine will help you through the steps for de-winterizing your boat. For more information about boat maintenance, or if you’re interested in the best new and used boats and RVs, stop by our location in Missoula, Montana.

Visual Inspection

The first thing to do when pulling your boat out of storage is to give it a detailed visual check. Open every hatch and remove any coverings. If you have an onboard motor, open the motor bay. Look for mold or mildew, as water could have worked its way inside or on canvas cushions and covers. Do the same with any carpet as well as the hull itself. Just check everywhere for mold and mildew!

When examining the hull, be on the lookout for any damage that could have gone unnoticed before you put the boat in storage. Even minute cracks or weakened welding could pose a risk of problems on the water, so don’t hesitate to call Bretz RV & Marine for service! Be wary of any holes or crevices pests might have gotten into for their own winter protection.

Although you’re mostly on the lookout for damage, make note of any components or areas that might need special attention for cleaning, organization, or replacement.


It’s a good idea to get the engine started before dropping your boat into the water. For outboard engines, take off the nacelle and look everything over. Check fluid levels for coolant and oil. Look for leaks around any gaskets and engine heads. For inboard engines, open the bay and look inside. Perform any minor or obvious repairs and check a spark plug or two.


Bust out your GPS, fish finder, or whatever other electronic devices you carry or plan to load on your boat. Check batteries with a multimeter and replace accordingly. Test each device to make sure you won’t find yourself without a critical piece of equipment when you’re actually on the water.


Inspect any covering you’ll be using. Check for rips and tears as well as our familiar friends mold and mildew. Patch small tears and holes in the material before they can turn into bigger problems. Examine your seats as well. Mold, water, and UV light exposure can all weaken the seat material.


Hopefully you have cleaned your boat before storing it, but you’ll still want to give her a once-over. And if you’re the type to take pride in your vessel you might want the cleanest, shiniest boat you can have. Polish chrome accents and spray some cleaner on the windshield. Dust the consoles, clean out coolers and livewells, and sweep up the floors. Your mother would be so proud!

Getting a boat out of storage and ready for the water doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. Build a routine, create a checklist, and watch out for that mold and mildew! If you’ve found something wrong in your inspection, don’t hesitate to call or stop by Bretz RV & Marine. Our talented team of technicians is ready to get your boat seaworthy again. We’re dedicated to building lasting relationships with our partners and employees by doing business honestly and with integrity while serving the recreation community. Come in today to our Missoula or Billings Montana location. We’re also proud to serve Kalispell, Helena, and Great Falls, Montana.  You can also find us in Boise and Nampa, Idaho to better serve you.

Share Button