Just the Basics: Winterizing Your Sea Ray Boat
Published on October 20, 2021
Winterizing your Sea Ray is an important part of boat ownership if you live in a region with a traditional winter climate. Taking the proper steps to store your boat for the off-season can keep it looking like new and help you avoid problems like hull damage or engine failure. It’s crucial that you drain water from your boat’s systems and prevent it from getting in while it’s not in use, as water can add unnecessary weight, ruin fabrics and foams, or cause costly freeze damage.
Follow these steps to prepare your Sea Ray boat and accessories for dry storage:
1. Completely drain all the systems in your boat that might hold water including the engine(s) and propulsion system, tanks and plumbing, and the hull.
2. Remove soft items and delicate parts of the boat like detachable cushions, canvas curtains and teak tables. These items can be stored at home or anywhere they’ll stay safe and dry through the off-season. Consider sealing up any compartments where small animals could seek shelter. (Many boaters use strongly scented mothballs or laundry sheets as critter deterrent.)
3. Cover open areas like the bow and cockpit with tonneau covers and/or tarps, and clear debris from scuppers to prevent water intrusion and ensure continued drainage.
Drain the Systems
Safeguard your Sea Ray’s systems by draining water from the engine(s) and adding antifreeze. Everything aboard your boat should be thoroughly dry when it’s put away.
To Prep Outboard Boats:
Tilt the engine(s) into the full down position so water can drain out.
Drain any water tanks including freshwater and sanitation systems.
Pull your boat’s drain plug(s) and make sure the bow is slightly elevated, so water doesn’t pool inside.
With the major components now dry, run any raw water accessories that have pumps (i.e., washdowns, sinks and showers) until all the water is out of the system. If you still hear gurgling as the pump runs, that means the system didn’t drain completely. Try blowing out the lines with compressed air or add environmentally safe propylene glycol antifreeze. (For tips on preparing sterndrive boats, refer to the Owner’s Manual or contact your local Sea Ray dealer.
Remove the intake hose from the seacock.
Submerge the end in a bucket full of antifreeze and run the pump.
If needed, elevate the end of the hose and pour in antifreeze to prime the pump.
If your boat has freshwater plumbing, open all the faucets or outlets with the pump running until they go dry.
Close all the outlets, then turn off the pump and add propylene glycol antifreeze to the water tank.
Open the faucet farthest from the tank, turn the pump back on and let it run until antifreeze comes out of the faucet.
Close it, then go to the next-farthest outlet and repeat the same procedure.
To ensure your boat’s plumbing systems are fully protected, repeat the above process until antifreeze is running through all the pipes and faucets.
Treat the Fuel Tank
You shouldn’t drain your Sea Ray’s fuel tank since condensation can form in the empty tank and introduce water into the fuel supply. However, you need to treat your fuel tank before storing your boat for the winter.
Fill up your boat’s fuel tank a final time for the season and purchase a fuel stabilizer.
Following the instructions on the bottle for the amount and dispensing method, add the stabilizer to your fuel tank.
Run your engine(s) so the treated fuel can make its way through the entire system (about 10–15 minutes).
Remove Soft Items
Storing soft items from your boat in a climate-controlled space during the winter can extend their usefulness, prevent mold and mildew, and keep them looking fresh.
Stow detachable seat cushions, filler cushions, pillows, linens, teak tables and other delicate items in a clean, dry place like a garage or basement.
If applicable, roll up (don’t fold) canvas curtains and store them indoors in their dedicated storage bag (if you have one).
Choose a Cover
Covering your Sea Ray boat is the best way to keep it dry and ensure it stays that way during the off-season. Depending on your resources and budget, there are several cover options to protect against water intrusion both indoors and outdoors.
Option 1: Professional Shrink Wrapping
Your local Sea Ray dealer can assist with shrink wrap services. Fees usually range from $15 to $25 per foot of boat depending on your area, but it’s worth the investment if you want the added peace of mind or don’t have an indoor storage option.
Option 2: Fitted Canvas
For outdoor storage, you can use a high-quality canvas cover or tarp if it’s sturdy and can withstand snow and ice. Avoid using inexpensive poly tarps. They rarely last for more than a couple of seasons, tend to rip or sag if they become covered with snow, and can wear away your boat’s gel coat if they move in the wind. Keep in mind, storing your boat outside can make it vulnerable to harsh weather conditions.
Option 3: Indoors
Housing your boat in a garage, or auxiliary structure like a barn, is the ideal storage solution. Storing your Sea Ray in an insulated space provides protection from weather and temperature changes with less need for additional covers or tarps.
No matter the cover option you choose, it’s important your boat stays properly ventilated to prevent condensation. Shrink wrap technicians will add vents, and most high-quality covers feature built-in vents. If your cover doesn’t include vents, you can purchase them and add them yourself.
Store Your Boat
There are different options available for where and how you store your Sea Ray boat for the winter, depending on your resources and budget. Before you decide, be sure to weigh the pros and cons and consider what works best for your needs. For example, storing your boat indoors can eliminate the need for extras like canvas covers and may require less time and work.
Option 1: Home Storage
Your Sea Ray can be stored on its trailer in a driveway, on blocks under a carport or in a garage. Regardless of the option you choose, you should take protective measures to prevent damage from rain, snow and wind.
Option 2: Professional Facility Storage
Your local marina or Sea Ray dealer might offer opportunities to store your boat in a storage yard or facility for a variable fee. Outdoor storage in North America typically costs about $20–$50 per boat foot per month, and indoor facilities can run as high as $200 per boat foot for each month of service. Full-service facilities can even handle the entire process for you including hauling, blocking, winterizing and shrink wrapping for additional fees.
Investing your time and money winterizing your Sea Ray boat ensures it’ll last for many years to come, offering more opportunities for making memories out on the water. Plus, the cost of winterization and storage is much less than the boating experiences you’ll miss out on waiting on expensive major repairs.
For more tips on storing your Sea Ray boat, visit the Sea Ray Owners Club.