It’s hard to even think about boating on Smith Mountain Lake when the temperature refuses to budge above freezing, but protecting your boat from harsh winter weather will increase performance and keep maintenance to a minimum. That way, when its time to enjoy summertime boating and PWC amenities, you’ll spend less time performing repairs and more time exploring SML.

First and foremost, make sure your boat is out of the water and well-covered, either by a tarp or underneath a structure. If you need storage space, contact any of Smith Mountain Lake’s marinas for information on renting covered slips. Many marinas also offer boat winterization as a paid service.

Once your boat is out of the water, inspect it for damage. This is also a good opportunity to clean both the interior and exterior of your boat. Remove any items that could possibly be affected by the winter weather including electronics, fire extinguishers, and flares. Do not store anything valuable on the boat.

Check your owner’s manual for recommendations on fuel storage as it varies by manufacturer. Some recommend storing with a full tank of fuel, whereas some recommend adding a fuel stabilizer. Test your batteries to make sure they are fully charged, and make sure that all of your switches are turned off so that you don’t accidentally drain your battery.

A thorough list of boat winterization checkpoints can be found here, however if this is your first time winterizing your boat (or if you don’t feel comfortable completing these tasks on your own), it’s best to enlist the help of an experienced professional.

Source: Winterizing Your Boat,