Preparing for Shrink Wrapping Season: Getting Boats Ready for Winter Storage

When it comes time to pull your boat out of the water at the end of the season, taking a few diligent precautions will help ensure that it is as good as new when you’re ready to get back out there next year. Shrink wrapping is a great way to protect your boat from UV rays, water, and other damage while it’s waiting for the summer season.

Dealing with gel coat scratches from last season? Check out how to easily restore your boat's natural shine here!

What is Shrink Wrapping?

When you use saran wrap to put away leftovers in the fridge, the way it clings to the bowl is similar to how shrink wrap for your boat works. Shrink wrapping with marine shrink wrap is the process of fully covering your entire boat with a layer of protective material that blocks out cold air, heavy rains, and even sunlight during the winter season. In addition to regular boat maintenance, shrink wrapping prepares your boat for winter and offers stronger protection than just putting your boat into storage. 

Why Should You Invest in Shrink Wrapping?

Shrink wrapping can be expensive; it’s definitely an investment, but your boat isn’t cheap either, so protecting it well is always worth it. When it’s out of use for months at a time, often in harsh weather conditions, shrink wrap can protect it from many types of damage. Unlike using a tarp or something similar, shrink wrap can essentially guarantee your boat’s protection. You can wrap it, put it away, and forget about it until next year, all without losing any sleep at night.

If you don’t shrink-wrap it, then leave it to be forgotten for half of the year, you could pull it out  next season and discover some pretty gruesome damage. People have found rodents in their engines, pooled water in the inside of their boats, causing damage, and more. Almost all of those problems will cost more to fix than simply shrink-wrapping your boat in the first place.

How do You Shrink Wrap a Boat?

If you want shrink wrapping done right, we recommend taking it to a professional for wrap services. Sure, you might have a slightly higher cost associated with the process than if you did a DIY approach, but the peace of mind is well worth it.

If you do want to try shrink-wrapping on your own, it’s doable. First, bring your boat to a clean, dry place, and give it a good cleaning before you get started. Then, drain and plug your fuel vents with shrink wrap tape. Pad sharp corners or objects with towels or foam protection, put up two poles in the center of your boat as supports, and attach those supports to the boat with straps. Now you’re ready to wrap your boat with shrink wrap, apply a heat gun to seal it, and tape over any holes or weak spots to finish it off.

How Else Can You Prepare for Winter Months?

Besides shrink wrapping, some quick boat maintenance can make a big difference in getting your boat ready for winter storage. Thoroughly cleaning the inside and outside of the boat is a great place to start. Then, give the engine a freshwater rinse with a bucket or garden hose and make sure everything is completely dry. Finally, change the engine oil and add a fresh fuel stabilizer before putting your boat away until next time. As an added bonus, you’ll get to unwrap it like a present next boating season!

For more boat detailing and maintenance tips, check out our 2022 tips and tricks here.

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