Most boats in northern climates have to go into storage in addition to following standard winterizing steps. This includes storing batteries. Temperature plays a role with battery efficiency and life span. While doing some research on boat battery storage ideas, I have assembled some so tips for how to store boat batteries over the winter that begin with the letters D and C that in this case, do not mean “direct current.”
1. Dirt and Corrosion
One of the first things to check regarding how to store a boat battery for winter is the visual condition of each battery. Are there signs of corrosion on the terminals or connections? If so, it is commonly recommended to clean with a baking soda/water mixture and toothbrush, or a wire brush if corrosion is already present.
2. Disconnect and Charge
Okay, there might be resistance to this example because you have to switch the order of the letters but you get the drift. For marine battery storage, charge that battery one more time, and then disconnect everything. Sometimes there can be an overlooked connection that can still draw down the battery’s power. Many boating websites advise setting the battery with a trickle charge every month or so. Be careful not to overcharge.
3. Dry and Cool
A continual theme relating to tips maintaining deep cycle batteries over winter is to keep them away from exposure to moisture and extreme temperatures. A dedicated area of a garage is a good, common storage location. Cool, but not cold, conditions help extend the life of a battery. Setting the battery on a block of wood is often suggested as a part of how to store boat batteries over the winter because it further insulates and reduce moisture from a cold concrete slab that may “sweat” at times.
4. Damage Control
Older, weaker power sources, like this author, will not like the cold and will need the most attention. How to store a boat battery for winter could also mean that it may be time to recycle and replace your battery, rather than start spring with a power doubt. It is best not to leave a battery in the boat and to keep from freezing if possible. A protective case can also be helpful for safely transporting batteries to storage.