(NewsUSA) – As summer winds down, every boat owner clings to those last few warm days to take his or her boat out on the water with family and friends. Unfortunately, summer doesn’t last forever and as the sun sets on another boat season, it is time to start thinking about how to store your boat and outboard engine for those off-season months.Proper off-season storage protects critical internal components from corrosive gummy deposits from unbound ethanol, which can damage your engine, fuel tanks and fuel system components. Proper winterization also helps to protect against the freezing of critical engine components. If left untreated, damage from corrosion, broken parts, and general repairs could cost you thousands of dollars as well as time on the water.So, as you prepare for off-season storage, follow these easy winterization steps to ensure your outboard engine is in tip-top shape for next season:1. Flush out the engine with fresh water. Doing so will flush out excess salt, dirt, sand, and other contaminants, and prevent blockage and corrosion of critical cooling system components.2. Add fuel stabilizers. Pour quality fuel stabilizers into the gas tank to prevent the breakdown of ethanol and other deposits from ruining your engine. Be sure to run the engine after adding the stabilizer to the fuel tank to ensure that it reaches fuel system components in the engine.3. Keep the fuel tank full. Storing your boat with a full tank of fuel, particularly if ethanol fuel is used, will help minimize condensation that may occur within the fuel tank.4. Fog the engine cylinders and carburetor intakes to help slow corrosion. The use of spray fogging oil will help protect internal engine components from corrosion. Spray fogging oil into the air intake while the engine runs, then disconnect the fuel line. Continue to spray into the air intake until the engine dies. Evinrude E-TEC engine’s auto-winterization feature streamlines steps one and four by flushing out the engine and fogging itself for a few minutes. After the engine has completed fogging, it will shut off and your engine will be ready for storage.5. Change the oil in four-stroke engines. Changing the oil will remove moisture and harmful acids that have collected within the oil. These acids and contaminates could cause corrosion of internal engine components.6. Drain and replace gear case lubricant. Milky colored gear lubricant is a sign that water has entered the gear case. If left unchecked, the water within the gear case can freeze, causing the gear case to permanently fail.7. Ensure that the battery is fully charged and disengaged. A fully charged battery is less susceptible to damage during cold storage. A fully charged battery’s freezing point is around minus 95 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas a partially-charged battery could freeze in temperatures as high as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.You should always consult your owner’s manual for specific winterization techniques, but following these quick, easy, and relatively low-cost steps will protect your engine and save you expensive maintenance costs next season.