It’s that time of year again! The summer is coming to an end and you are preparing to tuck away your vessels for the upcoming seasons. Our storage is the most pristine in Chicago and it’s filling up fast!

We want you to know what goes into storing your boat for the winter, so we’ve put a list of FAQ’s that might help you:

What dockside services should be performed before storing my boat?

All engines, generators and propulsion systems should have the following done:

  • Oil & filters changed
  • Fuel filters changed
  • Add fuel stabilizer and treatment to the fuel system
  • Fuel tanks filled up to ¾ tank or more before the final trip to Chicago Yacht Works.

Why? Good question.

Performing these services at the dock before your final boating trip of the season allows fresh oil to circulate through the engine, have the treated fuel run through the entire fuel system, while changing the fuel filters provides fresh filtration of the treated fuel. All of this adds up to protecting your investment.

How can I easily get my boat to CYW?

You can bring your vessel up the Chicago River, through beautiful downtown Chicago. Just turn left (South) at Wolf Pointe (Merchandise Mart) and follow the South Branch of the Chicago River through the city. Continue past China Town, under the Amtrak bridge (they have cameras now but you can also call on Channel 16) and continue past the Ozinga concrete plant. Look for the Ashland Ave bridge when you see the new modern Eleanor St. Boathouse on your Port side.

Chicago Yacht Works docks begin on your Starboard side just after the Ashland bridge.  It is a beautiful 45 minute ride from the Chicago Lock.


Our USCG licensed Captains can pick up your boat at the harbor, take with them all of your power cables, fenders and dock lines and safely deliver her to our docks. We can even arrange for our captains to fuel your boat and pump it out before making the trip up the river.

Are there other services I need to have done before or during storage?

Oil and Fuel Filter Changes – Whether you have a Volvo, Mercury, Yanmar, Ilmor or other inboard engine, there are standard annual maintenance service items that need to be addressed. Changing the oil and filter in any engine is critical to maintaining your engines performance. Running clean oil through the engine is the cheapest insurance you can buy for your engine. Manufacturers also recommend changing the fuel filters either every 100 hours or annually. Having clean fuel is just as important as clean oil. You can pay for service now, or later. We promise it costs more later!

Battery Service – Maintaining your batteries is a another critical annual maintenance item. During the winter storage months, your batteries will need to be charged periodically to keep them in working condition. We know all too well what happens when batteries are left to drain all winter long and then hit the dock; the engine won’t start! Let us manage your batteries for you by ordering battery service this storage season. Don’t forget, CYW does not disconnect your batteries after haul out unless you order Battery Service.

Impellers  – Changing your impellers every 2 years can be the difference between running a smooth engine all summer long and burning one up. Changing impellers every two years is the standard OEM recommended scheduled service interval and needs to be on your list of winter service items.

Water Systems – Whether you store your boat in our heated buildings or outside, maintaining your water systems is an important item to add to the winter service list. If you store in the cold, inside or out, you need to winterize your water systems so water doesn’t turn to ice, expand and burst a hose, gasket or fitting.

If you store inside heated, draining your water systems and using a cleaner will help keep the water, tanks and hoses in proper condition.

Don’t forget that your bilge(s), heads, showers, ice-makers, refrigerators, HVAC systems and even windshield washer fluids are part of your water systems. Having a clean bilge that’s free of water will help to eliminate the potential for mold build up during the winter layup. If you store in the cold, all of these systems need to be winterized.

Winterizing Engines and Generators – If you store your vessel in the cold, it is imperative that you winterize any engine or generator on board. You have to protect them from bursting. Most engine manufacturers recommend running propylene glycol with rust inhibitors (winterizing antifreeze) through the engine blocks when storing for 6 months or longer. This will protect the metals from rusting inside out. It’s all about protecting the internal engine surfaces.

Don’t be surprised, winterize!

Are there non-required services that can be done while my vessel is in storage?

A la Carte – We have the capabilities to install carpet, canvas, electronics, unstep and step masts, sailboat rigging services, a detail and cleaning crew plus much, much more.

If you’re not sure what your vessel needs, reach out to us at anytime. It’s never too early to request services. If you wait too long, you can delay your launch next spring and we don’t to delay your time out on the water!

Who do I contact and how do I request services?

Please contact one of us in the Service Department below to schedule your service. We’ve now made it easy for you to sign up for service online – access the service order form right here, hassle-free! You can also download this form to scan, mail, or drop it off at the office.

Don’t forget, it’s first come, first served so get your request made soon.

Michael Argyelan – 312-666-6670 ext. 103
Jonathan Paige – 312-666-6670 ext. 107
Patrick Knibbs – 312-666-6670 ext. 105