Boat Storage

You've just enjoyed a long summer of boating fun, and now it's time to stow away your beloved craft. How do you make sure it stays in good shape during the off-season? Most people prefer to check their vessels into offshore marinas, but this can be prohibitively expensive for some. If such is the case, follow this boat storage checklist to keep yours safe and sound during the winter.

More information on boat storage

Clean it UpBoat Storage

Cleaning your boat before taking it out of commission is common sense, really. Hulls have a tendency of collecting all manner of muck; algae, barnacles, gunk, slime, etc. Knowing how ruinous this concoction can be, a thorough clean will be well worth your sweat. Here's how you'll go about it:

-Ideally, you will want to lift your boat off the water for the clean; this will allow you pay more attention to the vulnerable underhull.

-Get rid of dirt and debris by spraying water onto the surface. Start from the top and work your way towards the underside. You could use a simple hose nozzle here, but a pressure washer will be more effective.

-Soap it up: Be sure to use detergents designed specifically for watercraft-- household products risk damaging your boat's finish, or not getting the job done. Mix the recommended amount into a bucketful of water, and give the hull a good scrub using a soft brush/rug.

-Don't forget the interior: Clean up all surfaces and remove anything that could go bad while your boat's in storage.

Perform Maintenance

Pre-storage maintenance is more about preserving your vessel's vital organs to ensure they'll be in good shape for the next boating season. Still, it can't hurt to perform a few checks and identify issues that need remedying. Examining the hull for scrapes/dents and run the engine to listen for unusual sounds. Perform repairs wherever necessary.

From there, take these steps to preserve your craft's systems:

-Flush the engine using freshwater to remove impurities and top up the coolant. Perform an oil change and replace both filters (fuel and air). It's also recommended to take out drive belts to avoid snapping/snagging.

-Spray fogging oil onto the engine as directed by the owner's manual.

-Take out the battery and charge it up before storing it in a warm, dry place. Don't forget to clean the terminals and coat them with grease.

-Lubricate the steering system and other control mechanisms. Apply a little moisture-repelling lubricant all moving parts to prevent corrosion.

-Finally, fill up the fuel tank and seal exhaust ports to keep out critters.

Wax and Cover

Waxing will safeguard your boat's hull from corrosion while it's in storage, besides breathing new life to the paint job. Once again, it's important that you use products formulated specifically for marine vessels. Also be sure to give the hull a good cleanse prior to waxing.

As for the cover, you don't have to be a genius to see the benefits, particularly if you plan to store your boat outdoors. It'll provide an added layer of protection from dust and the elements. A simple plastic tarp might get the job done but, to be on the safe side, consider investing in a shrink wrap.