To help boats, yachts, or any kind of water vessel last long, it is imperative that every owner know the best practices in storage.
It is important that you understand that having a boat more work than you might think, which is why research is needed to accomplish all tasks that need to be done. Lucky for you, we have compiled expert-recommended tips in storing your boats based on different scenarios as well as the factors you should consider when deciding where to store your boat.
Best Practices in Boat Storage
Good storage is a major factor in determining how long a boat will last. This is because, aside from maintenance, securing the vessel will ensure that it remains in its best condition for a longer period.
Below are 17 expert tips and best practices you should try when storing your boat:
1. Keep It Clean
Keeping your boat clean is one of the most basic rules of storage. Even when you are only storing it for a little while, it is imperative that you maintain the neatness of your boat to avoid build-up of grime. Doing so will also help you avoid staining and molds from growing.
2. Do Some Waxing
After cleaning the entirety of your boat, it is a good idea to add protection by covering its body with wax. This will help you avoid rust, especially if the boat will be stored outside.
3. Secure It with Someone You Trust
To ensure the safety of your boat, make sure to lock it into the facility and leave the keys with someone you trust. This way, that same person can also come to the place where your boat is being kept regularly.
4. Protect It from Critters
Small animals like mice can cause damages to your boat, so it is best to keep them away. To do this, make sure that your boat’s storage facility cannot be easily accessed by these climbers. Never leave ladders, ramps, and other possible passages for these critters to climb onto. You may also put moth balls along the storage blocking and the boat itself will help repel these nasty animals.
5. Do Some In-Cabin Maintenance
Never forget to do some in-cabin maintenance before putting your boat in storage, even for a short period. Among the things you should check are the refrigerators. Make sure to turn it off, empty, and clean it out before turning in the vessel to the storage facility or marina. Also, remember to leave the door partially open for better air circulation.
6. On-Deck Storage
Make sure to check the sails, mast, line, and fenders before putting your boat into storage. The sails should be dry and properly rolled before being stored inside the boat. The mast should be removed and secured inside the vessel or in a separate storage area.
Fenders, lines, and other equipment should be cleaned and dried first before being stowed into storage where there isn’t any sunlight. Never forget secure other boating equipment that may be left on the deck.
7. Secure the Engines, Propellers, and Motors
When securing the engine, empty the fuel tank by running the engine after closing the fuel outlet to prevent the substance from harming its injectors or carburetors. It is also recommended to fog the engine to avoid moisture build-up. The boat’s propellers and motors should also be secured. Remember to remove the propellers and outdrives.
8. Change the Oil
To prevent engine corrosion, make sure to change the oil and oil filter. To do this, flush out remnants of the old substance with water. Then drain it entirely before adding new oil.
9. Maintain the Coolant System
The cooling system should be flushed with water as well. Make sure to replace the antifreeze solution with one that is diluted based on the chemical’s specification to prevent the boat’s engine from freezing and corroding during winter.
10. Use Fogging Oil
Spraying fogging oil onto the spark plug holes or carburetor can help protect the engine’s moving parts from freezing from extremely cold temperatures during winter. To do this, turn over the engine without starting it and spray the oil while it is still rotating. You may also refer to your manual for proper use of fogging oil based on the boat engine specifications.
11. Take the Drive Belts Out
Drive belts tend to crack from being kept under tension for extended periods, so make sure to loosen or remove them before you store your boat. This is best done for winter storage.
12. Maintain the Steering Mechanism
The steering mechanism should be greased well before being stored to ensure that the joints and other moving parts will work smoothly once you take your boat out again.
13. Disconnect the Battery
Before keeping your boat in storage, make sure to remove connections of the battery to prevent it from being drained and top it with distilled water. This will help lengthen its lifespan and avoid unnecessary battery changes when you need to use your boat again. It is also wise to recharge it occasionally, especially when storing the boat for extended periods.
14. Take Care of the Gas
You should either fill the fuel system tanks, pour in stabilizers, or drain it entirely to avoid corrosion and other engine damages that may occur when your boat is stored. The stabilizer will ensure that you can use the fuel again once you decide to bring your vessel out.
15. Close Exhaust Ports
To protect it from small critters, remember to close all exhaust ports using duct tape or other sturdy material.
16. Deal with the Interior
Remove all electronics and organic materials such as fabric, canvas, or leather inside the boat, especially when storing the vessel for the winter. This will help prevent damage due to moisture from the cold.
17. Cover It Up
Boat covers should be used to prevent accumulation of dirt, grime, dust, and moisture. This way, you would only need to do minimal cleaning when you finally decide to take your boat out again.
Factors To Consider in Selecting Storage
Choosing where to keep your boat requires thorough consideration. And for that, you need to know every important factor that needs to be discussed with your family.
Like any other kind of investment, a boat owner should think about the cost of every storage option before choosing a facility to keep the vessel in. One thing you should do first is to decide how much money you can spare to keep your craft out of harm’s way. If you have plenty, marinas and dry docking may be one option you can consider. Drydocking is second to marinas when it comes to the most expensive boat storage.
However, you also have the option to trailer your boat at home. This is the most affordable option as it only requires a little bit of renovation and garage space.
2. Boat Usage Frequency
Another factor to consider when deciding where to keep your boats when not in use is the frequency of usage. If you are someone who often brings the craft into the water, choosing a storage location close to the water is the best idea. This way, you avoid excessive transportation cost.
It is also important to note that dry docking facilities usually require 24 hours prior notice if you are taking your boat out into the waters. Be sure to plan this well.
The place where you often use the boat is also another important consideration for deciding on a storage facility for your watercraft. If you often sail on different places, it would be wiser to trailer your boat instead of keeping it docked somewhere. This way, you can easily transfer your vessel whenever you take your family sailing someplace new.
If your vessel often travels the same bodies of water, marinas are a great choice. But if it isn’t not working or you aren’t planning to use it anytime soon, dry storage is the best way to go. Doing so will help you avoid potential damages as well as perform repairs.
The last— but certainly not the least— factor to consider when choosing a boat storage facility is security. Boats represent a significant investment for owners, making it an asset that needs to be protected. In fact, boat dealers provide new boat owners some guidelines to avoid damage and theft of their vessel.
Dry storage facilities and marinas offer thorough security measures like cameras and patrols. However, you can easily provide the same level of security in the comforts of your home by using a hitch lock when trailering your boat into your garage. Minimizing the storage space is also recommended to prevent thieves from successfully stealing your vessel.