You can enjoy the boating lifestyle year-round, but when you feel like taking a break from the water, you should have a storage plan in place for your boat. Exposing your boat to the weather conditions as they change throughout the seasons can wreak havoc on your vessel, causing corrosion, mold, and rust. You can make yourself familiar with tips to winterize your boat when temperatures can be harmful to your vessel, but for more tips relevant for storage at any time of the year, Boatline is sharing six tips for storing your boat.
1. Clean Your Boat Before Storing
Even though you won’t be using your boat for some time, you need to give it a thorough cleaning prior to putting it in storage. This will help prevent corrosion on your vessel and stop any existing corrosion from getting worse over time. Using the essential supplies for cleaning your boat including soap, water, a brush, and cleaning solutions, remove dirt and debris from bow to stern. Don’t forget to clean your engine, hull, and cabin, and make sure to get in between tiny crevices on your boat, such as the cleats. If there’s any wood on your boat, use a sealant to protect your finish. After you give your boat a clean and it has a nice shine, it’ll be easier to detect imperfections like dents, dings, and cracks that could cause leaks or further damage. On a fiberglass or gel coat, you may be able to touch-up minor imperfections with epoxy resin and a high-bond primer.
2. Remove Your Boat’s Battery
New or used power boats or other high-powered vessels should have their batteries removed during storage. Clean out the battery terminals and look for corrosion, and inspect cables for any damage. Keep your battery in a cool, dry place away from the elements. You can place them on a wood surface, or in a protective container in storage where they won’t freeze or overheat when temperatures are low in the winter or hot in the summer. Even while your boat is put away, it’s best to charge your battery every month to extend its life and maintain its charge so it’s ready the next time you take your boat out for a session on the water.
3. Empty Your Boat’s Gasoline Tank
If your boat is powered by gasoline, remove any trace of fuel left in your tank with a siphon in a well-ventilated area out in the open, away from flammable objects, the wind, and harmful fumes. Give yourself some space, wear gloves, and put down rags to keep things clean, making sure you clean up any spills. Or, use a fuel stabilizer for your boat to prevent oxidation and corrosion in your boat’s fuel tank. For fire prevention safety and to eliminate the risk of damage to your boat, keep your fuel-powered vessel in a ventilated storage space with a continuous circulation of air.
4. Prevent Corrosion on Your Boat
When you’re storing your boat, eliminate any possibility of moisture buildup, and remove any water onboard that can cause mold, corrosion, and other damage. Remove your drain plugs and check around your vessel for trapped water to make sure everything is dry. Protect your saltwater fishing boat or other watercraft against salt buildup, which leads to corrosion, by wiping down your boat and using a corrosion prevention spray. And whether your boat is in the driveway or at a storage center at a marina, use a boat cover with tie-downs for an extra layer of protection against the elements, including rain and sun damage. You can also add thick layers of covers, sheets, towels, etc., in between compartments of your boat to prevent rodents and other small pests from making your boat another home while it’s in storage.
5. Drain Boat Fluids and Lubricate Parts for Storage
Similarly to draining your fuel tank, you want to drain boat fluids to prevent boat damage while it’s in storage. This includes engine, transmission, gearbox, and sterndrive fluids. Follow your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to safely drain each of these fluids. If you’re storing your boat for winter, use an antifreeze mixture specially designed for your boat’s engine to prevent engine components from freezing in colder weather. Apply a marine lubricant on all of your boat’s moving parts to prevent oil buildup as the temperature changes while your boat is in storage. Coat the propeller and shaft, rudder stock, outboard motor, cables and pulleys, and other small parts. This extra layer of lubricant will protect your boat against damage, buildup of debris, and corrosion the longer you have it stored away.
6. Consider Your Boat Storage Options
When it’s time, consider all of your boat storage options to ensure your vessel is protected against outside climate conditions and the threat of theft. Your choice of storage space may depend on the size of your boat and how severe the weather may change in your area. You should compare pricing, membership, and benefits for facilities that offer long term storage. You can choose between water storage at marinas, dry outdoor storage at a public or private space, or dry indoor storage, including warehouses. The space shouldn’t be too hot or cold, ideally between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with low humidity. Your boat should be kept away from the threat of UV rays from the sun, wind, rain, hail, sleet, and snow.
Boating is enjoyable during any season, but when it comes to storing your boat, take the steps to keep your vessel in top shape during its downtime. Give your boat preventative care, maintenance, and a cleaning, and consider all your storage options for the months ahead. And if you’re ready to find your next new or used boat, check all the listings on the nationwide marketplace Boatline.com.