Storing Items the Smart Way

Long Term Storage Options To Protect Your Boat

by Timmothy Pena

In many parts of the country, storing your boat in the fall and winter months is necessary. The cold temperatures can be damaging to the boat's engine and propulsion systems so proper preparation and storage is key to keeping the boat in good condition and ready for the next year. Whether you are going to store the boat for a few months or much longer, take the time to do it right and the boat will be ready to use when you are ready to use it.

Dry Storage

When you get ready to consider storage solutions for your boat, you have to consider the time it will not be used. If you are in a warmer climate and will only be away from it for a few months, closing up the boat and tying it up at the local marina might be okay, but if you are in a cold climate, dry storage is critical. The boat must come out of the water so it is not managed by ice forming around it or inside the motor and cooling systems. If you don't have room at home, a boat storage yard is a good option. They provide storage and security for your boat while it is there.

Preparing the Engine and Lower Unit

Once the boat is out of the water, the oil in the motor and the lower unit should be changed. If there is any water in the oil, it is important it that it does not stay there over the winter. Freezing water in those systems can crack or damage the block and casings, causing catastrophic damage. The cooling system needs to be flushed thoroughly as well. This is important for all boats but even more so for crafts that operate in salt water. The salt will promote corrosion in the water passages and can plug them up over time.

Long-term Storage

If the boat will sit for a long period, clean the boat out completely. Wash the boat, including the desks, and be sure to clean the cabin if it has one. The hull should be cleaned as well and if the boat needs paint, this a good time to do that as well. Once the boat is cleaned up, it can be sealed with a heat-shrink cover to protect it from the elements and it can be placed on the trailer or a storage rack if you are not storing it at home. Some long-term storage facilities offer climate controlled storage for your boat at a higher cost, and if you have a very expensive boat, you might want to consider this as an option.