An ideal scenario for most boat owners would be to keep their prized possession at home, where they know it is safe and secure. Of course, this is not always possible or convenient, especially if it is in regular use. To keep your boat in the best condition all year round, consistent maintenance and a suitable storage spot are the best options.
However, the world of boat storage can be overwhelming for any new owner. So check out some of the things you may not have known about putting your boat into storage. Even experienced boat owners may find this useful as a good refresher blog.
1. There’s more than one type of storage option
Many people choose to store boats at a boatyard, as this is an affordable option. Plus, it’s convenient due to immediate access to the water. However, there are more options available depending on your preferences. Some of the top alternatives include:
Marinas offer a variety of storage options but can be more expensive than a typical boatyard. Wet slips at marinas store your boat in the water, or you can choose lift slips, which store your boat out of the water. This option gives you the chance to access your boat without needing assistance to get it out of storage. This type of storage is subjected to the elements, so unless you use your boat a lot, it will need cleaning and maintenance more frequently as it is directly in the elements.
Did you know that some marinas also offer the option of paying a ‘liveaboard fee’? If you use your boat as a vacation destination, then storing it at a marina with this feature allows you to travel in your vessel while visiting the area. This is ideal for those who love the boating lifestyle and want to immerse themselves in the local area. Liveaboard marinas are rising in popularity in many coastal resorts and create an accessible and useful way to store your boat away from home.
High and dry storage
Marinas sometimes offer high and dry storage. This type of storage places your boat on a rack and is undercover. To access your boat, staff will use specialized forklifts to bring it out into the marina, where you can prepare it for use. Rack storage is available for different boat sizes and is priced accordingly. While this is an excellent option for keeping your boat in the best condition, high and dry storage does not typically offer power to stored boats. This may mean your battery drains.
2. Don’t forget to give your boat a thorough clean
If your boat has been bobbing up and down in the water for a few months, it’s guaranteed to need a good clean, especially underneath. Saltwater is notorious for causing corrosion, so failing to clean your boat could speed up this process. By cleaning the outside, you will also spot any issues that need resolving before your next outing. The inside shouldn’t be missed either as mold and mildew may build up underneath the cover, which will cause odor and staining to the upholstery.
While your boat is in storage, it’s easy to have an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude, but it’s essential to clean it every few months if possible. If you’re unable to get back to your boat during this time, ask the staff at the storage facility if they provide this service. The extra cost will outweigh the issues that dirt and moisture build-up could cause in the long term.
3. Use a good cover when storing a boat
When your boat goes into storage, use a high-quality cover to protect it. After you’ve cleaned and applied a coat of wax, this is a great option to add an extra layer of protection. Invest in a reputable model, which is a thicker material than a towing cover.
4. Protect the engine
Your boat may have excess water sat in the engine block. Saltwater causes corrosion if left for prolonged periods, so be sure to flush it out. If you are storing it in cold climates, adding anti-freeze through the water system helps avoid anything freezing and causing damage.
5. Store a boat with a full fuel tank
It’s surprising how many people use their boat before storage and leave the tank running on empty. There are a few reasons why filling it up before you store – it helps reduce corrosion in the system and reduces condensation build-up in the tank that can lead to algae growth.
6. Every boat is different
If you’ve owned a boat before, one of the biggest mistakes to make is assuming they all have the same upkeep and storage needs. While you may be an experienced owner, each vessel has different requirements for maintenance and storage. The processes can vary whether you have a small electric boat to a casual cruiser, so consulting the instruction manual is the best option. By following the manual and prepping your boat for storage will ensure you don’t invalidate any warranties upon it if something goes wrong.
7. Choose the right insurance
Insuring your boat is relatively straightforward. However, if it is placed in storage, check whether your current policy covers this period. Even if the storage facility has additional security features such as CCTV and restricted accessibility, some insurance providers will not cover your vessel in these spaces without applying an additional cover charge. Marina’s and boatyards may also provide third-party insurance to use their facility.
Owning a boat is an exciting pastime, but there are many things to consider when maintaining and storing your watercraft. By checking out these handy tips and implementing the lesser-known areas of storing your boat will help you save money on repairs in the future. Correct preparation and storage suitable to your needs will ensure your boat is ready and waiting to be enjoyed every time you need it. Owning a boat can also be expensive, so don’t forget to check out the best deals on storage and insurance to ensure you don’t pay over the odds.