Experienced boat owners spend a lot of time on the water. In fact, the average boat owner spends about 71.5 hours on their boat every season. Unfortunately, seasons come to an end and, when they do, you’ll have to put your vessel in boat storage until the weather improves.
So does that mean you can pull your boat off the water and put it directly in storage once the season wraps up? Not exactly.
There are a few things you need to do to get your boat ready for storage even if you’re just putting it away for a few weeks. Follow these tips and you’ll be in good shape.
Drain Your Systems
Your boat is built to be on the water. That means it’s wet more often than not and all that water can collect inside the systems onboard.
Before you move to dry boat storage, take the time to drain each system.
Drain the bilge and check for damage inside. Empty any onboard water tanks and drain the pipes of water before storing your boat.
This will reduce the risk of corrosion on many of the metal components onboard while also helping keep the rest of your boat in better condition. And if you end up leaving the boat in storage through winter, you won’t have to worry about freezing temperatures creating major safety hazards on your watercraft.
Give It a Good Cleaning
Once you’ve drained your boat, take the time to give it a thorough cleaning. Start by cleaning the surfaces with an approved boat cleaner. A mild, bio-degradable soap and warm water should be enough to get rid of the grime.
Take care to remove any algae or barnacles that collected on the hull while the boat was on the water and clean the upholstered surfaces on deck well.
It’s also a good idea to open any storage compartments, cabinets, or lockers onboard. Let those spaces dry out completely before storing the boat. When you do, you’ll reduce the risk of mold or mildew spreading throughout your storage bays.
Remove Personal Belongings
Though the best boat storage facilities are secure, it’s still a good idea to remove your personal belongings and valuables from the boat. Items like removable GPS systems, computers, and modern electronics are tempting targets for would be thieves.
If you keep personal possessions on the boat, take them home, too. Clothing, fishing tackle, and other gear may not be tempting targets for a thief but letting them sit in storage can lead to damage.
The more items you keep onboard, the more at-risk your boat is for moisture buildup. And that moisture can lead to corrosion in a matter of weeks.
Once you’ve removed the items you know you want to take home with you, do a final walkthrough of the boat. It’s likely that you’ll find at least one or two more items that you’ll want to take home.
Fill Your Gas Tank
Believe it or not, it’s almost always better to leave your boat with a full fuel tank than it is to drain it completely. This helps keep your engine in better condition over time and makes it easier for you to get out on the water once you’re ready.
Top off the tank and add a fuel stabilizer to the mix. This will keep the gas from separating or going bad while your boat is in storage.
Don’t worry—the fuel stabilizer won’t impact your motor’s performance once you’re out on the water.
Wax the Exterior
Your boat bears the brunt of the sun’s harsh UV rays when it’s out on the water. The best way to protect its finish and keep the fiberglass looking like-new is to give it a good coating of wax before you put it in storage.
After cleaning the surface thoroughly, use a high-quality marine-grade wax on the fiberglass and gel coat. Buff the surface until you have a nice, consistent shine across the craft.
This will create an added layer of protection between your boat and the elements once you bring it out of storage. The wax will help reduce corrosion and can preserve the condition of the fiberglass for years to come.
Cover Your Boat
Whether you choose open-air storage or indoor boat storage, it’s always worth it to cover your boat. When kept indoors, boat covers help keep dust, dirt, and grime from getting into the sensitive electronics on board.
When used outside, boat covers protect the upholstered surfaces, carpeting, decking, and leather on the deck of your boat from premature fading and sun damage. Though you’ll still want to clean the deck before you take the boat out on the water, you’ll have less to worry about.
Change the Oil and Lubricate What You Can
Boat motors may be simpler than car engines, but they need routine oil changes, too. Stay on top of routine oil changes throughout the season and consider changing it one more time before you put your boat in storage.
Once you change the oil, turn your attention to the moving parts on board. That means your bilge pump, steering components, propeller, and door hinges, just to name a few.
Lubricate those components thoroughly. This way, you’ll be able to get back out on the water without worrying about jammed components or having to battle against latches that rusted shut.
Now Your Vessel Is Ready for Boat Storage
Getting your boat ready for storage is the best way to keep it water-worthy when you’re ready to soak up the sun. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to prep your boat for storage in no time.
But no amount of preparation will protect your boat if you choose a boat storage facility that won’t take care of your vessel.
At Kingston Ideal Storage, we’ll help you keep your boat safe when you’re not out on the water. Contact our team to learn about our covered and uncovered storage solutions and schedule a site tour today.