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How to Safely Store a Boat: A Guide

store a boat

Recreational boating is now the leading outdoor activity in the US. For the second time in 15 years, manufacturers sold over 300,000 powerboats in 12 months.

To keep up, we’re seeing an increased demand for safe and secure boat storage units. But, if you’re a first-time boat owner, you may be wondering how to store your boat safely.

Even well-experienced boaters may not know how new systems, such as dry-icing, can help prepare for boat storage. So, if you’re a boat owner, read this guide on the best ways to store a boat.

Getting Ready for Boat Storage

You should be cleaning your boat’s hull once a month to keep it clear of grime and barnacles. However, when you haul it out of the water for storage, there are additional steps to follow—ignoring them can cause lasting damage. Most boaters will adhere to winter boat storage or if they won’t be using it for an extended period.

Wash and Dry

Wash the entire boat surface with fresh water when you first haul it up. Saltwater left on ships can cause rust and decay. Depending on the frequency of your hull cleaning, the underbelly may be somewhat grime-free. However, if you clean it less, you’ll find barnacles attached. 

Remove Barnacles

Barnacles are the bain of boaters. They attach themselves by opening a capillary and bleeding. This action creates a sticky substance, which acts like glue. Unfortunately, they increase the drag of your boat, making it less fuel-efficient and slower. 

Remove by Hand

Although time-consuming, you can scrap barnacles off with a plastic tool. Although tempting, stay away from using a metal object because you may scratch the paintwork. A faster, safe cleaning option is to hire a professional to dry-ice blast your boat. 

Remove by Dry-Ice

A professional will use a high-pressure machine that fires carbon dioxide pellets at the hull. When the pellets hit the grime or barnacles, they crack it.

They will convert into gas to dislodge the barnacles, and so afterward, you can collect and dispose of them. It is a non-toxic and environmentally friendly process. 

Take Care of Machinery

If not cleaned, you can cause damage to the internal workings of your vessel. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for draining the engine on your boat. You will need to remove it and change the transmission oil.

When you want to store a boat, take care to remove the battery and drinking water pumps. Flush the entire system with antifreeze if you will be keeping the boat safe for the winter.

Cover the Boat

For the ultimate in protection, we recommend shrink-wrapping your boat before storing it. Shrinkwrap is cheap and available from hardware shops. In addition, it can protect from scratches, UV damage and manage internal temperatures.

Boaters often add moisture packs inside before wrapping to assist with temperature control. Your final cover will be your custom boat cover. Choose a marine-grade black cover for the highest level of protection.

Marine-grade materials are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. Also, the black material will act as a barrier to harmful sunrays. Finally, make sure to tightly secure the cover to the boat so that small rodents and insects can’t gain access.

Keep Your Boat at a Storage Base

Sometimes insurance companies give discounts to boaters who pay the costs of storing their vessels with professionals. There are uncovered and covered options to suit your needs. Here is an insight into the different lots available. 

Covered Boat Storage

Covered boat storage means that your boat will be protected with a roof. It may have four or three open sides. This style offers safety from the harsh elements.

They are popular in hot climates as direct sun damage will weaken the coating of your boat. Each storage location will have its own safety systems and protocols, so check the fine print of your agreement before deciding. 

Uncovered Boat Storage

You can store a boat in a secure boatyard without a roof. This style is ideal in warmer climates where you are less likely to suffer heavy rain or snowstorms.

For example, at our base in Kingston, WA, we get 2.5 inches of snow annually, much lower than the US average. As such, you can safely choose uncovered boat storage with us. 

Indoor Storage for Boats

Indoor boat storage could consist of a warehouse-style building with dedicated lots or dry stacking. A staff member will hoist your boat onto a rack with others above and below at a dry stacking site. The maximum weight for dry stacking a ship is 13 tonnes.

Some indoor boat storage facilities will only allow owners to work on their boats. If you hit a problem that you need to repair, you will have to do it yourself. Talk to your chosen storage facility about their on-site workers’ policy. 

Keeping Your Boat on Private Land

Storing a boat on your property gives you 24/7 access. However, there are costs that you need to consider. In general, first-time boaters will benefit from storing their vessel in a storage unit. 

In Your Garage

To store a boat in your garage, you must purchase professional machinery. Firstly invest in high-quality dehumidifiers to remove the excess moisture in the air.

Next, ensure that your garage door is well-fitting and won’t let snow or rain seep into the room. You will also need a heating machine with an independent generator to manage the temperature. 

On Your Driveway

Check with local bylaws before storing your vessel on the driveway. Some locations do not permit you to have a boat where it might obstruct your neighbors’ view.

Also, we do not recommend a driveway as a long-term storage solution. It might be the cheapest method, but it has many risks. So, check weekly for mildew, rust, animals, and temperature damage. 

Store a Boat Ready for the Next Sailing Season

To enjoy boating year on year, you have to take care of your vessel. You can’t just leave it in the water throughout the year. Store a boat during winter and when not used to extend its life.

You can keep your boat safe with affordable and convenient covered or uncovered storage units. We have ideal lots that you can rent immediately, so talk to us today in Kitsap County, WA.