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Storing your boat is not as simple as pulling it out of the water and hauling it to your storage facility. Your first task is to locate a convenient, secure, and affordable boat storage facility. It’s important to take steps to protect your boat from damage as well as unwanted pests.
To give your boat an extra level of protection, we suggest the following procedures. Always remember to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines when preparing your boat for storage.
Here is a list of steps you can take to ensure that your boat is ready for storage.
Clean Up the Hull and Deck
You’ll probably be storing your boat for an entire season. Be sure that it’s clean and free of last summer’s trash when you are ready to put it in the water next summer.
Maintain the Interior of Your Boat
If you have electronics in your boat, they are vulnerable to extreme cold and moisture. Remove them prior to storage. Leather, canvas, and any other organic fabrics should be removed to prevent mold and mildew. Empty the water tanks and run antifreeze through the pipes.
Wash and Wax the Exterior
Cover the exterior of your boat with wax. This will prevent rust from corroding your boat’s body and is particularly important if you are storing your boat outside
Add Fuel Stabilizer and Fill the Tank
Condensation can form in an empty gas tank, causing corrosion or worse if the moisture freezes. A fuel stabilizer will prevent this from happening, and your fuel will be ready to go when you are.
Change the Oil
Water or acids that have gotten into your oil can corrode the engine. Change the filter and flush it out so that no water remains. Then, add new oil
Refresh the Coolant System
Drain the current coolant, flush with water, and fill with fresh antifreeze. Make sure you’ve diluted the antifreeze to specification. This will protect your engine from freezing and corrosion.
Disconnect the Battery
Don’t allow your battery to drain over the winter. Disconnect it and top it off with distilled water. Charge it periodically to make sure it’s ready to go when you hook it back up to your boat.
Grease the Steering Mechanism
Grease the steering and control mechanisms so that they will be moving smoothly when it’s time to take the boat out again.
Remove the Drive Belts
Before storing your boat, loosen or remove the drive belts. They may crack under the stress of being kept under tension for long periods of time.
Don’t Forget the Trailer
Check tire pressure, and cover the tires to keep them from being exposed to the sun. Check and pack wheel hubs, if necessary, and lubricate the jack.
Use A High-Quality Cover
Even if your boat is parked in interior storage or climate-controlled storage, a cover provide extra protection dirt, dust, grime, and moisture. Use a high-quality, ventilated cover. If your boat is to be stored outdoors, make sure there are no low spots in the cover that will hold rainwater. Cover the engine so that it’s not exposed to the elements.
Registration and Insurance
Finally, note dates of registration, tags, certificates, and insurance. Plan for renewal if they expire during your storage term.