Proper Boat Storage Is Key
Here in Florida, we love our boats. From yachts to small fishing boats, it seems we spend a lot of our time floating in the comfort of a marine vessel. But for many people, boating in Florida is a seasonal activity. For some, it’s a summer pursuit that must come to an end with the return of work and school. For others, winter is the boating season, and when the temperatures rise, they head north, leaving their boats to await their return along with cooler temperatures. But whether you’re a summer or a winter sailor, one thing remains consistent – proper boat storage is essential to keep your boat looking great and sailing safely from season to season. If you do not store your boat correctly or take the proper precautions, you could return to your vessel in six months only to find the hull corroded and the engine not functioning properly.
However, with so many types of boats available, how do you know the best way to store your particular vessel? There are several types of boats that pose a lot of questions and problems for owners due to the material or size. Read on for some tips for storing more troublesome types of vessels.
Patience and Preparation are Vital for All Boat Storage
1. Aluminum Boats
Because of the corrosive nature of aluminum, you should take certain steps to protect the hull of the boat. First, carefully scrape off any barnacles or growth on the bottom or sides of the boat. Remove the hull drain plug and make sure the propeller is intact with no damage. Clean the rest of the boat, as well, including the deck and cockpit, railings, hardware, and carpets. Inside, take out anything that could collect moisture and act as a haven for mildew. Remove the battery and the drain plug in the livewell. Also, disconnect the suction hose and make sure all water is removed from the pump, nozzles, and hoses. Follow all instructions in your owner’s manual regarding engine care and preparation. Before final storage, allow the boat to sit outside and thoroughly dry before it is put up for the season.
2. Inflatable Boats –
Before putting your boat in storage, many boat owners deflate their inflatable boats. You can usually do this simply by opening the air valves, but check your owner’s manual for specific instructions. Be aware that, once deflated, these boats are more susceptible to damage. Therefore, boat owners recommend keeping the boat partially inflated and covering it with a tarp. If you cannot do this, you should make sure all air is removed before rolling it up tightly and putting it in its storage bag. Some boat owners choose to put their inflatable boat on a trailer; if you do this, be sure it is lying perfectly flat before you leave it for the season. You can watch a great video on preparing your inflatable boat for storage here, courtesy of Element Outfitters.
Sailboats require extra care because of all the extra rigging and parts. First, remove all rigging, clean it, and inspect it for damage, giving special attention to the battens and sails. Fold the sails and place them in airtight containers that will protect them from small animals, such as mice. Check all the standing rigging. Look for any wear or frays on the cables and any loose attachments. Inspect the boat for any new parts you will need for the next season. Finally, thoroughly wash the hull, removing and storing any loose parts. When the boat is completely clean and has been allowed to dry for several days, cover her with a clean, tight-fitting boat cover.
Here in Florida, our boats are like an extension of our homes, and just as we would take great pains when leaving our homes for a long period, we should be careful and thorough when prepping our boats for storage. Whether you own one of these three types of boat or another type which may pose difficulties of its own, don’t make your boat a last-minute concern. Give yourself several days to complete the process, and check the weather forecast before you begin; if possible, close up your boat when there will be a stretch of dry days ahead. Finally, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask a boating or storage expert. Cutting corners and making wild guesses about the proper storage of your boat could leave you with an unpleasant surprise when you try to take out your boat next season. For more information visit : http://www.hoturls.org/transportation-and-logistics-services/
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