Tips to Store Your Boat and Keep It Safe
Dan Levenson September 23, 2021
Your boat is an important investment for your own enjoyment. Boating is a water sport that you enjoy whether you are a power boater or a sailor. The boat can be any size, but it must be carefully maintained. It also has to be properly stored if you are not using it during winter.
Here are a few tips for boats on trailers and those that stay in the water year-round.
You can move a boat that fits on a trailer anywhere when it is not used. The best way to store a boat is in a covered area for maximum protection. This will keep it out of the rain, snow, and wind.
Most boats that fit on trailers are fiberglass powerboats and small sailboats. Many of these boats have wood or chrome trim. The boat should have a complete cover in addition to storage inside a building. This protects the trim and keeps the cockpit area clean.
Many boat owners keep their boats under 30 feet in a garage or rented storage unit. Marinas near boat launch areas may also offer inside storage.
The outboard motor(s) on many powerboats can also be removed and stored separately in a dry area. This offers extra protection for the engine. Make sure the engine is drained completely before it is stored.
Sailboats that fit on trailers have their masts removed for transit. Most masts are aluminum, and they can be stored with the boat. Tillers, rudders, and centerboards can also be removed and stored within the boats. Sails are usually stored in their bags. All lines should be coiled and stored with the boat.
Boats in the Water
Larger boats usually remain in a marina during the winter. Many powerboats are stored in the water in covered boathouses. All boats should be tied securely to the docks with four to six dock lines, based on the boat’s size.
Boats in special boathouses can have covers for the navigation station and cockpit for extra protection. Boats in the water that are exposed to the elements should have full covers for the best protection. The electrical system should be connected to the shore power boxes to keep batteries charged and bilge pumps operational. These boats can also have dehumidifiers and even heaters in the cabins.
Sailboats are always exposed to the weather. All sails should be removed and stored in bags below decks when not in use. The exception would be retractable sails. External lines should be coiled and belayed if they remain attached to booms. Other lines can be stored below. A full set of boat covers that are tied securely to the boat are always recommended.
Sailboats should also be connected to shore power to protect batteries, and they can even have heaters or dehumidifiers working below.
Many marinas offer dry dock facilities for larger sail and powerboats that won’t fit on trailers. The travel lift that moves the boat and the supports must be strong enough to withstand heavy weather conditions. All boats, both power, and sail, should have secure boat covers over their cockpits during extreme weather conditions.
Bilges should be drained before the boat is moved into dry storage. Large boats in dry storage can also be connected to power outlets. This may be necessary to keep batteries and the bilge pump working if the vessel collects water from rain.
All boat owners should carry personal liability insurance and have their vessels insured for any damages. Marinas and dry storage areas must also have sufficient insurance to cover all facilities, including boatyards.
Contact us at InsureYourHome.com for more information on marine insurance for boat storage businesses as well as for pleasure boats.