Your boat isn’t just your pride and joy, but it’s likely one of your most expensive possessions.
Most boats owners will need to store their boats during colder months, if not annually, but storing them incorrectly could result in theft, sinking, fire and other major types of damage. To store your boat the right way, find out what the experts recommend.
Treat Your Fuel
“By far the most common storage problem is bad gas,” said Charles Fort, consumer editor of BoatUS Magazine. The problem arises because gas – particularly gas with ethanol – only has a limited shelf life.
“After as little as 60 days, gas can begin to lose octane and form gum in tanks, lines and carburetors,” he said. If this happens, you’ll need to have your engine professionally pumped, which isn’t a cheap process. To avoid this problem Fort suggested using a high quality fuel stabilizer.
If you’re storing your boat for a few months, fill up your tank and run the engine so the treated gas reaches the engine.
“For storage over a year, all gas – from tank to lines – should be removed,” Fort said.
Prevent Mold Growth
It’s no surprise that mold can form on your boat when it’s idle. This may happen when when there’s a leak in your boat’s hatches, port lights or vents, said Fort.
He recommended shrink-wrapping your boat to prevent damage. Just be sure to have it professionally wrapped, because doing it incorrectly could result in a fire.
Boats can be attractive targets for thieves, and when they’re left unattended in storage they’re even more tempting. To prevent theft, Fort suggested using a tongue lock on your boat trailer, removing the tires or parking your trailer so that it’s facing a building or a fence.
And remember that the possessions on your boat may also be attractive to a thief, so you should always remove anything of high value, said Bruce Tang, RoboVault‘s director of shipping and fine art services.
Choose the Proper Storage Method
There are an array of options for the location and method of boat storage, and the right choice will depend on your specific budget, preferences and needs.
If you’re worried about extreme weather, for example, climate-controlled indoor boat storage can prevent the kind of catastrophic damage that results from exposure to the elements. On the other hand, storing your boat on the water means you can access and take it out on shorter notice, according to The Boater’s Guide to Winterizing from BoatUS,
Another option is outdoor storage on land, which eliminates the chances that your boat will sink or develop blisters on the hull, the guide notes. Just make sure the boat is properly supported to avoid damaging the hull, advised Fort. Support can be achieved with jack stands, custom-made cradles, trailers or lifts.
Visit Your Boat
“Out of sight and out of mind is not healthy for boats,” said Fort. Even after you take the proper precautions your boat can still run into issues, so it helps to keep an eye on it.
“The earlier you discover torn covers, leaking portlights, critters inside, or vandalism, the easier [these problems] will be to address,” he said.