When boating season is over, how you store your boat matters if you want to make sure it’s good to go again when the time comes. Marine maintenance starts with keeping your boat secure and safe from the elements when it’s not in use. There are a few ways to go about this, depending on where you live and how you use your boat.

Proper Water Storage

If you live near the water, your first instinct is likely to choose in-water storage. The main issues arise when people store their boats in water year-round. You’ll want to check up on and clean the boat at least every couple of months. A good coat of paint or epoxy prevents blistering from constant water exposure, and this becomes more significant when storing in saltwater, as dissolved minerals can damage the hull. Alternatively, switch to dry storage regularly throughout the year as the seasons pass.

Getting Ready for Winter

Winter is the harshest season on boats in dry storage, combining inclement weather with cold temperatures that can wreak havoc on the exterior and internal components alike. Keep a checklist handy for “winterizing” your boat. This should include a thorough cleaning, flushing out the engine, putting antifreeze in the coolant system, lubricating control devices, removing the battery and charging it indoors, changing the oil and using a cover. The main intent is keeping salt, dirt and moisture off and protecting sensitive systems from corrosion.

Staying in Shape on Dry Land

Dry storage appeals to boat owners that don’t reside on the waterfront, but you still need to make sure you’re doing it properly. Most dry storage racks used to hold up boats outside of the water only fit standard hulls, so atypical designs may not be held securely and risk collapsing. If you’re renting storage, check to ensure your boat is supported. Also, while filling the gas tank actually helps in preventing corrosion, ask the boatyard owner about specifications on preventing fires.

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