Boat Self Storage Made Easy
The best way to keep your boat in good condition through harsh conditions is storing it in a self storage facility. This protects the boat from the elements that cause unwanted maintenance and repair.
Various parts of the exterior can be affected by weather, such as paint, varnish and gel coat damage from sleet and hail, as well as damage to covers and biminis. Storing your boat at a self storage unit ensures that it retains value and minimizes maintenance concerns.
Before storing your boat for the winter, the bottom should be thoroughly cleaned as soon as it is removed from the water. It’s easier to clean off any marine growth when the underside of the hull is still wet. Use a pressure hose to remove barnacles, scale and algae. Once the bottom is clean, inspect it carefully for any damage such as gel coat blistering and corrosion. If isolated blisters are spotted then they should be circled for repair later on. A severe osmosis problem should be referred to a professional boatyard for a thorough inspection and assessment.
Inspect valves used for waste disposal and the propeller for pitting, corrosion and fitting. If the propeller is mounted on a propeller shaft that enters the boat, then the cutlass bearing should be checked for wear.
Interior Inspection Before Self Storage
Remove any food or drink from the boat, particularly jars and bottles that could freeze and burst. Leave icebox and cabinet doors partially open to allow air circulation.
If there are any handheld devices, such as VHF radios, GPSs or torches on board, remove the batteries to prevent possible leakage. Check the expiration dates on flares or EPIRBs and dates of paper charts. If propane is used for cooking, check the expiration dates on the cylinders, gas certificate and fire extinguishers. These safety issues can make your boat insurance void if it catches on fire in storage.
Self Storage Helps To Winterize Water Systems
The best method for winterizing the water system is removing the water tank's feed hose and inserting it into a bucket of non-toxic antifreeze. Switch on the boat’s domestic water pump and turn on each tap, including the shower head to ensure the antifreeze fully circulates. Some anti-freeze will also remain in the hoses. Waste holding tanks should be rinsed out before winterizing and antifreeze must be introduced via the intake hoses.
Engine Maintenance Before Self Storage
Engine winterizing involves a little more than running antifreeze through the entire system. Other fluids should be changed, including the transmission and oil. Check the alternator belts and water coolant hoses for wear and tear.
If you are unlikely to visit your boat while it’s in a self storage unit, take its batteries home with you and store them in a warm, dry place. Periodically charge them so your battery will be ready for the next season.
Canvas Maintenance Before Self Storage
Any canvas you may have, such as exterior cushion covers or biminis, should be checked for damage and restored if necessary. It’s much more convenient to take care of repairs at the end of the season.
Follow these storage tips and you can then expect trouble free boating in the next season.