Storing Your Boat for the Winter
With colder weather coming fast, you’re definitely going to begin checking out winter boat storage prices if you’re into boating. And you’re not the only one. More than 34 million households include at least one boating enthusiast. That’s plenty of people who love being on the water.
Now, in addition to looking into winter boat storage prices, you’ll want to take care of a few things to ensure that your boat stays in tip-top shape for months. Remember: It’s not just about winter boat storage prices, although you’ll definitely want to get the best deal possible. It’s also about preparing to protect your boat investment.
If you’re ready to move beyond checking into winter boat storage prices and take care of your seafaring vessel of choice, read on for ten tips on storing your boat during wintertime months.
Take It Out for a Final Run on the Water
As long as the water hasn’t frozen over, you can probably take your boat out for one last trip. While you’re there, resist the temptation to make phone calls to find out about winter boat storage prices and take a few moments to listen and feel your boat.
Do you notice anything that sounds concerning? Is your boat handling okay? Does it seem like the engine is humming along? Be as thorough in your analysis as you can. Make sure you jot down any concerns so you’ll remember them later. After all, you’ll want to check out and repair your boat before you put it into storage for weeks on end.
Not sure if the boat is handling okay? Did you buy a new boat that you’re not yet accustomed to piloting? Try your best to be diligent. In the meantime, make sure that you enjoy one last hurrah. You might want to take a picture or two, just to remember your last boating adventure until after the holidays.
Clean the Boat From Aft to Stern
After your final spin in your boat, you need to get down to business. Start by cleaning your boat inside and out.
You can use warm, soapy water to scour all the hard surfaces of your boat. If you have soft surfaces, such as leather on the seats, be sure to choose the correct product. It may take several hours to get the job fully done. Take your time and get it finished correctly. Doing it fast will only lead to problems down the road.
Of course, you can’t proceed with a wet or damp boat. Therefore, you’ll want to let it air dry. From that point, you can wax it up if needed to give it a nice shine. The better your boat looks when you put it into storage after finding the place with the most reasonable winter boat storage prices, the better it will look when you take it out again.
Prepare the Engine and Other Moving Parts
You wouldn’t put a car into a storage unit without checking all its moving parts, would you? So don’t store your boat for the winter without going through a once-over of its engine and other internal mechanical works.
Should you do this type of examination on your own? Maybe. You just need to have comfort around engines, gas tanks, and related equipment. Not sure it’s something you want to do alone? Winterize everything with a friend or take your boat to a technician.
If you just bought your boat over the summer, you may have received manuals and instructions to help you understand how to take care of your investment. Re-read them, or look them over for the first time. They may contain winterization tidbits specific to the make and model of boat that you purchased.
On the other hand, if your boat has been around the block a time or two, you still shouldn’t skip this step. Even if you’ve gotten away with storing your boat over the winter without giving the engine or fuel tank some TLC, you’ve honestly been lucky. Rather than wait for your luck to run out, make this year the time to tackle this project.
Bring Your Boat Home
At this point, you can bring your boat home or wherever it’s going to be housed temporarily until you find a location with attractive winter boat storage prices. Be sure to protect it for the journey with the custom boat covers so that you’re not unnecessarily exposing any part of it to the elements.
How are you going to get your boat back? Some people just tow their boats behind their vehicles if they have the right kind of trailer and hitch combination. Other boaters prefer to hire professional scheduled towing service providers to do the work for them. If you’re paying other people to clean and winterize your boat and you can’t be present, you will probably want to get someone else to bring the boat to you.
Remember that you shouldn’t try to tow a boat without the right equipment. Trying to just tie down a smaller boat in the bed of a large truck can end in disaster.
Ultimately, your boat will be back at your home and you can proceed to the next step, which is turning the boat into more of a skeleton.
Remove Anything That Doesn’t Need to Be Stored With Your Boat
You’ve cleaned your boat. You’ve winterized all the moving parts. While you’re still searching for winter boat storage prices online, take one last trip around the interior and exterior. What are you looking for? Basically, anything that you haven’t already taken off the boat.
Items to be removed before storage could be safety equipment like flares and fire extinguishers, life jackets for everyone in the family, tools that you often use when on the water, fishing equipment, sunscreen, and related personal tidbits. Many of these items may need to be cleaned and sanitized, even if you didn’t use them. For instance, life jackets can take on musty odors just from being exposed too long to moist, humid air.
Could you leave some of your stuff in the boat? Of course. But it’s so much better if you’ve stripped your boat of everything that’s not important. This gives you the chance to start anew next spring when you bring it out of storage. Plus, you never know: You might decide to upgrade your boat and sell this one. In that case, your boat will already be ready for a buyer to check out without you having to remove personal effects.
Make Repairs to Your Boat
Remember when you were out on the water for one last jaunt? Now is the time for you to check out everything you wrote down that you were potentially concerned about. Depending upon the seriousness of the issues, you could go back to the boat dealer to have your boat worked on, or you could maybe even work on the boat yourself.
If you opt for the DIY route, be certain you have all the boat decking hardware supplies you need on hand. Set aside several days for the repairs or overhaul, especially if you think that you might need to wait for replacement parts to come in.
Of course, you may wonder if you should just hold off until springtime to take care of repairs. That isn’t a recommended move because it only prolongs the inevitable. Plus, your problem could get even worse as the internal workings of your boat sit in storage for weeks on end. Therefore, it’s better if you just pay for maintenance right away, even if it’s costlier than you’d prefer.
Pick Out Storage Options
By this point, you’ve already looked into plenty of winter boat storage prices at a variety of storage facilities. And if you’ve been doing your homework beyond just looking at the sticker cost, you’ll see that you have tons of storage options for your boat.
To be sure, the more bells and whistles your indoor or outdoor storage choice has, the higher your winter boat storage prices will end up being. Consequently, your budget might have to guide your final pick.
Still not convinced that you’d like to pay to have your boat somewhere else? You could always consider figuring out a good way to store the boat on your premises without having it get in the way.
Consider Customized Storage on Your Home or Vacation Property
So you’ve decided that you want to keep your boat at your house or a vacation spot for the winter? No problem. But you’ll need either a large extra garage or a custom shed. If you’re leaning in the shed direction, do yourself a favor by calling some insulation contractors. Insulating your shed will help you keep it warm over the wintertime, which can be valuable.
How much will it cost to design and build this type of long-term storage on your premises? It will depend upon a number of factors, including how big your boat is and what types of materials you plan to use for your shed. The good news is that once your shed is paid for, it will give you a terrific, secure boat storage or even vehicle storage option for decades.
Think About Shrink Wrapping Your Boat
You’re just about ready to put your boat into storage. However, you’ll want to think about one more question. Namely, should you shrink-wrap your boat?
Shrink wrapping will help you seal the interior and some of the exterior of your boat. Essentially, nothing can gain access under the shrink wrap until you’re ready to open it up and expose your boat again.
The benefits of shrink-wrapping aren’t insignificant. Shrinkwrapping can help you ward off everything from mold growth to premature rusting of metal parts. Just make sure that you never have your boat shrink wrapped when it’s still damp. Otherwise, you could end up sealing in all the dampness and basically negating all the advantages that come with this process.
Make Sure Your Boat Is Safely Protected
As you move your boat into storage, take one last exploratory look at it. Are there any areas that could possibly become openings for pesky insects or curious rodents? Mice and other creatures like to nest in the winter in boats that are in storage facilities sometimes. Make sure your boat doesn’t become their home-away-from-home when it’s cold outside.
You should also ensure that your boat won’t get damaged. For instance, you might choose to store your boat in your oversized three-car garage. However, if it’s not properly situated, it could be in danger of getting hit by a vehicle. That’s the last thing you want, even though you’ll be saving money on winter boat storage prices by housing your boat in your home.
All in all, you deserve to have complete peace of mind. Knowing that your boat is unlikely to come to any harm while it’s in winter storage will allow you to take one more stressor off your plate.
Set a Schedule to Check on the Boat Over the Winter
This is probably the simplest of all steps you’re likely to encounter when storing your boat. It just involves adding a couple of important dates to your calendar. About every month or two, set aside time to just give your boat a once over. Make sure the shrink-wrap or tarp is still in place and be on the lookout for any odd sights or smells.
Your regular inspections shouldn’t take too long. If you’re paying someone to house your boat on their property and you can’t get to it in person, have them send you videos periodically.
Get Ready for Next Season
Now comes the real fun. You get to ask for holiday gifts from family and friends to support your boating adventures next spring! Who knows you may get one of those live bait aerated coolers you’ve seen advertised all over the place. Or you might get a more practical present like a first aid kit that includes at least one large waterproof bandage, just in case.
Regardless, get ready. Winter won’t last forever, which means you’ll be back on your properly stored boat in no time flat.