As the air turns chilly and the temperature begins to drop, you know it’s time to kiss summer fun goodbye (temporarily, though).
This means no more hiking, camping, swimming, or rafting, and unfortunately, it means no boating either. Winter affects your outdoor activities and you can’t really enjoy water sports either.
This means you have to store your boat away for the season. Sadly, not many people realize the importance of proper boat storage in winter. When boats are exposed to the harsh winter rain and wind, they corrode beyond repair.
It is crucial to take the necessary steps to store your boat in winter safe and sound. Here are some tried-and-tested ways for safe boat storage in winter.
- 1 Should Boats Be Stored Inside or Outside?
- 2 1. Fit Your Boat Into Your Garage
- 3 2. Use a Storage Shed
- 4 3. Parking Spot with a Roof
- 5 Useful Boat Storage Tips
Should Boats Be Stored Inside or Outside?
Storing boats in winter can be a lot of work, especially if you don’t have enough indoor space for its storage. Considering this, it may be tempting to keep the boat outdoors – in the water or yard.
This can be problematic. If you decide to store your boat outside, you will have to take extra care and precautions. You will have to ensure your boat is covered at all times.
Environmental factors can pose a greater threat to your boat when left to stay outdoors.
It may also be harder for you to keep an eye on your boat all the time and easier for someone to steal your boat or damage its body parts. When kept in the water, your boat will be more prone to sinking.
Wherever you choose to store your boat, you will want to ensure it stays safe and lasts longer throughout the winter.
1. Fit Your Boat Into Your Garage
Before you consider storing your boat in your garage, it’s best to organize the space in advance.
This will help your boat to easily fit into your garage without any trouble. However, simply moving certain objects here and there won’t make the cut.
The best you can do is store two or more items together in a container and place them somewhere inside the garage. This could be broad shelves or a small room within your garage, etc.
You can also make use of the corners of your garage for storing items. With your items neatly stowed away, it will be easier to make way for your boat to move inside.
Plus, in this way, it will also be easier for you to spot and retrieve the stored items because you won’t have to search for them.
When moving the boat into your garage, make sure the beam is along the length of the garage door and the centerline of the trailer is at the center of your garage.
Using the remote, move the trailer in the straight line slowly and gradually and bring the boat inside your garage.
2. Use a Storage Shed
By keeping your boat in a large storage shed, you won’t have to worry about its repair and maintenance throughout the winter season. This will save a lot of your time and money.
If you plan on buying a ready-made storage shed, you’ll have to consider a few factors beforehand. This includes the size of your property, the size of the boat you want to store, and if you wish to store any other vehicle, consider its size as well.
Other than these factors, you will also have to select the material of your storage shed. Please note that storage sheds come in three popular materials – wood, metal, and plastic.
High-end wood sheds usually feature plywood sheathing over the stud frames and plywood sidings. On the other hand, metal sheds are simple in their framework. Their roofs and walls are coated with vinyl.
Plastic sheds are made from high-quality plastic – PVC or polyvinyl chloride. Of these types, woodshed needs maximum maintenance – repaint and repair.
Metal and plastic sheds need protective coating so that they last for a longer time. Plastic sheds need the least maintenance of all.
3. Parking Spot with a Roof
Many homes lack proper garages or outdoor spaces for placing their storage shed. In such scenarios, you may consider placing your boat in a private parking area.
However, the condition is that it should have proper roofing to protect your boat from natural elements. For full-protection, you will need to cover your boat with a tarp. When buying a tarp, make sure you consider the following factors:
It is important to pay attention to the quality of the tarp you’re planning to buy. Look for something that is light and easy to handle.
That said, it should be durable and effective enough to withstand harsh weather conditions. The best tarp is one that is lightweight yet thick, at least 5 mils thick.
Like most products in the market, tarps come in different types – polyethylene tarps, canvas tarps, PVC tarps, and vinyl tarps. The most commonly-used tarp for covering boats is the poly tarp.
It is constructed with heavy-duty plastic and has key features such as lightweight and water-resistance. You can also consider a vinyl tarp for covering your boat. It is quite durable and flexible.
Another key feature you should consider when buying a tarp is its size which will depend on your boat size. The tarp you choose should be big enough to easily cover your vessel.
The good thing is that tarps come in many sizes so you won’t have difficulty in finding the right kind.
Ease and Convenience
When buying a tarp, make sure it’s easy to use. For instance, some tarps are so heavy that it becomes difficult for the user to maneuver them.
Make sure that the tarp you pick comes with grommets so that they are easy to install and attach wherever you want.
Useful Boat Storage Tips
Before you pick any of the above methods to store away your boat, ensure that you have winterized your boat. Make sure to follow these tips:
1. Clean Your Boat
Scrub your boat thoroughly using water and soap. Clean both the interior and exterior of your boat.
First, clean all the dust and dirt with a dry cloth and then soak another clean cloth in the dishwater soap and rub lockers, chains, and other essential parts. Make sure you get rid of all the stubborn spots using a specialized cleaner.
Never allow the soap to dry on the boat’s surface as you may risk damaging its paint and coating. Work in small areas and rinse the soap off as you move along.
2. Check the Engine, Filter, etc
Make sure you check the engine oil and other parts – hoses, belts, steering cables, and lines. Flush the engine with fresh water as this will help remove salt, dirt, and other unnecessary elements.
Fill the coolant system with antifreeze and warm the engine for a while to get rid of all sorts of impurities. Next, replace the engine oil and filter if necessary.
Fill the engine of the tank with gas and stabilizer and then run the engine for 10 to 15 minutes and see all the additives go into fuel lines.
3. Charge the Marine Battery
Suspend the battery and charge it fully. While the battery is on charge, you clean the battery terminals and furnish them with grease.
You can also consider spraying the battery with an anti-corrosion spray. Don’t forget to coat or spray the ends of the battery cables.
Always store the battery in a warm, dry space. The best option is to use a dock box for storing the boat’s battery.
4. Remove All the Inflammable Items
When storing your boat, make sure it doesn’t contain any electronic items or fire extinguishers. You should also remove kitchenware and clothing from your boat. It’s also important to repair and replace all the damaged or broken items.
5. Check Your Boat Two or Three Times a Month
Just because you have covered your boat completely and stored it in a safe space doesn’t mean you stop caring about your vessel. It’s best to check your boat every few weeks and examine its parts to ensure no storage problem has occurred.
Regardless of the place you choose to store your boat in for the winter, make sure you cover it with a high-quality tarp. Also, if you lack a garage, parking space, or any proper storage place for your boat, you can simply store it in a trail.
However, make sure that you have covered your boat properly. For 100% safety and thoroughness, you should also read the boat’s manual to see if you need to consider any particular needs for the storage of your boat.