There will undoubtedly come a time where you need to put your boat into storage. You may need boat storage to keep your pride and joy safe and sheltered during winter, for example. Or, you might need temporary boat storage while you travel away from home.
Whatever the reason, you must take some steps to prepare your boat before it spends some time in storage. Keeping that in mind, what steps should you take? The following is a definitive guide to give you some inspiration and helpful hints and tips:
Give your boat a thorough clean
Your first task should be to give your boat a thorough clean. You might not realize it, but a clean boat will reduce the time you must take to get it ready for its first post-storage outing. Start by washing the topsides, bottom, and deck of your boat.
Be sure to apply a wax coat to the topsides and make sure all hardware is also clean. You can use the exercise to check for any blistering or other damage to the fiberglass. Make sure you treat and repair any damage before putting your boat into storage.
Another advantage of cleaning your boat before storing it away is that you’ll lessen the likelihood of problems like dirt and corrosion, causing permanent damage.
Drain and flush the cooling system
Once you’ve cleaned your boat and repaired any damaged fiberglass, the next step is to drain and flush the cooling system. Doing so ensures your inboard or sterndrive boat is free of corrosion, salt, and dirt.
When you flush the cooling system, be sure to use fresh water. If your boat storage location is likely to get affected by extreme temperatures, consider adding some antifreeze. You can do so from the water pump or by removing the thermostat.
Check and prepare your boat’s fuel system
The trouble with storing a boat for a long period is that condensation can build up in the fuel tank. As you can appreciate, water and gasoline aren’t a great combination for boat motors! With that in mind, you need to check and prepare your boat’s fuel system.
First of all, add a fuel stabilizer to lower the likelihood of gum and varnish build-up in the tank and the engine. You must run the engine for a few minutes after you’ve added the fuel stabilizer for obvious reasons.
Next, install a new water-separating fuel filter if your boat hasn’t already got one. When you come to take your boat out of storage, you won’t have to worry about water contaminating your motor.
Give your engine a service
When you eventually wish to take your boat out of storage, you expect it to start up correctly the first time. What you don’t want is a boat that will struggle to start and billow out huge plumes of smoke when it does eventually operate.
Before you take your pride and joy into boat storage, you should give the engine a thorough service. The actions you take for this step will ultimately depend on the type of motor you’ve got on your boat.
Generally, the first thing you should do is conduct a visual inspection of your engine. You want to take some time to check for any leaks, split hoses, damaged wiring, and so forth. If you come across anything wrong, you should find the source of the problem and fix it.
Next, it makes sense to remove the carbon from your engine. Carbon is a bad thing for any engine because it can make it inefficient to run. What’s more, excess carbon could even cause a boat’s motor to smoke a lot.
There are many ways you can de-carbon or “de-coke” your engine. One popular option involves spraying combustion cleaner into the intake. Another is having the engine carbon-cleaned professionally using hydrogen.
It is recommended to de-coke your engine every 100 hours of use. Once you’ve de-carboned your engine, it’s time to change the oil, oil filter, and air filter. Be sure to do that after you’ve let the engine run for a while as it’s easier to drain oil when it’s hot.
Be sure to use the correct oil for your motor and only fill up to the correct capacity. An engine with too much oil can cause problems just like ones with too little oil!
Store things away
Consider storing options for certain items to prevent damage or theft. For example, what should you do with marine batteries? Marine batteries can be stored on the boat but remember to keep them out of sight and make sure the battery switch is turned off. Alternatively, you can store your batteries off-site in a cool, dry place where they won’t freeze. We recommend wood surfaces, in garages or storage facilities.
Additional VHF radios, chart plotters, and other electronic devices should be stored off of the boat. Carefully storing your items away reduces the risk of damage or theft when you’re not with your boat.
Shrinkwrap Your Boat
Shrinkwrapping your boat for the winter season provides a number of benefits. It provides a waterproof barrier that will protect the boat all winter. It requires very little maintenance. Shrinkwrap is also great for boats because it provides full protection of the interior from harsh conditions such as rain, ice, snow, and sun during the entire offseason. We offer shrinkwrapping services as a convenient way for our customers to prep and store their boats. For more information contact us here.