Owning and sailing a boat is a fun and exciting activity. As a boat owner, maintenance and care of your boat is an important part of ownership. When the sailing season is over, your boat should be properly cleaned and maintained before it is stored. Here are some maintenance tasks and things to consider when you store your boat for the winter:
- Prepare to Store Your Boat: Inspect your boat carefully before you store it, and make a list of any and all repairs that need to be made while your boat is not being used. You can work on these repairs during the next few months so that your boat will be in perfect shape when you are ready to return it to the water.
- Haul Your Boat: Each winter, a boat owner may lift their boat from the dock where it is moored and haul it to their home or a boat storage facility. You can haul your boat yourself on a boat trailer or you can have it hauled by a professional boat hauler on a boat transport vehicle. If you haul your boat yourself, make sure that it is securely braced on the trailer's hull supports and that all loose equipment is tied down.
- Drain Your Boat: Before you store your boat, unfasten the bilge plug to allow all water to drain out of the bilge. Do the same with your boat's seacocks, head, and holding tanks. Do not replace these plugs for a few days until your boat is completely drained of water and is dry inside.
- Clean Your Boat: Thoroughly wash and scrub your boat's hull and decks with clean water to remove any dirt and debris, and rinse off any salt water. Also, clean the inside of your boat completely and stow away all ropes and other equipment. Open all lockers and other enclosed spaces and leave them open to air out.
- Prepare Your Boat Engine: Have a qualified mechanic inspect and maintain your boat's engine before you store it for the winter. Fill your boat's gas tank with fuel to avoid condensation while it is being stored. Change the oil in the engine and completely fill the oil reservoir. Preventative maintenance is the key to keeping your boat engine in top running condition.
- Store Your Boat: During the winter, you can safely store your boat on its own trailer on your residential property or in your garage. You can also have your boat stored on a multi-boat dry rack in a boat storage facility. One advantage of storing your boat on your own property is that it is easy to make repairs whenever you want when your boat is nearby.
- Cover Your Boat: When storing your boat for a few months, it is important to cover it to keep out dirt, leaves, debris, and small animals. One option is to build a wood frame over your boat and drape a cotton canvas boat cover over it. Another option is to use a boat cover specifically made for your boat. You can also use one or more cotton or plastic tarps to cover your boat. Whatever cover you use, be sure to tie it securely around the hull of the boat with ropes that loop through grommets on the boat cover.
Check your boat owner's manual before you lift, haul, and store your boat to find out if your boat has any special features that you should consider while it is being stored. Check your boat often while it is being stored to make sure that everything is safe and secure and nothing has come loose. With proper preparation and storage, your boat will be ready to sail when you are ready to put it back in the water. For more information, contact companies like Riverside Marina.