Sad as it may be, summer is officially over. That means it’s time to retire the flip flops, unpack the beach bags and and store your boat.
For some, “winterizing” or storing your vessel might entail simply parking it on the grass. But safely storing your watercraft requires a bit more work than that.
Remember, we’re here to provide you with tips, but it’s always a good idea to contact your boat’s manufacturer for suggestions and more information.
Select a Storage Location
First, make sure your boat is clean and dry, and fix tools that are broken or fabrics that have been torn. Once you’re ready to haul your boat out of the water and into storage, you need to find a safe place for it. Select an area where it won’t be subject to debris or damaged by the elements. This means choosing a place like your backyard – which should be free and clear of trees and branches – or a storage facility. If your boat is stored outside, remember that it’s almost certainly going to get wet. The boat’s surface, including furniture and the Bimini top, need to be protected.
Make sure your boat is stored off the ground. Using jack stands or a trailer, hoist it above the earth, and support its engine, keel, and bulkheads to avoid damage.
- Fill up the gas tank and use a gas stabilizer; this will help keep condensation from building up
- Check the engine and make sure it’s in working order
- Clear out your holding tanks
- (Optional) Remove the battery and store it separately in a dry area
Clean the Boat
Use gentle, non-abrasive fabric cleaners to clean your boat’s furniture, dry it properly and clear any debris or dirt. You may need to drain it of any excess water. Remember to take out that bilge drain plug!
Make sure the interior is clean, as well. Place mildew odor control bags in the lockers for the duration of the storage time. Clean out the lavatories, refrigerators, drawers and closets. Make sure to take clothes, life vests and supplies with you, or store them somewhere dry.
Cover Your Boat
Choosing the right boat cover is not as easy as you might think; it involves some research. This is the one piece of material that’s going to protect your boat from the elements, mold and mildew all winter long.
Choosing the right cover means you should know the following:
- Dimensions of your boat: you can buy a universal cover or have the cover custom made
- Additional desired features:
- Mold and mildew resistance
- UV Ray resistance
- Water resistance
- Straps for tying down
- Material: boat covers come in a variety of specialty fabrics and include polyester and vinyl blends (Herculite offers a complete line of marine fabrics)
Once you have your choices made, you’re ready to order your boat cover. Remember, this is the first line of defense against inclement conditions, so choose it wisely!
Learn more about boat cover and tops -- download our free "What You Don't Know About Custom Boat Tops/Covers Can Be Costly" eBook. For more information about Herculite’s fabrics, call us at 800-772-0036.