Boating is a wonderful activity, but unless one lives in a sunny locale, there are bound to be parts of the year where it is impossible to enjoy boating due to cold weather or inhospitable waters. Storing your boat outside requires special preparation and a specific location, but can be done easily.
Covers and Canopies
Before storing your boat, consider the location you plan to place it in. More often than not, the area will be exposed to sunlight, rain, and other weather factors that can deteriorate the exterior of the boat and cause incremental damage over time.
Covers and canopies are great ways to protect the boat in these locations. Covers are large sheets, usually made of thick, water-resistant materials, that can be tied down over the top of the boat, granting protection against the elements and prolonging the life of your craft.
Canopies are free-standing structures that provide an extra level of protection, and can stop falling debris such as branches, leaves, and other particles from marring your boat. Using these two systems in tandem can have a great preventative effect on your boat, keeping it clean and safe.
Draining Oil and Gasoline
Gasoline is corrosive. As it sits in the gas pan, it can cause metals to deteriorate and be damaged. Drain gasoline either using a siphon system or by running the engine before storing the vehicle. This will prevent the fuel from damaging the boat or turning bad over time.
Many boaters think that they have to drain oil for the same reason they drain gasoline, but this is not true. Oil is not corrosive in nature, and for short-term storage (such as storage during a winter season) it is perfectly acceptable to leave the oil in the engine.
Securing Your Boat
It is an unfortunate fact of life that thieves and vandals exist. If your boat must be stored outside, make sure it is behind a gate, fence, or other obstacle, and that the entrance and exit points are secured using locks or deadbolts.
Consider obscuring your boat from view by placing it in your backyard, a boat dock, or side yard, and make sure it is illuminated properly during the night to deter would-be criminals.
Register Your Boat as Non-Operational
When stored outside, your boat does not have to be insured and does not have to be registered as “in-use.” Registering your craft as non-operational while in storage can save you a large amount of money.
Talk to a professional to learn more about boat lift covers, draining oil and gasoline, and securing your boat.