New boat owners and seasoned boat owners have something in common: they need to think through where and how to store their boats. Boat storage is very important when it comes to getting the most out of your new or used boat. You’ve spent money, time, and energy on buying your boat; why not store it so that it can last even longer?
The same goes for taking precautionary steps to protect your boat. What kinds of products can you put on your boat to make sure it stays in tip-top shape? Do you always need to cover it after you take it out for a spin?
In this article, keep reading to learn more about:
- Storing your boat during the winter
- Protecting your boat from UV damage
- Other ways to protect your boat
Storing Your Boat During The Winter
When the leaves start falling, it’s a smart idea to start thinking about where and how you will store your boat for the cold winter months. If you’re planning to store your boat outside, there are some things you should know. A couple of options include:
1. Parking your boat on your property
If you have room on your property and your homeowner’s association allows, some owners choose to store their boats at home on a trailer. It makes it easy to work on your boat, and you don’t have to drive to a storage facility to pick it up.
It’s not for everyone and not best for every type of boat, though. Unless you have a small boat or a large piece of property and space from neighbors, you’ll probably want more room.
- You don’t have to pay storage fees.
- Getting to your boat is easy, and you can hitch up quickly.
- You can keep an eye on your boat yourself.
- Neighbors and homeowners associations may not allow this option.
- Your boat is still outside and exposed to more elements than indoor storage.
- If you live in a high-traffic area, your boat could be at risk of burglary.
2. Outdoor boat storage at a self-storage facility
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where winter never gets too harsh, you may want to opt for an outdoor self-storage facility to store your boat. They’re usually the most cost-effective option and still offer better security than storing your boat on your property.
- These facilities are the most cost-effective, especially for larger boats that would otherwise have high slip fees.
- Security systems and guards help dissuade people from messing with your boat
- Even with a good cover, your boat will still be exposed to the elements to some degree.
- These facilities can sometimes have rodent problems, and curious raccoons and mice can make themselves at home in your boat during the offseason.
3. Covered boat storage at a self-storage facility
A step above completely exposed storage facilities, covered storage lots are still accessible and allow you to keep your boat more protected from the elements. These facilities can usually accommodate boats of all sizes and are also a good choice if you have limited space on your property.
While they’re still technically outdoors, these types of storage offer structural shelter from sun and rain and are a good in-between option for those looking for a little more protection.
- More protection from outdoor conditions than only your boat’s cover.
- Most facilities have a surveillance system, and your boat won’t be exposed to as much foot traffic as in a neighborhood.
- These types of facilities can be less expensive than entirely indoor boat storage options.
- Without full indoor storage, your boat is still somewhat exposed to outdoor conditions.
- These types of facilities are not everywhere, and there may not be one close enough to where you like to boat to be worth the other benefits.
Protecting Your Boat from UV Damage
Just like you should protect your skin from powerful UV rays, you should think about protecting your boat from UV damage as well. Constant exposure from the sun’s UV rays can cause damage to different parts of your boat, resulting in avoidable repairs and costs.
One of the costliest ways UV light damages your boat is by deteriorating the boat’s gel coat. The gel coat is a layer of resin that acts as the outer skin to your boat’s hull or deck and is often pigmented to give your boat its color. Its main purpose is to protect the fiberglass layers underneath from any water or moisture. Even the best gel coats will require maintenance since they are the first layer of defense from the elements. UV rays will break down the pigment in gel coats and cause your boat’s color to fade to a dull shade of its former self. They can also cause the outer surface to turn chalky and deteriorate your gel coat over time. The best way to maintain and protect your gel coat is by regularly cleaning and waxing your boat.
Sunlight and UV rays are also very damaging to your boat’s interior. The most common form of interior damage is discoloration. Nothing is sadder than seeing your once vibrant upholstery now look dull, faded, or cracked. The light from the sun causes chemical reactions to the pigments in vinyl and fabrics, causing them to fade. Depending on what fabric is used for your upholstery (vinyl, leather, suede, etc.), the rate of fading will differ, but they all will eventually lose their vibrance after prolonged exposure to the sun. The best way to protect your interior is to use a boat cover when your boat is not in use.
Owning a boat is a big investment, so it is important to take care of it as best as you can. Even though being out on the water on a sunny day can be a great joy, those sunny days can add up and become an invisible threat if proper maintenance is not performed. Regularly cleaning, waxing, and covering your boat will allow it to look as good on its fifth year as it did on its first. The time and energy you put into taking care of your investment will save you from having to burn cash on reupholstering or applying a new layer of gel coat to your boat.
The intense heat can lead to cracked and chipped paint, warped floorboards and railings, and melted plastics. On top of the heat, the summer sees a lot of storms, especially in this part of North Carolina; severe rain can also damage your boat’s surface.
Other Ways to Protect Your Boat
There are a few ways to make sure your boat is in pristine condition this season.
- Full scale clean: Make sure you deep clean your boat at least once a season to get rid of any large particulates and other debris that can cause the surface to chip.
- Protectant: This will protect the boat’s material and gel coat. It will prevent them from fading or oxidizing under the torturous heat of the sun. You should always use a heavy-duty product such as a polymer. You will need to reapply the protectant each time you take your boat out on the water.
- Rinse after Every Outing: If you’re out in the ocean, make sure to rinse your boat out with freshwater. This gets rid of any abrasive salts and stops the spread of invasive species.
- Cover! Cover! Cover!: You should always cover your boat when you are not using it. Leaving it exposed to the weather elements is a bad idea. The heat from the sun will increase the oxidation process. And harsh weather like hail can damage glass and plastic.
So whether you’re out on the lake or taking your boat for a spin on the great sea, make sure you take protective measures for your boat. A damaged boat can lead to serious consequences.
At Greenville Marine & Sports Center, we are your local boat, motor, and trailer dealer. For over 50 years, we’ve been serving Pitt and Beaufort counties and Eastern North Carolina. We offer many brands of boats and engines, and our experienced sales and service staff is excited to help you buy a new or used boat.