Store And Protect Your Boat Off Season

Sherri Ramos

Most boat owners dread the day they have to place their boat in storage for the season. This means  the long days of summer have fallen by the wayside, and long days at the lake or the beach are gone. If you are a new boat owner, you may still be trying to figure out where to store your boat, but unfortunately storage is just the first step. Taking these basic steps will ensure you have many more successful boating seasons to come. 

Storing Your Boat

If you are new to boating, or are looking to do something different than you have done in previous years, you have three basic choices when it comes to storing your boat. 

  1. The least expensive way to store your boat during the winter season is to simply load it on your trailer, and store it in your driveway or in your garage. This will not only keep your boat available to you throughout the winter season, but will also keep it somewhere you will be able to see it and make sure it's safe.
  2. Depending on the size of the boat you own, there may be other storage options located at or near your closest marina. Many areas offer dry rack storage for smaller boats. All you have to do is transport your boat there by land or water, and the storage facility will use their equipment to lift your boat out of the water, and place it in a cradle designed especially for boats. Placing your boat in a dry rack will help to ensure it is out of the water during bad weather, as well as serve to keep your boat safe.
  3. If you have a larger boat, or want to know your boat is easily accessible throughout the winter, ask your local marina about renting a boat slip. Your boat will remain in the water where it will be available anytime you want to go out to fish, or just take a ride. One of the main concerns about leaving your boat in the water is the turbulent weather can often be found in the winter. Check with your marina, as many marinas have programs in which they will remove your boat directly from your slip and place it in an inside storage facility for you.

​Shrink Wrapping Is For More Than Easter Baskets

​If you choose a storage option besides keeping your boat in a slip throughout the winter, you may want to consider having your vessel shrink wrapped prior to placing it in storage. This is a process in which your vessel will be covered tightly with industrial plastic. Shrink wrapping your vessel has many advantages:

  • It will keep the weather elements off of your boat when it is not in use. 
  • Shrink wrapping  works better than a traditional tarp as it is water, and weather proof. 
  • It will reduce, or even eliminate the damages that can be caused to your vessel hull when moving your boat to and from storage.
  • Shrink wrapping will keep bugs, and other small critters from moving into and living on your boat throughout the winter.
  • Shrink wrapping will help deter anyone from stealing, or removing items from your boat while it is in storage. 

There are many companies that offer this valuable service, but if you do not want to pay the cost to have it done, you can also find kits to do it yourself

Review Your Boat Insurance

If you have been relying on your homeowners and auto insurance policies to cover your boat, you may want to think again. While these policies will offer you some semblance of coverage, they usually will not cover your boat in the case of physical damage, liability, or even theft when your boat is on the water. A separate boat insurance policy is going to provide you with the highest level of coverage, not only when your boat is in the water, but when it is in storage as well.

Contact your insurance agent you have the rest of your policies with. Ask them if you can have a separate policy written just for your boat insurance. If they carry marine insurance, you will probably qualify for a multi-policy discount, which could result in substantial savings for you.