Storing your Boat – Preparation & Important Information for Long Term Boat Storage

Whether you have a suitable space on your property or you are planning to take advantage of one of our facilities in Perth (at Bibra Lake and Naval Base), your vessel will need to be properly prepared before it is put into long term boat storage. If you are not confident in your ability to do so, professional assistance is available in the area so do not fret. On the other hand, if you are planning to do the work yourself, the following checklist will definitely come in handy.

Getting Your Vessel Ready

First of all, you should familiarise yourself with the owner’s manual that came with your boat and make sure that you are up to date with all of the recommended regular maintenance tasks. Once you have done this, follow the checklist below carefully.

  1. Empty the Bilge

    – You should make sure that any excess water is removed before leaving your boat standing for any length of time. You should also clean it thoroughly with a stiff wire brush and spray it with a mixture of lubricant and antifreeze. This will help to ensure that any water that may make its way inside during the time your boat is in storage does not freeze and cause stress fractures; it will also help to prevent corrosion.

  2. Clean the Hull

    – Barnacles and other marine life that has attached itself to the hull of your boat could damage it when it is left sitting in dry storage. For this reason, you need to make sure that you scrape it all off with a stainless steel scrubber but remember to be gentle as you do not want to inadvertently damage the hull yourself. Alternatively, you could use a pressure washer if you have access to one that is capable of doing the job properly. You should also use warm water with a mild detergent to wash all dirt and grime from the surface of the hull. It is a good idea to then coat the hull with a protective layer of wax as this will make it much easier to clean in the future, should you be planning to keep the boat in one of our storage facilities for a number of years.

  3. Prepare the Engine

    – There are many articles to be found online that cover the topic of basic outboard engine maintenance, some of which contain a lot of useful information and tips that will help you to get your boat ready for long term storage. What you should bear in mind when inspecting your engine before putting your boat into storage is that rust, old fuel, and cold weather are the biggest enemies it will face. We recommend checking all hosing and electrical wiring connections first, then running the engine for a few minutes to warm it up. Once it is warm, but not too hot, you should perform a complete oil change and fit a new filter at the same time. With the engine still running, flush it with clean water, only stopping when the water that comes out is completely clear.Inboard engines should have their antifreeze reservoirs refilled before being put into storage while outboard motors should always be stored vertically so that all of the water drains out of them. Fogging oil can be used in carburettors (spray it in while the engine is running), and cylinders. You should of course stop the engine before removing the spark plugs to spray inside the cylinders but before you stop the engine, turn off the fuel supply valve. You should also make sure the engine is full of fuel before the boat is stored, as this will stop water vapour from entering, and add a commercially available stabilizer to the fuel in the tank, to prevent it from degrading.

  4. Disconnect and Remove the Battery

    – Before putting your boat into a dry storage facility, you should remove the battery and connect it to a smart charger to make sure it remains in good working order.

  5. Seating

    – For small pleasure cruisers that are to be stored outside, we recommend cleaning all vinyl upholstery thoroughly before coating it with a good quality protective spray. While a cover should keep rain off the seating, condensation can form on the surface and cause problems such as mould if you do not take these preventative measures. Making sure that your cover has adequate ventilation will also help.

  6. Cover the Boat

    – While some people may debate the necessity of a quality boat cover for vessels that are in regular use, there is no doubting the fact that they are essential for owners who plan to use a local long term boat storage facility. Most groups of boating owners around the world advocate using good quality boat covers at all times and consequently, there are many reputable makes from which to choose. Whatever type of cover you choose, it should be securely fastened to prevent it from being torn loose in high winds. If you are going to be keeping your boat in an indoor storage facility, this last point is, of course, not so important.

  7. Preparing Your Trailer

    – Most boat owners spend a fair amount of money on the trailer they use to tow their boat to the water so it is important to protect your investment by preparing this piece of apparatus for storage too. You should clean it thoroughly, apply grease to all points where corrosion may be an issue and check both the pressure of the tyres and the wheel bearings, replacing and repacking the latter if necessary. Use wooden blocks to keep the tyres off the floor if storing inside. Alternatively, arrange to have the trailer shifted a few inches every now and then, to prevent any flat spots from forming on the rubber.

If you would like any further advice regarding boat storage in Perth, or perhaps a detailed quotation for the storage of your vessel, please do not hesitate to call and speak to one of our boat storage experts during normal business hours. For more information about our self storage options one of our friendly staff will be more than happy to assist.

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