According to the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, winter will endure well into March. But after a childhood run-in with a groundhog, I don’t trust him, and he should subsidize my Prozac medication. Spring has begun, the waters are heating up, and boats are being towed back to the lake. However, taking a boat out of storage without checking taking precautions can be dangerous or lead to repairs. We have previously covered how to take your car out of storage, but today’s blog isn’t for lumpy land-lubbers and their coffins-on-wheels. Follow these steps and your vessel will be in good shape for the sunny months following boat storage.
Dust, moisture, and a tarp covering can lead to some minor wear on the paint and upholstery. As my mother used to say, “Clean your boat!”
Clean upholstery with a mild detergent
Wash and wax the hull. Check for scratches and abrasions and fill them in as necessary
Clean the windshield and make sure the windshield wipers work
Polish all metal surfaces
Check if the drains and scuppers are clear and the metal isn’t rusted
Clean off the life jackets and inspect for tears and ensure the fire extinguisher is in working order.
If you have a microwave, stove, or refrigerator, clean them and make sure they are working. This isn’t just so you can enjoy these luxury items–many boats have been damaged or lost to malfunctioning equipment fires
Engine and Fuel System
Checking the engine for any wear is paramount. Be thorough, as any damage can lead to expensive repairs and potentially dangerous breakdowns on the water. Bring a mechanic or a friend with more expertise if you don’t feel comfortable examining the engine. Again, this an extremely important step after boat storage.
Check whether the fuel hose is brittle, soft, or cracked. Leaks affect performance and corrode other engine surfaces.
Pump out any fluid that may still be in the engine tank
Change the fuel filters and add new engine oil
Replace transmission and power steering fluids
Check all hose connections and various clamps. Make sure they are secure and clean/replace as necessary
Flush the cooling system and add new coolant
Change transmission fluid
Replace spark plugs
Inspect fuel tank for leaks and oil all moving parts
Check propeller for cracks or rust, and that it is connected and secured
Probably replace the spark plugs for good measure
The electrical components are highly interconnected with other parts of the boats. Failure to inspect them is a major cause of many boat repairs. Again, this is another step that you need to be comfortable with or bring in someone with more expertise.
Check the battery’s water level and refill in necessary
Check that all wire connections are secure and free of wear, then clean and lubricate
Make sure dashboard lights are working
Double Check for Necessary Equipment
Many people are more focused on making sure the boat is in working order and forget about having the right safety and navigational equipment. Double-checking doesn’t take long and shouldn’t be neglected after long-term boat storage.
Worn belts and hoses and broken water tanks are a common cause of breakdowns on the water after boat storage. Without them, you’ll need to be towed back into the shore. Rescue boat operators are usually very nice and chatty, great for lonely people looking to swap stories–but they won’t front the bill.
Belts shouldn’t be brittle, cracked or loose. Make sure the belts are wrapped tightly around pulleys and are not wearing thin. They will rub off a black residue if they are too thin
Flush water tank and check for any leaks
Flush hot water tank and run it to make sure both the AC and engine connections are operating
There are several more steps for the true mariners taking a sailboat out of boat storage. Those with a motorboat should listen up, too, and be inspired to hit the high seas in a real boat.
Check for wear: abrasions, tears, loose seams, etc.
Check all sail attachments, battens and bolt ropes
Inspect all metal for rust or fraying on the surrounding fabric
Check masthead pulleys and ropes
Inspect all of the reefing
Hit the Water Captain!
The rolling waves, sea breeze and warm sun are waiting for you, my friend. However, if you don’t take care of your boat after winter storage, you may run into trouble on the water. The sea is unforgiving, and so am I. Don’t expect my help if your boat breaks down and your friends and family blame you for ruining their day on the water. Don’t be Captain Let-the-self-storage-blogger-down.
If you want to store your boat with the most reliable and safe self-storage company in Albuquerque, contact us today and we’ll make sure you receive the best possible service.
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