Putting It All Away

Sure, it would be nice if your boat didn't see any downtime, but most of us have to go home sometime.

Powerboat on trailer illustrationPhoto: Thinkstock

Storing Boats On Trailers

If the boat is not supported well, adding support to the keel and beneath the engines may prevent cracks in the hull.

Solar Wind

When your boat is closed, warming daytime air sucks moisture into the interior from outside, which condenses out when the cabin cools at night. A few days of this and the interior of your closed boat is as wet as a rain forest. The result is damage to fabrics, woods, and probably even the fiberglass. Passive ventilation beats nothing, but a solar ventilator does a much better job of keeping the interior of a closed boat fresh and dry. Set to exhaust, a solar ventilator will exchange all the air in the closed cabin of a 25-foot boat every 30 minutes. Select a day/night ventilator and this circulation continues around the clock. The effect on the freshness of the cabin will astonish you.

Leaf Strainer

Photo of a leaf strainer Photo: Don Casey

Do leaves block your cockpit drains while your boat is sitting on the trailer? Correct this by adding strainers. From your nearby dollar store, buy a cheap plastic storage basket. The kind with open-weave sides. Cut pieces from those sides of a size to roll into tubes that will fit into the drain openings. They should stick up not less than three or four inches. Maintain the tube shape with zip ties or string. With the strainers inserted, leaves will gather around them rather than being washed into the drain. The accumulated leaves shouldn't prevent water from draining as long as you remove them periodically.

Places To Nest On Your Boat

Birds can nest in boat tailpipes and boom ends. Cover them while not in use, but remember to uncover them before boating.

Specialized Trailer Locks

Photo of a locked trailer tongue

Standard hasp-style locks are great for a number of things, but not securing trailer tongues or spare tires. For this job I recommend something that disables the use of the coupler altogether. For spare tires, any exposed lock hasps can be easily cut with a pair of bolt cutters. Locks with smaller or "hidden" hasps when installed are a much better bet.

Outdrive — No Tilt

Photo of a tilted outdrive

Don't store an outdrive or outboard in the tilted position; rainwater and condensation will collect in the exhaust cavity and freeze when the temperature drops, cracking the housing — an expensive and unnecessary repair.

Inside Storage

Photo of DampRid container

If your boat stays inside during the winter (lucky you!) and experiences large swings in temperature and humidity, guard against an interior full of mildew in the springtime by placing "DampRid" containers throughout the boat. Be sure the interior is well-ventilated. Of course, don't store any damp gear (life jackets, anchor lines, etc.) inside, and remove all seat cushions and seats that cover storage compartments.

Tongue Jack Health

Block the tongue to support and take the load off the tongue jack, especially if storing the boat with the bow raised higher, to promote drainage. Most tongue jacks aren't at their strongest when extended, so blocking the tongue up and taking the weight off can save your tongue jack.

Protect By Covering Or Removing

Trailer tires deteriorate more rapidly when constantly exposed to sunlight; however, you can extend their useful life by using tire covers (garbage bags will do in a pinch) or storing your boat and trailer inside. Application of a tire protectant (such as Armor All) will also help. Even the ground will eventually rot your tires if they sit long enough. For trailers that will remain idle for an extended period of time, removing the tires (placing stands or blocks under the frame) and storing them indoors will extend their life and prevent flat spots, as well as discourage would-be thieves. 

— Published: Fall 2014


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