Tweet Share

Time to Tuck Your Boat In.

Storage and Maintenance.

Out of sight, but not out of mind.

What you do with your boat when you’re not using it is just as important as what you do when you are. Boat maintenance, on- and off-season, is a necessary part of ownership, but it doesn’t have to be a laborious chore. In fact, boats don’t require a ton of work—that is, if you treat them right. Where and how you care for and store your vessel is a matter of budget, convenience and availability (and just a little bit of TLC). Learn how to, where to, and when to store, park, care for and show off your boat with this Storage and Maintenance section.

What's Inside This Chapter:

  • Debunking the Maintenance Myth
  • Slips, Marinas and Boat Lifts
  • Dry Docking and Shrink Wrapping Storage

Maintenance Basics

Tow your boat to the lake,
not to the shop.

MYTH: Boats require a ton of maintenance.

FACT: Frequent cleanings, routine inspections and a to-do checklist are the easiest ways to ensure your boat is always up to speed.

You check the oil of your car, clean off your lawnmower’s spark plugs and empty the crumbs out of your toaster without a second thought. All of these little things help save you from dealing with big problems down the road. Proper boat maintenance not only helps to extend the life of your boat, but there’s a good chance it’ll also save you from the headache of paying for repairs.

For many, basic boat maintenance is as natural as navigating your favorite route. Regularly washing and waxing the exterior of the boat, checking the charge and fluid levels of the battery, and even making sure the lines are neatly stored are great ways to enjoy your boat when the two of you aren’t out on the water.

Boats are fun, not work. Well, maybe a little work, but it’s fun work. Even if she’s docked or stored, you can still make the most of your time together.

Remember, she’s a machine, so she’ll need a tune-up. She tends to get dirty, so she’ll need some upkeep. She’s your baby, so you need to show her some love. (By the way, if “she” happens to be a rare “he,” the same applies—but he won’t admit it.)

Slips, Marinas
and Boat Lifts

How to show your boat off when you’re unable to show your boat off.

For those who want to keep their boats in one location or want to make things a bit simpler by keeping their boat on (or slightly above) the water, a slip or lift is a great option.

Renting a slip at your local marina is one of quickest and most convenient ways to dock your boat. Getting out on the water can be as easy as driving to the marina, climbing aboard and pushing off. Plus, you never have to worry about where you’re going to park her when you’re done.

And that marina? It’s a full-service station for you and your boat. Marinas usually provide amenities such as electricity, fuel, wash-down water, telephone/internet and other services. Many marinas offer winter storage. The marina is also a great gathering place for boaters and non-boaters alike. It’s like an exclusive club to mix and mingle, without all the snobbery. Plus, how many other places let you bring your boat in with you? (Tip: A boat makes for an excellent wingman.)

But you don’t need a slip to keep your boat close to the water. A boatlift is an excellent way to keep your boat safe, whether you’re docking her for the night or for the week.

Keep your boat at the lake, bay or assorted water route. If you got it, flaunt it.

Dry Docking/Shrink Wrapping

The only good part about saying goodbye is getting to say ‘hello’ again.

For some of us, there comes that time of year we all dread. That time of year where we hang up our captain’s hat. That time of year that marks the end of the boating season.

How you take care of your boat during the off-season is just as important as how you treat her while she’s in use.

When it’s time to dry dock, the best thing you can do is to get your boat off the water and put her under a cover. A climate-controlled area is ideal. But if this option is unavailable, shrink-wrapping to protect her from the elements is a good option.

Taking the time to protect and prepare your boat will save you time and money when you take her out in the spring. Besides, it’s hard to say goodbye. Take your time. We have tissues if you need them.

Oh, and remember when we said you get to say “hello”? We have a handy Springtime Boat Preparation Checklist for when she’s ready to wake from her long winter’s nap.