X

⚠ Thanks for visiting TakeMeFishing.org. If you are interested in enjoying the outdoors and going fishing or boating, check the latest COVID-19 updates on your State Natural Resources Agency website first. We encourage you to follow CDC recommendations and official orders in your state before heading to the water.

Boat Storage

Properly maintaining your boat takes more than just waxing it smooth and keeping it free of lingering sea creatures. You’re going to have to spend some time checking all of the boat’s moving parts if you want it to be ready for the next fishing season.

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE STORING YOUR BOAT

Before you do any transporting, take a minute to make sure that your vessel’s insurance card, title and license are all up to date. Boat storage does have a few requirements:

  • You will be asked to show registration and/or title.
  • Depending on the state, boat storage tax will vary.

PREPARE YOUR BOAT

Look for anything that might need repairs, replacements or modifications. Make sure that all the electronics are working properly and the holding tank is free of any leaks. Also, look for holes or tears in the sails and clean off any tarnish on your metal or varnished woodwork. Here’s a handy list of items and equipment for you to check:

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Life Jackets also known as PFD personal flotation devices
  • Navigation lights
  • Horns
  • Distress beacons
  • Flares
  • Day signals
  • Ventilation grates
  • Dock lines
  • Anchors
  • Vessel’s papers, radio license, etc.

CLEAN YOUR BOAT

After you have run through the checklist of repairs and replacements, clean the inside of your boat.

  • Remove any and all traces of garbage.
  • Clear our any lockers or cabinets in the cabin.
  • Scrub the decks with some lemon oil.
  • Clean your boat’s carpets and dust its curtains.
  • Empty out your bilge, but don’t pump the bilge water out if you see an oily film, you don’t want to pollute the water.

CHECK THE ENGINE

After you’re done all the things above, head over to the engine bay.

  • Top off the fuel tank with gas and add fuel stabilizer to keep your gas fresh.
  • Change the oil filter and replace the engine oil
  • Check all the hoses, belts and clamps to make sure there aren’t any holes, leaks or frays.
  • Flush out the coolant system with water. If you live in extremely cold weather, take an extra step of precaution and add some antifreeze.

OTHER TIPS FOR STORING YOUR BOAT

  • If you really want to be thorough in your inspection, flush out the head with clean water.
  • Pump out whatever remains in your holding tank. You’ll want to take a quick look at the Y-valve, macerator and discharge hose to see if anything needs fixing.
  • Store your boat stern-down so that rain (or melting snow in colder weather) drains through the scuppers.
  • Give your vessel some structural support under boat covers and tarps.

Content courtesy of SmartStop. Boat Storage Guide

Learn more about Boating and Water Safety in our next section.