Your Options for Winter Boat Storage
Whether you are a new boat owner or an old hand, how and where to store your boat for the winter is an important decision. A careful review of your boat storage options can save considerable money and effort.
Boat Storage at Home
Storing your boat, notably a large sail or motor yacht, at home is not always a possibility. In every state, you can only trailer boats under 10-feet in width, even narrower in some.
For larger watercraft, home storage becomes complicated and expensive. You will need to hire a professional boat hauling company to load, transport, and position.
In the spring, you will need to reverse the process.
Also, when transporting your sailboat on public streets, by the way, you will need to pull the mast, store the mainsail, and secure all parts before transporting.
Make sure you check your state and local regulations, as well as zoning and neighborhood covenants before doing anything.
Outside Boat Storage
Most boat owners keep their boats at or near the boatyard in colder weather. The mast of your sailboat does not necessarily need to be lowered when stored near the harbor.
And, visiting and working on your boat is usually permitted with outdoor storage.
Boats kept outside are still vulnerable to winter conditions, dirt, pests, and vandals. Many owners opt to have their boats shrink-wrapped in plastic. Make sure the wrap is adequately vented to repel moisture to protect them from mildew while also keeping snow and ice off the surfaces.
Make sure you cover the upholstery for further protection and keep the drains open.
Also, note that any outside storage can leave your boat vulnerable to pests and rodents who are looking for shelter. Well-managed inside storage will reduce this risk or having a professional yacht yard shrink wrap and store for you will also eliminate this risk.
Dry vs. Wet Boat Storage
In temperate climates where ice is not likely to form, water storage is an option. However, owners must keep in mind that the saltwater will degrade the paint and possibly require additional maintenance in the Spring.
On the other hand, the water retains heat longer than air. On land, a sudden extreme cold front can cause ice damage ashore if the boat is not protected. In places that experience deep freezes, shore-stored boats will require winterizing before those that are kept in the water.
Water Boat Storage
Some cold-weather harbors use bubblers to circulate the warmer water on the surface to prevent ice from forming around the docks and boats. Water circulation is viable only in harbors deep enough to have warmer water to circulate from well beneath the surface.
However, land-stored boats do not sink. Owners should be cautioned that boats in the water can be vulnerable to storms or even fail due to unnoticed fittings that allow water to enter.
Water storage allows you the flexibility to set sail at the first sign of decent weather, but it also has risks.
Boat Lift Storage
If you have your own pier, you can store your boat on the same lift upon which the craft sits during the warmer months. You can elect to winterize your boat yourself or hire a company that specializes in these services. You can also choose to have the vessel shrink-wrapped for further protection from the elements.
You will be able to have repairs and maintenance performed while the boat is on the lift. If it is wrapped, however, make sure there is a zippered entrance to allow workers to access the interior.
Inside Boat Storage
Many boat owners prefer their boats to be stored inside where they are fully protected from the elements during the harshest weather. While inside, the boats are also protected from vandalism. Most indoor facilities maintain tight security, and many will not even allow owners to work on their boats while in storage to reduce the risk of fire.
Preparing for Next Season While in Storage
Winter is the perfect time to restore your boat to peak condition. While your boat is in winter storage, you can schedule the repairs and maintenance that you may have postponed until the end of the season. A full-service marina will have professionals on-hand to perform those crucial procedures professionally and methodically.
Additional winter services may include:
- Performing outboard services
- Making mechanical repairs and replacing parts
- Refinishing and restoring
- Fabricating custom metal parts
- Upgrading electrical components and rewire
- Repairing sails/riggings
You may also consider adding some new accessories to your boat while it is in storage or get a new coat of paint.
South Wharf Yacht Yard in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, is a full-service yacht yard that provides a full line of services for sail and motor yachts, including winterization and maintenance. Contact them today if you are looking for help with your boat.
If you have any questions about storing your boat, give the professionals at Cape Yachts a call today. We are here to answer all of your questions.