Boat Maintenance Checklist for Off-Season Storage

Texas Marine Off-Season Maintenance Special

There are so many reasons to carefully and thoroughly tuck in your boat for the off-season that a traditional annual ritual will payoff in spades. It can ward off rust, mildew and the eventual break down of your boat, resulting in shortening its usefulness. There just isn't enough that can be said on the benefits, both monetarily and practically, for learning this process and developing your own yearly checklist. Use the below" Boat Maintenance Checklist for Off-Season Storage" to help you build your own personal regime.

Where & When



  1. Where-You need to put a little thought into where your boat will be stored in the off-season and when it is to be tucked in. A climate-controlled storage would naturally be optimal, but many boat owners do not have that kind of access. So the next best thing is a nicely-fit cover for your boat, as it sits outside. You want to check all the sharp edges on your boat that will come into contact with your cover so it does not get ripped during the harsher weather that is inevitable. Remember if necessary an old rag and some duct tape can take care of wrapping a threatening sharp edge on any boat.

  2. When to tuck in your boat is always a challenge. The best thing to remember is you want it in before the first hard freeze. It only takes once for your boat to sustain potential damage due to freezing weather which it was not prepared for. It pays tremendously to get this step right.


Prep Work before Covering



  1. To cut down on mildew you can clean, wash and wax your fiberglass or gel coated surfaces with a mild marine wash and dual-action polisher. Take care to thoroughly dry with cotton towel. Do not forget to address any oxidation or stains with a dual-action polisher before you wax.

  2. Then for the painted or metal surfaces you need to use a protective application of wash and wax to deal with any impurities on them before storing.

  3. Thoroughly clean all crumbs and dirt from floors, seats and storage bins. You can use a vacuum from the local car wash to quickly accomplish the task.

  4. For you vinyl surfaces, such as furniture, coat it with a protective vinyl cleaner or conditioner. It will ensure your upholstery is protected against the UV rays of the sun once you begin your boating season again the following year. Also, it will help you locate any tears in your vinyl that would allow moisture into your padding and deteriorate it, as you are forced to inspect it while applying the conditioner.

  5. Be sure to detail and protect your clear plastic surfaces as well with a Plastic wax (don't use glass cleaner on your plastic).

  6. Engine prep work is the most time consuming, yet has the greatest potential for saving you money in the long run. Drain all the water from your outboards. Drain the coolant and replace it with antifreeze that is propylene glycol-based. Be sure you take the time to change your oil and filter also. Then fill your tank 3/4's of the way full and add a stabilizer to protect the integrity of your fuel during the long storage season. Remove the battery and store in your garage or at least disconnect it.

  7. Check out your owners manual to make sure you have not forgotten any other mechanical to do for your particular boat model. Do not forget to take out all valuables either.


Check On Your Boat


Check on your boat now and then on the off-season. Make sure to carefully inspect the cover for tears that may be compromising all your hard work to store and protect your boat. Make sure everything is continuing to look like it is doing its job protecting your boat.  By developing a simple yearly checklist, with all these simple steps on it, you can make sure when the season kicks into high gear you do not have a nasty little surprise waiting on youu, from a careless off-season storage regime.

REMEMBER:


If you are new to  boat ownership or simply do not have the time you can always get the help of professionals like Texas Marine in Beaumont, Conroe and Clear Lake to painstakingly do the job for you. Make sure whoever you hire though agrees everything that you need done ahead of time.