How do I store a boat this winter?

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Teague
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How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by Teague » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:28 pm

Howdy all,

I plan to buy a boat. Yes, a hole in water in which to throw money, Break Out Another Thousand, two best days are when buying and when selling, and so on. I expect it to explode in a fiery ball right after purchase, slowly bleed me dry financially, and be the catalyst for a catastrophic lawsuit. All fine and dandy. Well then, I think we've gotten the preliminaries out of the way.

My question is not about the sure and certain apocalypse that awaits me through boat ownership. Rather, it's how shall I store it during the rainy season?

This will be a used 18-22 foot fish-n-ski, probably inboard-outboard (stern drive) sitting on a trailer at my house. I have no building which will accommodate it. It will have cost me in the range of $10K.

We have rain here (about 12 inches/year) and no snow. Minimum winter temps are periods in the low 30's overnight, exceptionally a few hours in the high 20's.

A fabric cover is fine for sun, but for rain, what shall I do? I have previously (another boat) tried a generic cover but that developed pools of water that, of course, made it into the boat. I don't want to shrink wrap it for the season as there are days during the winter when the weather will let me use the boat.

Would a custom fit cover with some sort of frame underneath suffice? Other thoughts?
Semper Augustus

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blueblock
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by blueblock » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:42 pm

I live on a lake and have a 16' pontoon boat. We have neighbors who store their boats on their property, most using that blue shrink-wrap to protect it from the elements. I find that ugly, and we don't have the room in the yard anyway, so we pay to have it picked up and stored. There's a choice between indoor storage and outdoor, and there's a range of add-on services. For instance, we have them tune the motor and detail the boat stem to stern before delivery in the Spring. Total cost is about $750 a year.

Bir48die
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by Bir48die » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:50 pm

I bought a boat cover for about $250 that fit my size of boat. They are plentiful on the internet. If you buy a canvas cover then make sure you ratchet it down firmly so water doesn't collect. Also you'll need to winterize your motor every year to the tune of $300.

Dontridetheindexdown
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by Dontridetheindexdown » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:54 pm

Steel carport for around $1200 in the size you need for the boat and trailer is the best option.

It will protect against sun damage far better, and far longer, than any fabric covering.

Boat will always be ready to go, just back up, hook up to trailer, and drive away.

We use those carports in several sizes for vehicles, equipment storage, and also for summer kitchen/outdoor pavilion.

They are cheap, long-lasting, and highly competitive with any other storage option.

The people who sell them on-line all use contract installers who do a great job.

Even the largest carports are erected in less than 1 day.

Just be sure you have a level pad (we use crusher-run gravel) for the installers.

If your pad is level, they will do an excellent installation.

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Kenkat
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by Kenkat » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:55 pm

If it is going to explode in a fiery ball right after purchase, you probably don’t need to worry about winter storage :D

killjoy2012
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by killjoy2012 » Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:03 pm

1) Make sure you winterize it, including anti-freeze for all water passages, tubes, cooling, etc. Otherwise you will be extremely unhappy in the spring.
2) Most people storing their boat outside, unsheltered, over the winter (exposed to the elements) shrink wrap it.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:21 pm

I made the mistake of buying a boat once. I learned. I live outside Boston so had to deal with both rain and snow. After taking half of my garage one winter, I stored it outside. The problem with just a cover is that as you say, rain will sag the cover, then fill it with water, either ripping the cover or dumping into the boat.

Solutions?

1: Cheap: Leave it outside with no cover. It's a boat. If the drain plug is out, it'll drain. The downside is that anything in the air will drop into the boat making it filthy. You could plan to clean it.

2: Plywood under the cover between the windshield and stern. This is relatively easy to do with a bow rider type boat. Wrap the edges of plywood with 1/8" foam and plastic so you don't rip the cover.

3: Best: Rent a boat instead. Between winterizing, insurance and registration fees, I found that $300 a day to rent a brand new 18 foot boat cost way less than owning. I owned my 18' Four Winns Horizon 180 inboard/outboard 4 cyl bought new for four years. My cost per year is estimated at $4k. My cost per hour on the water, probably $500 per hour.
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btenny
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by btenny » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:49 pm

Standard I/O drives do not drain the water when on land. Then that water will freeze and break the engine when Temps go below 32. So you have to put antifreeze in it and store it for the winter.

As far as covers you can put lumber braces under covers or shrink wrap to ease rain run off.

I think you could put a small lamp or heater in the engine area as a alternate to doing full winterizing . But that has risk. Talk to other boat owners in your area.

Good luck

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HomerJ
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by HomerJ » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:45 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:21 pm
3: Best: Rent a boat instead. Between winterizing, insurance and registration fees, I found that $300 a day to rent a brand new 18 foot boat cost way less than owning. I owned my 18' Four Winns Horizon 180 inboard/outboard 4 cyl bought new for four years. My cost per year is estimated at $4k. My cost per hour on the water, probably $500 per hour.
If you only boat 7 hours a year, yeah your way is better.

But people who like lakes probably boat more than 7 hours a YEAR.
The J stands for Jay

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HomerJ
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by HomerJ » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:25 pm

Teague wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:28 pm
Howdy all,

I plan to buy a boat. Yes, a hole in water in which to throw money, Break Out Another Thousand, two best days are when buying and when selling, and so on. I expect it to explode in a fiery ball right after purchase, slowly bleed me dry financially, and be the catalyst for a catastrophic lawsuit. All fine and dandy. Well then, I think we've gotten the preliminaries out of the way.
By the way, I just want to thank you for this opening paragraph.

It really made my day... :)
The J stands for Jay

123
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by 123 » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:05 am

Don't you have a garage? People fill their garages with junk, the boat will fit right in.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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lthenderson
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:25 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:21 pm
1: Cheap: Leave it outside with no cover. It's a boat. If the drain plug is out, it'll drain. The downside is that anything in the air will drop into the boat making it filthy. You could plan to clean it.
I have learned to put the plug someplace visible, like taped to the steering wheel so come spring, you don't put the boat in the water without putting the plug in first.

snowox
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by snowox » Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:45 am

I have mine winterized, Shrink wrapped and stored outside. They change the oil as well. You could easily as other said winterize it yourself and buy a good cover. I would suggest taking a couple cans and filling them with charcoal and placing them in the boat as well as this will cut back on getting any mold in the boat. Yes it works and works great.

Paddygirl
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by Paddygirl » Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:50 am

If you plan to fish and ski, pick a fishing boat with a 4 stroke fuel injected outboard. Best ones in my opinion are Honda and Suzuki, then Yamaha. It will be much cheaper to run than an I/O and if it has scupper holes in the back that are self-draining, you really don't need to cover it. Just clean it. No canvas, snaps, carpets, etc. Very low maintenance.

IMO
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by IMO » Thu Oct 17, 2019 2:42 pm

Teague wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:28 pm
Howdy all,

I plan to buy a boat. Yes, a hole in water in which to throw money, Break Out Another Thousand, two best days are when buying and when selling, and so on. I expect it to explode in a fiery ball right after purchase, slowly bleed me dry financially, and be the catalyst for a catastrophic lawsuit. All fine and dandy. Well then, I think we've gotten the preliminaries out of the way.

My question is not about the sure and certain apocalypse that awaits me through boat ownership. Rather, it's how shall I store it during the rainy season?

This will be a used 18-22 foot fish-n-ski, probably inboard-outboard (stern drive) sitting on a trailer at my house. I have no building which will accommodate it. It will have cost me in the range of $10K.

We have rain here (about 12 inches/year) and no snow. Minimum winter temps are periods in the low 30's overnight, exceptionally a few hours in the high 20's.

A fabric cover is fine for sun, but for rain, what shall I do? I have previously (another boat) tried a generic cover but that developed pools of water that, of course, made it into the boat. I don't want to shrink wrap it for the season as there are days during the winter when the weather will let me use the boat.

Would a custom fit cover with some sort of frame underneath suffice? Other thoughts?
Also like the opening paragraph!

Have stored a boat in variety of situations:
a. Indoor large shared facility that is temperature controlled
b. Indoor in non-temperature controlled storage
c. Outdoor underneath an overhead structured
d. Outdoors not covered by any structure

It looks like your opting for the last choice of storing outdoors without any structure, probably due to cost. There are various overhead structures one can buy, but often this is not practical due to one's driveway/HOA's, etc.

1. Winterize the boat, either yourself or pay someone to do it. Youtube is your friend and you'll see it's pretty easy. Takes me about an hour of time to do it and about $30 for supplies. While your area seems to be on the border for freeze conditions, it is never worth it to risk a cracking your engine block do to an unexpected cold period. Some will say you can just put a light bulb in the engine compartment and turn it on and that will be enough to keep it from freezing when you only get temperatures just below freezing. Don't rely on that, you could have a power outage, the bulb could burn out, etc. Even storing a boat indoors, one should not risk it (power outages can happen). Engine blocks can freeze in locations like Phoenix in the winter. Also, don't just open any water drain ports on the engine and not run antifreeze through. There are often drain plugs that are very hidden and you could miss one/two. Know someone who cracked his block because he missed a plug (and this wasn't the 1st winter he'd pulled plugs).

As part of winterizing, one will want to put fuel stabilizer into the gas tank. The topic on how what level to keep your gas tank filled is ironically not straight forward. Typically the recommendation is to fill a tank to full to minimize risk of gas phase separation (water developing). Ironically my Mercruiser manual says if there is ethanol in the gas to drain out as much as possible (goes against most other recommendations). Some say draining tank exposes seals to develop leaks, etc. In any event no matter what gas level you choose, make sure the gas cap is tightly closed and you might want to put some duct tape over it as a safety concern (for example, some kid thinking it's funny to open your gas tank cap).

I just re-read your post in that you'll use it in the winter now and then. If you not doing the antifreeze, I'd watch the weather reports and if in doubt, still take the time to run antifreeze.

2. Fill the trailer tires to maximum. Trailer tires hold up better regarding getting flat spots, fully inflating will reduce that risk. You can even occasionally (say monthly) move your boat a foot or two to move the tires.

3. Make sure you boat is protected from critters getting into the engine compartment. Mice can be a problem in many areas and they apparently like to chew wiring. You also don't want bugs/other things clogging any water line openings. I've heard things like putting mothballs can help, etc. Someone mentioned charcoal for moisture, that seems like a good idea. Also assure no water dripping in would get into your air intake by accident. I covered the air intake with some extra towels, to keep water vapor from condensing there.

4. Many people will have boats shrink wrapped. I believe it's about a $300 cost (obviously varies by boat size and local costs). Rereading your post, seems you won't be shrink wrapping.

5. Assuming your not shrink wrapping. I put a canvas cover on boat 1st, which included a adjustable pole to keep water from collecting on the main aspect of the cover. I took some extra steps to assure no water would get on dash/electronics under the cover. It isn't unusual for a canvas cover to start leaking and there are many areas when water can often get around the cover. Then I also went to Harbor Freight and got some very large tarps and put those over the canvas cover to keep rain/snow/melting snow from getting into the boat.

I will also comment, one must really decide about how much boating you'll do in the winter. It is unlikely you'll waterski in the winter (and who still waterski's anymore - wakeboarding/wakesurfing is the thing :D. You'll have to decide if you'll really be fishing out on the water when it's cold out. So I'd lean towards winterizing in case you choose it's just not as pleasant as you thought.

Hope that is helpful.

michaeljc70
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Oct 17, 2019 3:48 pm

I had a custom fit cover for my boat but I also threw a tarp over it to extend the life of the canvas cover and protect the underside. I tied the tarp down where I could to the boat or used bottles filled with water tied to rope if there was nowhere to tie to. It was stored at a boat yard so I didn't have to look at it.

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HomerJ
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by HomerJ » Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:57 pm

We have an outboard motor on a boat in an outside covered dock on a lift

The only thing we do is put stabilizer in the gas, and take the battery home to put on a trickle charger all winter.

The outboard engine itself is fine in the cold (but we stop driving it in October, so it has plenty of time for any water to drip out or evaporate before the freezing weather shows up).
The J stands for Jay

Topic Author
Teague
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by Teague » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:04 am

A big Thank You! to all who have contributed to this thread, with particular gratitude to those who put exceptional time and effort into some very detailed advice. :happy

As for what I will do: I like the idea of a steel carport, but I am having a hard time finding a place to put it without causing other issues. So for now, I think I will go with a cover supported by a plywood or other support to prevent rain water pooling. I will take to heart the advice about winterizing. It is rare to have a hard freeze here capable of cracking unprotected engine blocks, but it's not impossible. In fact, some years ago that very thing happened to a tractor left unprotected by a neighbor (water only, no antifreeze.) So I will take steps to prevent that.

Thanks again to all. :happy
Semper Augustus

dknightd
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by dknightd » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:10 am

Water is no problem. Just store it so the drain is downhill. Open the drain.

shawndoggy
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by shawndoggy » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:41 pm

If the boat is going to be laid up for an extended period over the winter (i.e. your aren't gonna use it), shrink wrap is mucho preferable to a canvas cover. Canvas is pourous and even if coated (i.e. "waterproofed") it will leak. Using a canvas cover day in day out in the elements is very hard on it too. Shrink wrap is waterproof and will keep the interior dry.

I keep ours at home in the warm months and store indoors in the winter. Even our warm dry summer weather exacts a big toll on our custom canvas cover. Our current cover is 4 years old but looks 10, just because of exposure to the elements.

As with other posters' suggestions, definitely winterize if there's any chance of it freezing where you live.

nydoc
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Re: How do I store a boat this winter?

Post by nydoc » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:49 pm

As soon as you buy it, sell it to someone with a garage. Boat will be stored for the winter. You thought you covered everything with your opening paragraph...😃

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