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For those of us in colder climates, close attention should be taken before winter if you store your boat. Schedule your haul-out date and decide whether you will store on your trailer or “on the hard.” Investigate the condition of the equipment you intend to use.

Many cradles used for storage are simply made of a low grade of wood screwed or nailed together. Most of them were never intended for multiple uses year after year. Cradles have been known to crack, separate, warp and rot. Any of these conditions place your vessel at risk of severe damage.

Some marinas use adjustable stands. When properly placed under the hull, perhaps adding support under the keel,
then chained together, these stands can be your best choice for storage. If you’re storing a boat outside in an area subject to hurricane force winds, additional care must be provided. Look into the possibility of using the tripod tie-down method with ground anchors as well as stands chained together. This method has proven to work well in high winds.

If you place your boat in rack storage, you still need to know what protection it will have during high wind conditions.

If you store your boat on its trailer, there should be an opportunity to move it to safety if a storm approaches. Storing on a trailer does not relieve you of the responsibility of having your vessel secured. Boats stored on trailers can encounter many problems. If stored near a waterway, a boat not tied or anchored down can roll across the marina and drop into the water; boat, trailer and all.

Many unpleasant events, especially in salt water, involve owners who pull the boat out, load it on the trailer and walk away. When they go to retrieve their boat and trailer, they find the trailer’s brakes, hubs, bearings or spindles have frozen up and they can’t tow their boat anywhere.

Prepare your trailer for storage; rinse the wheels and brakes with clear water, grease wheel bearings and coat in lubricant. It is best to lift and block the trailer off of the tires. Once set in its final position, the boat should be affixed firmly to the trailer frame and the frame anchored down. Remove all drain plugs. A canvas cover or tarp should be pulled over the boat and trailer frame and tied down with cord to avoid having it flap in the wind and tear. This will also prevent leaves from blowing in and plugging the drains.

Taking proper care before storing your boat protects your investment and prevents having to do a lot of work at the start of next season. No one wants a big delay when it’s time to go boating.

United Marine Underwriters is more than just boat insurance. Browse our Boats For Sale at BoatBrowser or our Lake Resource Guide at LakeBrowser or share your fishing stories and photos at True Fish Tales – the ones that did not get away.

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