How to Store Your Boat Safely
Boat owners in Victoria may choose to store their boats for a variety of perfectly good reasons, such as seasonality, safety, and many more. One blessing we have is that, unlike in deep-freeze climates such as Canada, we don’t have to store our boats, but nevertheless we may choose to store them for other reasons.
There are many ways to store a boat, so depending on your needs you may find one preferable to another. Consider the following storage options:
Wet vs Dry Storage
The two biggest choices to choose from in storage are wet storage and dry storage. The former is on the water with the latter being on dry land. What’s the difference?
Wet storage normally simply means leaving your boat at the marina in the harbour. This is certainly one of the easiest storage methods since you won’t have to extricate the boat onto dry land and then unload it on a ramp in springtime (or whenever you plan to get back out on the seas).
The convenience does come at a cost, however. Marinas will charge docking and/or storage charges simply for keeping your boat there, so that will have to factor into the financial aspect of the equation. Moreover, although marina staff can keep the boat relatively safe, adverse weather conditions can negatively affect or even sink your boat. Even with safety aside, keeping your boat in the water will damage it over time.
Dry storage, for many Australians, is preferable. Firstly, dry boats won’t sink anytime soon. Furthermore, dry stored boats will not develop osmotic blisters from contact with the water, plus you’ll also have the opportunity to paint and reseal the bottom with copolymer ablative paints and sealants.
A form of dry storage, rack storage normally looks like a large warehouse whereby forklifts insert boats into ‘parking’ spots. Many also provide washing and shrinkwrapping services, as well, but the storage fees will be higher than if you were to leave it in your garage.
A sort of ‘halfway’ between wet and dry storage, boat lifts are somewhat rare but nevertheless to some boaters a preferable choice. The lift is essentially a winch located at the marina which raises your boat a meter or more above the water. Come spring or summer and you want to head out for an exciting fishing trip, all you’ve got to do is lower the winch and off you go.
On the downside, it’s pretty hard to paint or repair your boat in this awkward position, so consider it simply wet storage without the downsides of constant exposure to the water.
Some marinas and boat owners own cradles specifically designed to fit the contours of the hull, bulkheads, and keel for extended periods without warping or contorting. Marinas don’t typically have cradles perfectly designed for each and every boat out there, so instead they often use adjustable ‘jack stands’ which fit a wide variety of boats and can be compacted when not in use.
No matter how you store your boat, never neglect to keep the top covered and protected. The last thing you want is to prepare your boat for another season only to find a family of possums has now infested it, or a rotten smell has festered that just won’t go away. Keep the bottom protected with proper storage techniques, but always keep the top protected with high-quality covers for boats from Oceansouth.