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Avoid Disaster by Following These 4 Essential Tasks When Storing Your Boat

Isabella Blake | December 7, 2020 @ 12:00 AM

t Jack Rabbit Storage many of our facilities have large parking spaces for boats and RVs. These are safe and affordable and provide a convenient place to keep your boat, whether you need a small, 10x15 space, or a large, 10x30 space.


When you do store your boat, you’ll want to do it right. Here are four issues to avoid, and how to handle them.


Covering Your Boat


Our boat spaces are outdoors, but that doesn’t mean your boat won’t stay safe. It takes one step to make sure yours is safe from weather damage. That could be sunlight eroding your paint or rain causing mildew to grow on your seats.


That step is getting a cover made for your boat and putting it on as soon as you get your boat into your storage space. A tight cover designed for your boat type will go a long way toward keeping it in great shape for when you next plan to use it.


Cleaning Your Boat


It’s important to clean your boat before you put it in storage. Otherwise, dirt, organic matter, and minerals, including salt, can eat away at the boat’s exterior. Here’s the basic process.


Spray your boat down with fresh water. Use an ordinary garden hose, and avoid high-pressure water, which can get into areas that are meant to be sealed off. Give it time to set, which will help loosen the aforementioned dirt and minerals. As the water sets on the rest of the boat, wipe the windows down with a microfiber towel. You’ll want to get this done quickly because those minerals in the water can stain the glass. Regular glass cleaner, like Windex, is also good for boat windows, but avoid getting it elsewhere on the boat, as it can cause stains.


Next, clean the body of the boat with Simple Green or Fantastik and a boat brush. Put some cleaner right onto the bristles then scrub the boat’s exterior. Do not use concentrated detergents or dish soap! These can cause damage and aren’t great for the environment, while Simple Green and Fantastik are environmentally friendly. When you find areas with excess dirt and debris, clean them with a soft-bristle brush.


Clean fiberglass areas with wash mitts or microfiber towels. These areas can get scraped more easily than other parts of the boat, which is why they require special treatment. Clean stains and marks on fiberglass and gel coat with a soft bristle brush.


Once you’ve done this, rinse the boat off, making sure to focus more heavily on the areas where you applied any washing liquids. Rinse from top to bottom, and front to back. Wipe the windows down first thing when you’ve finished the rinse.


The seats also require special attention. Rinse them with the hose, then make a mixture of freshwater, ammonia, and hydrogen peroxide. The proportions are 180 mL of water, 15 mL of ammonia, and 50 mL of hydrogen peroxide. Remember to wear rubber gloves when you work with this to protect your hands. Mix these in a bowl, then dip a cloth into the liquid and rub it on each stain. Rinse the stained areas with hose water. You can repeat this process until the stains have disappeared.


Winterizing Your Boat


Virginia winters can get down to the low 30s at night, and freezing temperatures can cause serious damage to your boat. As such, it’s important to winterize it before December. There are numerous videos online explaining the process, which involves draining the oil and using antifreeze in plumbing systems. This is something you can hire someone to do, or take care of it yourself.


Taking Care of Repairs


Aside from covering, cleaning, and winterizing your boat, it’s important to make sure any required repairs are done. If any of your systems are having issues, take your boat to a mechanic. Some damage can actually worsen over time as the weather and temperatures fluctuate.


You, or your mechanic, should also check the various systems to prevent damage and avoid the need for future repairs. That includes filling up the gas tank and using a fuel stabilizer, changing the oil, checking on the electrical components, removing the main battery, and lubricating the oil shaft. You’ll want to make sure the engine is running smoothly, to disconnect the fuel line and run it clear, flush out the cooling system, and drain water from the engine. Finally, check the spark plugs for corrosion. Whether there is corrosion or not, use an anti-corrosion spray on them.


With these four major issues handled, your boat should remain in great shape while in storage. You may plan to leave it here over the winter, or take it out every month or so. Either way, remember to go over the steps we outlined before bringing it back for the longevity of your vessel.

Isabella Blake
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