Storage ashore

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 10, 2005

Last week’s column started the discussion on getting your boat ready for the winter. We covered the basics including the engine, fluids and equipment. This week we look at how one stores a boat ashore. Even in winters like those of

Virginia, having a good winter plant is essential.

Before actually committing to a special winter plan you need to ask yourself a few questions. If you have decided to pull the vessel out of the water, this is an important step in the decision making process. Next you need to decide if your vessel should be stored on a trailer next to your home or will it be stored along with several others in a storage facility? If you chose one option of the other are their specific considerations?

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One great location for outstanding information when making storage ashore decisions is the BoatUS &uot;Boat Tech&uot; Web site. BoatUS, as many of you know from reading this column, is one of my favorite web sites for information. The Boat Tech link provides detailed information on specific subjects – just like you would expect from a manufacturer’s technical manual. The specific site is http://www.boatus.com/boattech/winterize.htm.

I have to tell you, I am a big believer in storing your boat in a storage facility, vice on a trailer. Some of the storage facilities we have locally in Hampton Roads are top-notch operations, who will ensure that your investment is securely protected from the elements. Storing a boat on a trailer next to your home, despite the best of preparation still exposes it to the elements. Think back to the ice and sleet last year. If you store the vessel in a facility you have a much better chance that your boat will be ready to go when you are ready.

The boatus.com web site provides something else to think about, &uot;storage ashore may also be less expensive over the life of a boat, since a hull surrounded by air for several months each winter is less likely to develop blisters than a hull that remains in the water. These blisters, the fiberglass equivalent of rot, occur on many boats when water soaks into the laminate below the waterline.&uot;

The same site adds one note of caution: &uot;the vast majority of the claims in temperate states involved boats that were being stored ashore. Since water retains heat longer than air, boats surrounded by air are more vulnerable to a sudden freeze than boats surrounded by water. Even a brief cold spell that lasts only a night or two can do considerable damage. In temperate states, boat owners must winterize engines and freshwater systems, especially when boats are stored ashore. In deep freeze states, boats stored ashore must be winterized earlier than boats stored in the water.&uot;

Good information as all of us get ready for winter. Until next week…Boat Safe, Boat Smart and to all our Veterans, on Friday, Happy Veteran’s Day.

Joe DiRenzo III is a retired Coast Guard Officer and former cutter Commanding Officer. A nationally published expert on port security and maritime terrorism he has written the News-Herald Safe Boating column for just under five years.