Properly preparing your boat for storage

Although it may seem as if all you have to do is take your boat out of the water, find a cradle, close the hatch covers and walk away, there's far more to preparing your boat for storage, there's much more to it than that. In this series of articles we'll cover what it takes to get your craft ready from the time you sign the storage facility contract until it's safely stored away. Proper boat storage, whether it is caused by the weather or seasons, relies on the proper steps. Those steps include:

1. Finding the right facility2. Finding the right pricing structure3. Finding the right level of expertise

This story will focus on finding the right facility. Finding the right storage facility can be settled quickly, if they have what you are looking for or it may take some time. That may seem like an oxymoron but it really isn't.

We know people and facility managers who have just the right attitude, pricing, attitude and expertise to say as Larry the Cable Guy says: 'Get 'Er Done!' quickly. At the same time, we know of another sailboat owner who, if you so much as breathed in the direction of his craft that you had to spend time finding and cleaning up the breath. Granted, that is putting it a bit harshly, but this owner was the type who made you take your sneakers or boat shoes off, if they might scuff his precious teak deck.

By the way, he spent more weekends in port oiling and preparing his woodwork than he did on the water. He was a bit anal (and that's being kind). This meant, though, that he went through more yards and owners before he found just the right one for his baby (maybe that's why his wife and daughter are no longer his she went back to her high school sweetheart after a couple of years of marriage and their subsequent split and the last we heard was very happy with a couple of kids by her new husband).

That, unfortunately, is the boatyard owner's nightmare, but most people are far easier than that. They just want to be sure their craft is properly handled.

In locating the right facility make sure that they are a full-service facility and not a facility that will just bring your boat into their lift area, put the belts around it and haul it out of the water.

If you find the facility you feel is the right one, you will probably have visited it, but take another few hours and revisit it when they are busy and quiet just to see their level of professionalism and commitment. If, for example, once all of their cradles are full it's not easy to find the right facility and may take you visits to several marinas or boat storage facilities before you settle on the yard that will handle your craft. Be sure that the yard has adequate staff to ensure that your boat will be looked after constantly and to make the facility secure.

Look into the yard's insurance paperwork, if they will let you, so that you now they have the type of coverage you will need and then ask their mechanical staff if any of them have certifications in mechanical work or, at least, have training in marine electronics, marine mechanics and boat storage preparation.

A reputable yard won't have any problem showing you any certifications and they will also have no problem with showing you their proof of insurance and proof of liability coverage. Be sure, too, that the yard's fees do slide. If you are storing a 38-foot day sailer and someone else is storing a 55-foot yacht, the pricing shouldn't be the same.