Here in the Pacific Northwest a lot of boat owners go South for the winter to those warmer temperatures. Leaving the boat unattended for months at a time is not a very good idea so a lot of these boat owners are now choosing to put the boats in dry storage or what we call “on the hard".
There are lot of good things about doing that and number one is the cost. It’s about half as much as leaving the boat in the water. And even with the added cost of launch and retrieval it still saves a considerable amount of money. The other thing is the boat can’t take on water and can’t sink. More secure because it can’t be moved. And the wind can’t blow it into the dock and flatten that fender or put a big scratch that wasn’t there before. There are some more good things about it.
There are also some things we’ve learned that are not so good. One is the normal hull of a boat is designed to be supported by it’s full weight. Not just sitting on padding in strategic locations. If the boat is not cradled properly, or even if it is, we have found the hull actually changes shape. This can make the engines and shaft out of align. It can make doors hard to open or impossible to open and cabinets get stuck. So, when you put the boat back in water will it realign, the answer is usually yes. And the engines will go back and align even if it takes a few days to do that. Then one of the other problems we have found by having a boat out of the water is the bottom paint loses life. It’s designed to be wet all the time and when it drys out it has a tendency to die and we’ve even seen it flake off while it’s sitting there in the winter time. The other thing is the boat has to be winterized very well. All the water drained. Strainers drained or treated. Everything that could freeze will freeze if the boat is out of the water. Also, the electrical bill will be somewhat higher because it’s harder to heat a boat that is sitting high and dry with no water around it to help.
You have to really weigh the options. You can in fact shrink wrap the boat or completely cover it with plastic cover. You can cover it with canvas. There even some inside heated storage which is really nice, but it’s quite expensive. Weigh your options, make a decision, and go with it. It’s a lot easier to leave it unattended if it’s out of the water, but there are some drawbacks.
Captain Galen Tyler