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How to properly store a boat

Owning a boat can be a ton of fun, but it does provide some challenges when not in use. There are a few different options for storing a boat to pick fro, depending on the situation and how much money you have to spend.
The least expensive method of storing a boat is keeping it on a trailer. It can stay on the drive way when not in use, and allows the boat to be taken to different bodies of water. There’s very few expenses when trailering a boat, but there are several special considerations. First, you need a vehicle that can tow the boat. Your car or truck’s owners manual will describe towing ability, and proper towing equipment may need to be purchased. There is also maintenance on the trailer itself. The trailer goes in the water to launch and retrieve the boat, so taking care of the trailer is essential for keeping it in good working order.
Rack storage is a good option for smaller boats. Storage facilities usually keep the boats in a small warehouse filled with trailer-like racks. When you want to go boating, the storage facility will get your boat down and launch it for you. When you’re all done for the day the facility will pick it up after you dock and put it back in storage. This method is convenient, but more expensive than trailering the boat yourself.
Having a slip at a marina is the most convenient way of storing your boat. It is also the most expensive. When stored at a marina, a boat is ready to go at any time. Just cast of the lines and you are ready to sail. For larger boats this may be the only option. Many marinas have facilities for caring for your boat and for boat owners to get together and socialize. Marina fees will vary by location and are often based on the size of the slip or boat.
Finally, boats in cold weather climates need special care for storage during the winter. There are several things a boat owner can do to make sure their boat is in top condition by the time spring rolls around. Drive the boat around for a little while and make note of any repairs that are needed. Winter is a good time to get these done. After the boat is hauled from the water make sure all the water is drained from the various pumps. Filling the gas tank and adding a fuel stabilizer will keep the fuel lines from freezing and rusting. It is also important to thoroughly clean the boat, inside and out, to make sure nothing damages it during months of storage. 
Storing a boat can be a challenge, but with the right options anyone can keep their boat ready for adventure whenever they need it. There are options for any budget and any boater, from the daily fisherman to the guy who only brings it out at family reunions.
photo credit: blue sail via photopin (license)