While Florida may have mild winters, many of us will change our habits this time of year. For example, differences in weather patterns and climate may lead many Floridians to put away their boats.
If you’re planning on stowing your boat away for the winter, do so with care. Boat storage poses unique risks to your vessel. If you don’t store your boat with care, you may even face insurance claims.
Preparing Your Boat for Storage
During the winter, you likely won’t use your boat for extended periods. An unused boat, like all machinery, can face deterioration. That’s just a part of normal wear and tear. The bad news is that your boat insurance likely won’t cover damage resulting from wear and tear. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to protect your stored boat.
- Before locking the boat down, clean it from top to bottom. This can help ensure the features remain in good shape. It may also prevent contamination by pests, rust or mold. If needed, use pest control. Always cover your boat’s interior and exterior with durable covers.
- Take down and store your sails, anchors and other equipment according to proper recommendations. These items may have coverage under your insurance, but proper storage is still necessary.
- Remove electronics and all personal items from the vessel.
- Shut down your vital systems, such as your radio, compass or GPS. Test, service and replace these items as needed. If you must store these separately, follow proper storage guidelines.
- Perform maintenance on your engine, gas, rudder, lighting and other systems. Change the oil, clean and fill up the gas tank and replace bulbs around the vessel. Service your wheel and rudder to maintain operational integrity. Do not begin a new boating season without testing these items.
- Inspect your lifesaving equipment, such as your first aid kit, flares, life jackets, rafts and other items. Discard damaged or expired items.
As a last step, check and renew your boat’s registration, operating certificates, insurance coverage and any other qualifications you need to sail. This is an important clerical task that many people may overlook.
Boat Insurance for Storage
Even when you are not sailing, issues could impact your boat. Someone might try to steal it or a heavy storm may cause a tree to fall on the vessel. In such situations, a carefully-formulated boat insurance policy often helps.
Ask your boat insurance agent to include on-land coverage for your boat. Tell them where you will keep the boat during the off-season. Your agent can help you understand how insurance will cover a stored vessel.
If you have questions about boat insurance, Fulton Agency has answers. Contact us online to learn more.