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Winter Storage for your Boat

The season is coming to an end and it’s time to start thinking about winter storage for your boat. There are many different options to choose from, from the luxurious heated storage shed to the time honoured ‘self-storage’ on a trailer in the driveway.  Here’s a link to Ontario Discover Boating that outlines some of the storage alternatives to consider.   Discover Boating Storage Alternatives.

This being said, you can spend a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of storage options but, as an insurance guy, I can tell you things happen regardless of where you store your boat. The best thing you can do is use common sense when making your decision.  Don’t sign a contract until you check the place out, referrals are great and don’t leave your boat there if you get a bad feeling. There are a lot of facilities offering the service so take your time and make sure you are comfortable with your decision.

Once you’ve chosen your method of storage it’s time to get the boat ready for bed. Google ‘Winter Storage Checklist’ and you will get a myriad of checklists outlining the nitty gritty details of winter preparation.  Again, I prefer the common sense approach. Here’s my list – short, simple and straightforward.

1. Professional Winterization – We all love to save money but chances are, if you aren’t an electrician, you wouldn’t re-wire your house.  The same stands for your boat.  The professionals are trained and experienced so take advantage of their knowledge and sign on a professional. Not only that, the vast majority, if not all, insurance companies require professional winterization.

2. Remove Valuables – Nothing attracts thieves more than a quick grab so don’t tempt them.

3. Remove portable items like life jackets, paddles etc.  – It isn’t just valuables that attract unwanted attention and I don’t just mean thieves.  Raccoons love life jackets.

4. Give your boat a good clean – Nothing says spring like last summer’s coffee cups!

5. Lock and secure boat, motor and trailer – Again, a thief’s quick grab is your quick loss.  As a side note, check the requirements of your insurance policy. Some insurance companies have very restrictive policies that require the installation of specific locking devices or even storage only in a locked building. If these requirements are not met they may decline a claim.

6. Check on your baby periodically through the winter.

Winter storage isn’t something to worry about and it doesn’t have to be complicated – it’s a natural part of boating in Canada. Once your boat is tucked safely away, sit back and start dreaming about next summer’s great memories.

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