There’s a popular saying among fishermen and avid boaters: “Make friends with someone who owns a boat, but never own one yourself.” Simply put, owning a boat can be time consuming and expensive.

One of the ways, however, that you can minimize the cost of owning a boat is to make sure you store your boat properly. These steps will show you how:

Step # 1: Motor Maintenance

Preparing your outboard motor for an idle season out of the water should be your primary boat storage concern:

  • Fresh Water Flush: you can achieve this process with a large container of fresh water or a flushing attachment. The least expensive and most efficient method though is probably the former. Start by filling up a plastic, heavy-duty, 55 gallon trash barrel with freshwater. It’s important to position the trash barrel so that you can lower your motor into the container after you’ve filled it with water.

  • Run to Empty: gasoline can corrode hoses, fittings, and other integral components of your motor. Thus, when you flush your motor, you should run the engine until it runs out of gas. To ensure that you get every last drop of gasoline out of your lines, you should shut off the gasoline supply near the end of the process to create positive pressure in your fuel lines.

  • Hot Oil Change: the last time that you have your boat in the water for the season, you should change your oil and oil filter while the engine is still warm. Changing the oil while everything is still hot makes it more likely that particulates and other detritus is viscous, which makes it more likely for the gunk to drain when you pull your oil plug.

Step # 2: Protection

Many boaters don’t have the luxury of storing their boats in a garage or covered carport.

  • Keep Under Wraps: unless you’re able to store your boat in a draft-free, completely enclosed environment, you should always keep your boat entirely under wraps. Boat lift covers and other tight-fitting covers are your best option. The key to covering your boat is to make sure that everything from bow to stern is covered snugly. Bungee-cords or tow straps will help keep your cover in place.

  • Scrub your Hull: even gentle boating can put stress on your hull. From water deposits to soot accumulated during the towing process, it’s important to give your hull a good scrubbing before storing your boat. A coarse bristled brush dipped in a simple solution of one gallon of water mixed with two tablespoons of dish soap makes the scrubbing process efficient and relatively easy.