Getting Your Boat Ready to Leave Florida
Even in Florida, winter means you likely change your recreational habits. You may settle in for a new season of activity that doesn’t involve ocean sports. If you own a boat, this may mean you need to put it away for the season. You likely need to make preparations to keep your vessel in good shape.
Boats require special care, regardless of whether you use them or keep them in storage. At times, storage risks can threaten a boat’s integrity as much as operations.
Keep Your Boat Insurance Active
Some boaters may think they can cancel their boat insurance during periods of non-use. This is not advisable. Boats could face damage risks even when stored.
For example, what if you keep your boat stored on your property? A fire might break out and destroy the boat. In such a situation, you might expect your homeowners insurance to cover the damage. However, homeowners policies often won’t cover damages to stored boats. You would likely need to turn to your boat insurance to see if it offers comprehensive fire coverage. If you don’t have active boat insurance, you may be out of luck.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your boat insurance every season. Make sure it addresses how you plan to transport or store your boat during the winter. Regardless of whether you plan to stay in Florida or leave the state, make sure your boat has coverage wherever you go.
Preparing Your Boat for Winter Storage
If you are going to put your boat away for a while, take steps to protect it:
- Inspect your boat’s engine and other internal systems. Make repairs to small hazards, and empty or clean the systems as recommended. Shut them down according to established guidelines.
- Clean and sanitize the interior and hull of the vessel. Cover and protect all surfaces. Also cover the boat with a tarp to keep it dry and safe.
- Properly store your anchor, sails, roping and other operating mechanisms.
- Shut down, protect or remove all digital or electronic equipment.
- Keep the boat in a locked, monitored area. This can help reduce theft risks.
Safe storage can help insure that you can hit the water with a well-functioning boat when spring rolls around. It can also help prevent residual boat damage for occurring while stored. Damage resulting from wear and tear might not have coverage from boat insurance.