Are you thinking about purchasing a boat for summer use? Will this be the first time that you've owned a boat? If you've never owned a boat before, you may be under the impression that all you'll need to keep the boat ready for next summer is to make sure to moor it to a safe dock. While you may be able to simply leave it tied up like this during the summer months, you'll need to make different arrangements for the winter when you're not going to be using the boat. While not too complicated, boat storage can seem overwhelming to someone who hasn't used it previously. Some things that you'll need to do include:

Locate a safe storage location: Although you may be able to keep a boat in the water or in your driveway between trips to the lake or ocean, neither of these options are ideal for long-term boat storage. A boat in these conditions is going to be relatively unprotected. Winter storms can easily damage a boat, even if you've put a cloth cover on it. Instead, look for a location that is both dry and that has a cover over it if at all possible. The more you do to properly secure and store your boat, the more likely it is that your insurance company will pay for repairs if your boat is somehow damaged before you can use it next summer. Places like Acorn Self Service Storage are great places to start.

Thoroughly clean everything: No matter whether you use your boat in fresh or salt water, you need to clean it thoroughly before leaving it in boat storage for the winter. Any organic debris or salt residue that gets left on or in the boat could cause rust and corrosion. While a small amount of rust may not seem like much, the damage can spread relatively quickly and potentially result in costly future repairs. It's less expensive and also easier, in the long run, to make sure the boat has been cleaned as much as possible before storing it.

Prepare the engine: If you're not a mechanic, you may want to hire one to perform this step for you. Otherwise, you can look at videos online to show you how to do everything. Fill the gas tank, change the oil and coolant, and disconnect the battery. You should also disconnect the battery and loosen or remove any drive belts. Your owner's manual may give you further things that need to be done so be sure to at least glance over it before heading off to the boat storage location. Most storage locations likely won't want you to be doing any major work on your boat while on their property.