Good chafe protection (top) can prevent shredded lines (bottom).
ing away from the road. Ideally, the wheels
should be removed, and the trailer should be
up on blocks. Not only will that discourage
thieves, but your tires will last a lot longer.
Check the jackstands, cradle, or
trailer to make sure the boat hasn’t shifted.
Boats over 26 feet in length should have
at least three jackstands per side. The boat
should be level so that water drains properly
out the scuppers and doesn’t cause stains,
or worse, leaks down below. Verify that jackstands have been properly positioned and
chained together to prevent them from being
pushed away from the boat. There should
be jackstands at the boat’s bulkheads and
supporting the bow. Look down the hull and
make sure that there is no deformation at the
Make sure the cover hasn’t been
tied off to the jackstands — a strong
wind could get underneath the cover and yank
the jackstand out from under the boat. If the
boat is stored on dirt or gravel, the jackstands
should have plywood under them to keep
them from sinking into the ground. If you see
any problems with a jackstand, don’t try to
adjust it yourself; contact marina personnel.
Once you’re satisfied that the boat is well
secured in its slip or on the hard, get
aboard and stroll from one end of the boat
to the other, on deck and below. Here’s
what to look for:
Examine your boat cover. Look for
the beginnings of tears, loose fittings, and
chafe, and make sure the wind hasn’t broken
a tie-down line. Verify that all supports for
the cover are still in place and in no danger of
shifting; any cover that isn’t well-supported
will accumulate snow and water, which add
considerable weight to the boat. If the boat is
shrinkwrapped, even relatively large tears can
be fixed with duct tape.
Look for any pooling water on the
deck or in the cockpit, which can stain
the boat, damage gelcoat, and seep under
fittings to cause delamination problems. If
your boat doesn’t have a cover and is stored
on the hard, get rid of the water as soon as
possible (use rock salt if the water is frozen).
Ask marina personnel to level the boat by
adjusting the jackstands.
Check cockpit scuppers and drains
for blockage. Boats stored in the water
are sunk each year because leaves or snow
prevented water from draining. Boats stored
ashore can flood when pooled water pours
from the cockpit into the interior. If your
boat’s on a trailer, make sure your hull drain
plug is out, the drain hole isn’t clogged, and
the bow is up so any water that finds its way
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