Nothing beats lingering on the water in those lazy days of summer, but all too quickly it’s time to pack up the kids’ backpacks and head to the bus stop instead of the boat dock. As the days grow shorter, it’s time to start preparing your boat for the off-season – an annual process that likely should involve marine vinyl repair.
Technicians with Creative Colors International (CCI) report one of the biggest complaints they get come springtime is boats that are pulled out of storage with mold and mildew — resulting from poor end of season maintenance and lackluster storage practices. Once it starts, it’s hard to stop, so moisture control is critical.
Here are five tips from our marine pros on restoring your boat interior and preparing it for the off-season.
- Clean, Clean, Clean
It’s all fun and games until it’s time to prep the boat for storage. Between the spills, the sand, and the tree sap, the dirt and grime of boat life settles into every nook and cranny. A thorough, deep clean from bow to stern should be your first step. That includes decluttering and removing trash, coolers and any boat accessories that could become places for critters to nest and hide in the off-season. Simple dish soap and water with cloths and soft bristle brushes, or toothbrushes, if necessary, does the trick for most vinyl, canvas or carpet surfaces.
- Dry it Out
We cannot overstate the importance of completely drying out your boat before storing it for the season. After a thorough wash and rinse, plan on a few days to let everything dry out. Open the engine hatch and flip up the cushions for maximum airflow.
- Manage Moisture
Did we mention how important it is to get rid of as much moisture as possible? The number one question we hear from boaters in the spring is what can we do to get rid of mold and mildew that settled in over winter? The answer is, not much. Ideally, your boat can be stored in a heated facility, but even if you are keeping it outside and using a strong boat cover there are things you can do to manage moisture. Boat vents, dehumidifiers or bags of moisture absorbing pellets can be placed under the cover to keep your vessel dry.
- Beware of Cold-Crack
Extended exposure to frigid temperatures can cause vinyl to become so hard and brittle that it cracks. If you buy your boat new, you will be able to choose marine vinyl that has a cold-crack rating that suits your climate. However, if you buy it used or move to a new climate, cold-crack may become an issue for you. Bring any vinyl that is not sewn into the boat indoors. Protecting your vinyl from cold-crack is another good reason to store your boat in a heated area, if possible.
- Make Repairs
It is not uncommon during the course of a normal boating season to end up with scratches, scuffs, rips or tears. The fix could be as simple as a minor touch-up or a more invasive surgical procedure. Regardless, calling out a CCI technician, who can meet you on-site to make repairs before the boat goes under wraps, ensures the problem doesn’t get worse over the fall and winter. Repairing and restoring your boat interior at the first sign of trouble can also save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the replacement cost.
With a little TLC, a lot of elbow grease, and superior customer service from CCI, you can set yourself up for smooth sailing for the start of the next boating season.
Learn more about what we can do for your boat before you store it for winter so it’s ready for action next Spring here – https://www.wecanfixthat.com/industries/marine/.