Prep Your Clients for Off-Season Yacht Club Storage & Marina

Winter is quickly approaching, and that means that it’s time to prepare your clients in the northern parts of the US for dry docking and vessel storage. When your clients come to you, be sure to offer them these great tips for off-season storage.

Before They Start Prepping

Remind them that, even though it’s winter, they must protect their assets from fire hazards, theft, and – of course – storm and hard freezes. They’ll want to keep all of this in mind as they prepare their site and manage all winter preparations for their clientele’s boast to be stored.

Have a written procedure available so that you can train your off-season employees with the same standards and guidelines. Make sure that it covers everything – proper storage, boat transportation, marine forklifts – everythingthat your employees should know to make the off-season go well.
These guidelines should include local, state, and federal requirements that influence your policies. It eliminates gray areas and ensures that your employees fully understand how and why things need to be done.
This also helps when they may be dealing with special client requests.

Be sure that your storage area and yard are free of any debris or obstructions before your employees begin the lift-out process. Also, ensure that all of the employees that operate the marine forklift or mobile boat hoist are both OSHA certified and well-experienced.

The last bit of prep work you should do is educate your clients. They are usually very busy, and dealing with new boat owners who aren’t familiar with the winterizing process can complicate things. Recommend that they hand out a tips list and checklist for winterizing their boats. An awesome guide to hand out can be found at

Now that you’ve done the prep work, it’s time to get down to the tips!

Daily Inspections Are a Must

Regardless of if you’re using a self-propelled trailer, mobile boat hoist, or marine forklift inspecting your machinery daily is a must to ensure that they’re both road ready and safe for your employees to operate. This includes checking that the instrument panels and working controls are in good shape, that the fluid levels are good, that the hoses are good, and that the tire pressure is right. Ensure that your staff is following all safety protocol and that you have a fire extinguisher actually on the forklift.

Follow Proper Blocking Procedures

You’ll want to take into account what kind of terrain the yard has. Are there slopes? Is the ground cover gravel, paved, sand, etc.? Factor that into the condition, shape, weight, and size of the boat.
You shouldn’t use oil drums or cinder blocks for blocking purposes. Instead, ensure that the keel is supported on sturdy, well-constructed wooden keel blacks. When selecting these, wider is typically better as it helps to distribute the weight more evenly.
While jack stands do stabilize boats, it doesn’t provide much support as most of the weight will typically be on the keel. some boats even come with very specific requirements for keel support. It should also be noted here that there have been manufacturers that have warned against adding weight to the keel.

You’ll want to use at least 4 tripod jack stands per boat. This will allow for 2 on each side. You should put the jacks on key bulkheads. This will help to prevent high point loading. Different types of boats will require different support. For example, power boats will typically require more support under heavy machinery, fuel tanks, and inboard engines. Be sure to check that your jacks are the proper size for the boat in question and schedule regular checks for them during the storage period. This is especially important both before and after storms. Don’t panic about a little rain water – just let it drain through either deck drains or scuppers.

Sight along the keel and hull after you’ve blocked the boat to ensure that none of the jack stands are depressing the hull. You’ll need to check again after settling has taken place, which is about two weeks. Ensure that the boat is level to protect against gel coat problems, mildew, stains, and pooling caused by water.

The Right Way to Handle Rack Storage

Be sure that either the master battery is off or that the batteries are disconnected. To help reduce the risk of fire, you’ll want to strictly prohibit the following:

– Flammable solvent cleaners.
– Heaters with open flames.
– Leaving portable heaters unattended.
– The use of portable power cords.
– And battery charging.

You’ll also want to remove the following:

– Stove alcohol & charcoal.
– Kerosene.
– CNG & LPG cylinders.
– And portable fuel tanks.

Ensure that fuel levels are 95% or lower to help prevent fuel eventually venting onto lower boats.

Remove Personal Effects & Equipment

Warn your boat owners that they should remove all personal items, electronics, important documents, and other items that may be targeted by thieves. Ask them to perform a last sweep to ensure that they’ve removed all pricey and personal items.

These awesome off-season marina tips are provided by commercial marine producers to your marina managers and owners. This all but guarantees that you are not just protecting their business and reputation, but their clients’ vessels, as well.
Feel free to learn more about our commercial marine products!
Arrowhead also provides coverage for commercial P&I and hull, which include a variety of commercially used vessels, runabouts and sailboats, and rental boat operations for pontoons. We also offer a variety of monoline marine liabilities, ship repairers legal liability, excess and bumbershoot liability, and marine general liability.