The last time you run your boat, change your oil for spring, flushing the crankcase thoroughly. Don't let old oil stand in the engine over the winter. If you're operating in salt water, run fresh water through the water jackets. Drain jackets thoroughly. Then fill the cylinder block with alcohol, kerosene or permanent antifreeze. Some shipyards advise using the old oil you drained from your engine, or fuel oil. Then pour a little light engine oil (No. 10 or 20) in each cylinder through the spark plug hole and turn over the engine to lubricate the walls and guard against corrosion.
Prices vary tremendously from one part of the country to another. In most shipyards, hauling costs about $1 to $3.50 per foot of over-all length for outside storage, up to $8 a foot for inside storage. For a 28-footer, count on a day's work for lay-up at labor costs of about $2 to $4 an hour. Painting bottom and topsides of a 28-footer ranges from $115 to $200. In some yards, you can paint topsides yourself. There are other miscellaneous charges for lockers. It's an expensive job, but it's worth it. If you belong to a yacht club, you may get help to haul and store your boat. It costs anywhere from $5 to hundreds per year to join. You'll do most of the lay-up work yourself, which will save you money. Small boat yards are still cheaper. They'll haul and store for as little as $10 to $20, but many are unreliable; a few are good.
Courses and books
During the winter, you can enrich your knowledge with courses given by the U.S. Power Squadron or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. They are virtually free and give excellent instruction in boat handling, navigation and seamanship. Courses are given all over the country and they are well worthwhile. For lay-up details, some insurance companies offer decommissioning pamphlets, and for long winter nights buy a copy of Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling by Charles F. Chapman (Motor Boating, $4), the bible for small boat owners.
See you on the water next spring!