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3 Ways to Ready Your Marina for Winter

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Now that the summer season is over and autumn is underway, it’s time to get started on winter planning. In colder climates, this is when many boaters leave their vessels in your care for storage—and you need to ensure they’re secure and ready for next season. So, what exactly do you need to do? Here are three key things for boaters and staff to focus on.

FOR BOATERS

Experienced boat owners should know boat storage protocol, but a gentle reminder never hurts and can prevent mishaps later on. A great way to spread the word is to post a pre-storage to-do list in your common area or email it to customers.   

  • Make sure boats are cleaned before storing—discard all food from refrigerators and cabinets, dispose of garbage, remove all personal items, including clothing, towels, and removable tech equipment, and secure or remove cabin cushions. Critters like mice are known to burrow into cushions for warmth and breeding, so taking them off the boat will prevent any unwanted stowaways.
  • Empty out holding tanks at the pump-out station prior to storing the vessel.
  • Pump out bilge water before removing a vessel from the water.
  • Drain all water tanks and hoses to avoid freezing.
  • Store anchors and other gear below deck.
  • Provide marina staff with either key numbers or copies of keys, including those for cabins and storage if necessary.
  • Be sure to leave dock lines and fenders on board.
  • Add fuel stabilizer to your gas tank before storage to stave off phase separation. Ideally, you’ll want to add the stabilizer before your last trip to ensure it passes through the entire system.

FOR MARINA STAFF

Use RMS’s organizational features to order supplies and plan your staff’s maintenance to-do list in preparation for winter weather.

  • In cold climates, make sure you have ample snow and ice removal supplies on hand that are environmentally friendly.
  • When ice is forming in the water, use ice-eater pumps to keep water circulating around boats in your care.
  • Inspect rails and docks for stability and reinforce (or renovate) as needed.
  • Test backup generators in anticipation of winter storms.
  • Ensure heating units and water heaters in all common areas are well-maintained.
  • Check the power pedestals regularly to ensure they’re working safely for in-water winter clients.

USE DOWNTIME TO PLAN AHEAD

While your marina may still be home to winter boaters, if you’re in a cooler climate, your staff will likely be experiencing some downtime. This is your opportunity to get ahead on boat repairs, start marina upgrades, launch green initiatives, plan marketing for current and potential customers, and organize events for the busy season (such as summer sailing lessons and regatta preparations). By the time prime boating season arrives, your marina will be ready to impress.

Remember, your RMS marina management system can be your biggest asset for winter preparations. From easy-to-use maintenance modules to guest marketing tools, booking management and more, RMS can help your winter season be more productive than ever.

 

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