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Old 12-29-2018, 10:49 AM   #1
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Keeping a boat on the hard for a year and a half - Opinions, please

Morning all,

Would appreciate your opinions and guidance...

I retire in a little over two years. Based on our original timeline, we're about 18 months from buying our next boat. Timelines being what they are, we may have found one that is perfect for us now. Go figure, right?

It needs some work but it's all cosmetic. The boat is out of the water at this time and has a fresh bottom job on it. No blisters were found. Also, the hydraulic stabilizers were just factory serviced. My wife and I are discussing getting it now and keeping it on the hard for the next 18 months so we can take our time doing the interior cosmetic stuff, change the salt water heads to freshwater, install solar panels, etc.

What concerns would you have or what special attention would need to be taken to keep it dry for a year and a half? Keep electricity to it to keep the batteries charged? Turn over the engines once a month to keep the rings free? Squirt some Marvel Mystery Oil in the injector ports to keep the rings free? What wisdom and guidance could you suggest?

Yes, @titlrider1, it's that one.

Thanks for your help and thoughts.

John
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:31 AM   #2
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Don't sink on the hard...

The attached might be helpful. My office is nearby Green Cove Springs Marina where many snow birds hole up for hurricane season. I attended a few partial submersion events that occurred on the hard there that were entirely preventable so wrote this article. As far as I know they keep them on hand to give out to their tenants.
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File Type: pdf Long term lay-up article.pdf (77.8 KB, 269 views)
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:51 AM   #3
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bglad's advice is good particularly for boats where you cannot visit them regularly. But it sounds like you will be there routinely doing cosmetic upgrade work.

But do remove the garboard plug if you have one. Not sure I would close the thruhulls but would plug the outside with screen to prevent critters from nesting.

Many, probably most yards don't allow power hookups when you are not there. So when you are there charge up your batteries and they will be fine for several months. Leave the bilge pumps on particularly if there is no garboard plug and that is why I wouldn't close thruhulls. You will probably have enough juice to pump out any rainwater that accumulates until you can visit again and charge up the batteries.

If you can keep power connected, consider a compressor type dehumidifier.


Nothing particular is needed for a diesel that isn't run for 18 mo, but change the impeller before you start it up and prime the fuel system. Diesel left in the tanks should be fine.

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Old 12-29-2018, 11:55 AM   #4
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I would not be especially concerned about leaving it on the hard for that time. Have you been able to sea trial the boat?
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:56 AM   #5
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moving the engines a bit helps keep valves from sticking and reduces rust. Not necessary to run them. Plan on new batteries when you launch and start life without worries. If you do run the engines remove the raw water pump impellers and find any missing pieces. Not a bad idea to inspect the coolers while you have time. In the old days people put rags in the exhaust outlets to prevent moisture getting in I don't know if that dis any good.

Keep the rain water out of the boat and consider removing the hull drain plug so it cant "sink on the hard" . depending on where the bat is consider making some provision for controlling humidity inside.
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Old 12-29-2018, 12:05 PM   #6
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If you live nearby and will be fiddling with the boat during this period, I don't see any problem. Problems come when boats sit on the hard with zero attention.
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:02 PM   #7
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I wouldn’t be too concerned about the batteries since they only have about a 5 year life anyway. Even AGM’s. How old are they now?
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:33 PM   #8
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I wouldn’t be too concerned about the batteries since they only have about a 5 year life anyway. Even AGM’s. How old are they now?
Not sure of the age of the start batteries. The bow and stern thruster Barrie’s are quite new.
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:35 PM   #9
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I would not be especially concerned about leaving it on the hard for that time. Have you been able to sea trial the boat?
Not yet. At this point, we’ve had a lot of discussion but haven’t made an offer. It’s the first time we’ve considered buying a boat and keeping it dry for an extended period so we’re still exploring what would be involved.
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:48 PM   #10
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I tend to do 3 month cruises and then layup particulary during hurricane season, always had an excellent storage batteries around 10xL16 well over 1000amps. Always left my solar running around 4x250 watts (1000 watts) 12v fans running and the odd led light. Batteries all charged and ready to go upon my return. Always stow for severe weather nothing on deck, all vents sealed etc. Always insect bomb the boat upon return.
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:59 PM   #11
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If you have not bought the boat, you need it surveyed and splashed for sea trial. Amazing how many gremlins are hiding! You want to know about them before closing.

It will be costly to do that, but just a couple gremlins could eclipse that in cost.

If you close on it, flush engines with fresh water and put it back on the hill.
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Old 12-29-2018, 07:11 PM   #12
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Long term storage on the hard is common here in the PNW. We have special yards with dedicated power. I really like the suggestion of keeping a humidifier running at all times(this is good advice weather in the water or on the hard). Since you will be visiting the boat regularly nothing will be different than being in the water except you will be unable to start engines or run air conditioners. I would find a storage yard with dedicated power.

I thought post #2 ceartianly provided a great game plan for long term unattended boat storage.
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Old 12-29-2018, 08:46 PM   #13
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John: What boat are you looking at? Or is it a secret? If the latter, then I totally understand.
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:48 PM   #14
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If you have not bought the boat, you need it surveyed and splashed for sea trial. Amazing how many gremlins are hiding! You want to know about them before closing.

It will be costly to do that, but just a couple gremlins could eclipse that in cost.

If you close on it, flush engines with fresh water and put it back on the hill.
Oh, we’ll absolutely do a survey and sea trial... if we get to that stage.
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:48 PM   #15
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Long term storage on the hard is common here in the PNW. We have special yards with dedicated power. I really like the suggestion of keeping a humidifier running at all times(this is good advice weather in the water or on the hard). Since you will be visiting the boat regularly nothing will be different than being in the water except you will be unable to start engines or run air conditioners. I would find a storage yard with dedicated power.

I thought post #2 ceartianly provided a great game plan for long term unattended boat storage.
Good to know. Thank you, sir.
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:49 PM   #16
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John: What boat are you looking at? Or is it a secret? If the latter, then I totally understand.
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Old 12-30-2018, 12:05 AM   #17
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Perhaps you could store it in the water and get some use out of it occaisionally between now and retirement. It would give you a chance to get to know her gradually. Kind of like dating before you get married.
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Old 12-30-2018, 04:10 AM   #18
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I wouldn't be too worried about the boat if you prepared and maintained it properly.
I would be more worried about your health or other circumstances changing, or even your taste in boats altering.
There will always be boats for sale!
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Old 12-30-2018, 05:57 AM   #19
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A copy of the engine mfg big service and rebuild manual (Da Book) should have a section on "out of service for over 30 days " and advice on pickling that engine for a time period..

Usually an oil change from a warm engine , fresh antifreeze and perhaps special oil in the injectors will be a minimum. Some prefer closing off air intake and exhaust .Some require a volitle oil to prevent internal rust.

I would pay for extra blocking under the keel and extra jack stands. Use chain to go from stand to stand P&S as rope stretches .

The fresh water and waste systems should be emptied , the waste pump emptied .

The hot water tank can usually be drained & bypassed .easily.

After blowing out the water if you are in a cold situation the non toxic antifreeze is a help, but fill the system , as if it dries out it is rally hard to flush clean.

Spray the interior with anything that might stop mold .

Wash the exterior and wax the GRP.


The Garboard plug pull already mentioned is a MANDATORY item, unless the boat will be stored in a building.
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Old 12-30-2018, 07:02 AM   #20
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Perhaps you could store it in the water and get some use out of it occaisionally between now and retirement. It would give you a chance to get to know her gradually. Kind of like dating before you get married.

Or even better, don't just store it in the water... begin using it, too. From time to time, while focusing more on all that other stuff.

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