10 Tips for Better Winter Storage

Welcome to Winter.

For some of us in the northern hemisphere that means time to put away our rowing equipment until next season. That also means, for some of us, that our equipment won’t look quite the same or row quite the same in the Spring as it did when we put it away this Fall, due to damage that occurred while in storage.

Storage can be hard (very hard) on rowing equipment. In fact some drastic, devastating, and really unpleasant things can happen to rowing equipment when it is stored.

Preparing to store rowing equipment for an extended period (more than a week) necessitates that you first take a few important steps. Why? So your equipment survives the storage and is ready to row another day.

In my book Nuts and Bolts Guide to Rigging, I detail some of the steps you can take to make your storage safer for your equipment. Here is a condensed version of ten suggestions that I make in the book.

  • Step 1: Take active steps to prevent any fires, including having a site visit by a Fire Marshall, and/or insurance agent.
  • Step 2: Store all equipment out of direct sunlight.
  • Step 3: Wash and dry all equipment, especially those made of naturally materials, completely before storing.
  • Step 4: Check storage site for evidence of insects and rodents.
  • Step 5: Make repairs on equipment before storing.
  • Step 6: If the temperature drops well below freezing, store outboard motors in heated areas, or make sure to drain all water from the engines.
  • Step 7: Remove batteries from all electrical items (e.g., flashlights, megaphones) except those in which the manufacturer has sealed in the battery in, such as in a Cox-Box.
  • Step 8: Store equipment only in areas that are dry, well ventilated, and do not experience drastic temperature extremes or are prone to flooding.
  • Step 9: Clean up all trash and waste areas. They can be potential fire hazards and attract uninvited guest of the four legged variety.
  • Step 10: Take proper security measures. Here you are looking to thwart uninvited guests of the two legged variety.

There you have it. Some pretty simple steps that help make your Spring rowing get off to a better start, and with a lot less surprises.

If you’ve got other suggestions, please send them my way.