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How to Store a Kayak and Other Personal Watercraft

Wondering how to store a kayak or other personal watercraft over the off-season? Here's how to take care of your watercraft and make sure it's ready for action again next year, even if it has a motor or battery. Take a look and make sure you are prepared.

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Clean and DryAPaterson/Shutterstock

Clean and Dry

First things first: Thoroughly clean your watercraft and get rid of all the dirt and any scaly buildup. You really don't want any type of debris to sit on your craft over the off-season. This is also a great time to add a layer of protective polish and to protect or restore lights and other components. Get to work with a few towels and make sure that your craft is entirely dry, inside and out. You don't want to store it with even a trace of moisture because of potential mold and mildew.

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Buy the Right Coverstefan11/Shutterstock

Buy the Right Cover

A properly fitting cover that is designed for the unique size and shape of your watercraft is essential. Take it off and put it on carefully and replace or patch it if there are significant tears.

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Take Care of Exhaust Pipessiwananpixel7/Shutterstock

Take Care of Exhaust Pipes

Close off all potential openings, even if you are using a cover. Use rags to block exhaust pipes, ducts, air holes and all similar openings. These are very attractive to mice and others pests, and you don't want to give them an excuse to move in. Just remember to take the rags out when you are prepping for the next season!

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Find Room IndoorsPhoto: Eucalyptys/Shutterstock

Find Room Indoors

When possible, store your watercraft indoors. Even if it's covered, keeping your watercraft out of the elements is preferable. Plus, indoor storage is safer when it comes to bugs and animals. There are many great garage/shed storage options here, including plenty of overheard storage tricks.

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Short on Space? Try Dry StackJT888/Shutterstock

Short on Space? Try Dry Stack

Dry stack refers to that marina space where watercraft are lodged above the ground, typically held together in rows. If you absolutely don't have the necessary space at home, this is another option. Dry stack rental space varies based on the marina and registration choices, so take a look to see if there are any additional costs, and what maintenance is involved. A protected and maintained dry stack can be a strong solution if you want to keep your watercraft close to the water and don't have options at home.

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Rent a Storage UnitRob Crandall/Shutterstock

Rent a Storage Unit

Not crazy about a dry stack or storage in your already-full garage? Think about renting a storage unit! This is especially useful if you are wondering how to store a kayak (or three) along with your paddles and water gear, which can all take up quite a bit of space. If you have several watercraft to manage, think about renting a unit to house them during the off-season. Storage units will keep them dry and come with important security. Average prices tend to be around $90 per month of storage, but vary greatly according to size and location.

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Use a Fuel StabilizereZeePics/Shutterstock

Use a Fuel Stabilizer

If your watercraft uses fuel, you need to make sure that fuel is ready to sit for a while. Traditionally people drained out all excess fuel, but this can be tiresome and tricky to do safely. A more popular option for modern water sports fans is to add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank to keep the fuel from separating or going stale. Ethanol makes this process a little more complicated, so research the best stabilizer for your fuel type before making a purchase.

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Start a Battery Plannikkytok/Shutterstock

Start a Battery Plan

If your craft has a battery, you will need to detach it, clean it and make sure you have a safe place to store it. Generally, these batteries should never be left idle in their current state, even if they are fully drained. The best option is a battery maintainer, or at least a schedule for frequent (monthly) charging cycles.