Storing a jon boat correctly will help it last longer, prevent repairs and also protect your investment. You’ll find several great recommendations for jon boat storage in this article.
Before Storage: Cleaning
The first thing you should do before storing your boat is to clean it thoroughly. This is extremely important for saltwater boaters. Saltwater can cause galvanic corrosion of aluminum boats so it is essential to remove all traces of salt.
Freshwater can contain “aquatic hitchhikers”, non-native organisms that can be transferred from one body of water to another. In order to ensure that you are not spreading non-native organisms, the best thing you can do is a thorough wash before you store your boat.
Best Boat Cleaning Brands
There are many chemicals on the market today for cleaning jon boats. A good one is Star-brite’s Ultimate Aluminum Cleaner. This cleaner will remove any living organisms and will also remove algae stains which become harder to remove after storage.
Once your boat is washed and cleaned, inside and out, it is almost ready for storage.
After Washing: Examine
After washing, you should then do a thorough examination and look for any cracks, dents, or peeling paint. These are all areas of concern and can cause corrosion or more serious repairs later.
Fiberglass Jon Boats
If you have a crack in a fiberglass boat that is not fixed over the winter or over a period of time where the outside temperature fluctuates, the crack can become larger as contraction and expansion of the fiberglass occurs with cyclical temperatures.
When you are out in a fiberglass boat and you hear popping sounds, and what sounds like the boat cracking, that is the boat naturally adjusting to the temperature of the water.
Over the winter, or over the period of time that you are storing the boat, this also happens with the temperature fluctuations. Small cracks can become larger cracks so make sure that all cracks are properly repaired before storage.
Aluminum Jon Boats
Aluminum jon boats also expand and contract with changing temperatures but not that much. Still, it is a good idea to check for loose rivets and screws and fix dents before storage.
The biggest reason to fix dents before storing is that if you used the boat in saltwater, these are the areas that usually trap water under seams and starts rusting.
Peeling paint is another area where water can congregate and can cause corrosion over time. This is not a problem with fiberglass jon boats but can be with aluminum boats.
Selecting a Good Storage Area
If you are storing a jon boat outside, you should try to store it in an open area where tree leaves and limbs will not fall on it.
Wet leaves will stick to aluminum like glue and the tannins in leaves can quickly cause staining.
Upside Down & Elevated
Jon boats should always be upside down if they are stored outside without a cover. And, it is a good idea to regularly check on it and remove all leaves as quickly as possible after fall storms.
In addition to keeping your boat upside down, you should also store it off the ground. This allows air to circulate in and around the boat so that it will dry thoroughly.
If your boat does not dry in cold climates, freezing of water can cause expansion of seams which will result in more leaks when it is time to take it out.
Jon Boat Covers
A cover is a good investment for any jon boat. Covers keep wet leaves and debris off of it. When it’s time to take your boat out again it the spring, it will be clean and ready to go.
There are numerous covers on the market today for any size jon boat and some people just use inexpensive tarps.
Jon Boat Tarps
A tarp is better than no cover at all and will keep wet leaves and limbs out of your boat. Like a cover, a tarp will also protect any gear or seats that are left in the boat for any length of time. Before putting a cover on for long term storage, make sure that the inside of the boat is thoroughly dry.
Protection From Small Animals
If you decide to go with a cover and keep your boat outdoors, it’s also a good idea to elevate it with wooden blocks. Doing this has several benefits. It allows the air to circulate the boat and keeps the sides and bottom dry. Also, it doesn’t kill the grass under your boat or create an enclosed habitat for animals and rodents to use as cover.
Chipmunks, mice, rats, moles, and snakes can all find their way under your boat. And, if your trailer is close by you might find light wires chewed when you use your boat again.
As you can see, proper storage of your jon boat is essential. When the new season comes round, you’ll also want to get out there as soon as possible!