Keep your boat dry

Water is the element we all deal with, sometimes loving it and sometimes cursing it. But it’s always there and that means we have to deal with it in places we don’t want it — like in our boats.

Probably the most basic thing we can do to control water and moisture is to buy a cover for our boat and then use it all the time except when we’re fishing or when it’s in the garage. 

It’s a hassle to put a cover on and off. I know that. But I also know that it’ll keep your boat reasonably dry and reasonably clean when it’s on the road or when it’s sitting in the parking lot at your local ramp or fish camp. 

Every manufacturer I know about makes covers for their boats. They have the advantage of being specifically designed for a particular make and model. They tend to fit better, but they also cost a little more. There are other less expensive options, however. The big retailers sell aftermarket covers that’ll do a passible job. Just make sure you take the time to find one that fits your boat properly. 

No matter which way you go, buy one and use it. 

The next best thing you can do is make sure your compartments have drain holes in the bottom of them. If they weren’t drilled at the factory, however, be careful when you drill them. There are cables, wires, tubes and in some cases the gas tank under there. Unless you know what you’re doing it might be best to have a dealer do this. A mistake can be costly in both time and money. 

Another thing I do that helps combat water and moisture is to keep my boat in the garage with the compartment lids open. This’ll get most of the moisture out of them and avoid future problems. If your lids won’t stay open by themselves, use a short 1/4-inch dowel to hold them up. Another thing I do is open up my drain plug. That lets air circulate through the bottom of my boat. 

If your compartments are really wet, you can put a small fan on the deck and run it overnight. That’ll get most of the moisture out. And remember, it helps to unpack the compartments.

Some anglers — including me — use waterproof bags to store their things in to keep them dry. The cheapest and easiest are plastic freezer bags. They’re cheap and do a good job. The drawback to them is that they don’t last very long. Another excellent option is a new product from Bass Mafia called the Money Bag. They work well and are stronger than freezer bags, and them come in four different styles and sizes.  

Some boat makers put carpet in their storage compartments. Some like it, some don’t. There’s no doubt that it’ll hold moisture when it gets wet. At the same time there’s no doubt that it protects valuable equipment. I like it in my rod lockers for obvious reasons. I wouldn’t have a boat without it despite the extra work it sometimes requires.  

Despite all I’ve said so far your boat will get wet. Fish live in the water. Our boats run on top of the water. We tow in the rain, and it rains when we’re out there fishing. That is the reality of bass fishing, the reality of our world. Learn to deal with it. You’ll be a happier angler.