Spring Has Sprung – What Happens if I Take My Boat Out of Storage Early?

After a long, cold winter, when the air temperature begins to warm up and the days start getting longer, it’s natural to feel the urge to take your boat out of winter storage and get back on the water as soon as possible. Don’t forget to check your boat insurance policy before you do, however, as recommissioning your boat early may have an impact.

“In states north of Virginia, you likely are going to have a layup period in your boat insurance policy, unless you are a hardcore angler and keep your boat out of storage so you can fish during the winter,” said Newcoast Director, Boat Insurance, Jake Hill.

Many boat insurance providers, including Newcoast, offer a discount on your premium for the months that your boat is laid up in winter storage. A typical layup period typically runs from November 1 to April 1.

“If you decide you want to take your boat out of storage a couple of weeks early, be sure to notify your insurance agent. You will need to pay the premium for that period. Your agent can calculate it for you,” Hill said, adding, “The same is true in the fall, if you decide to delay putting your boat into winter storage past the start of the layup period.”

Before you head out on the water this spring, be sure your boat is properly commissioned for the new season. You probably will need to make an appointment with your boat service facility in advance since spring is a very busy time of year. Spring commissioning, including having your engine(s)’s fluid levels checked, inspecting all onboard equipment to be sure it is functioning correctly and your safety gear is up to date and in good condition, is just as crucial as having your boat properly winterized in the fall

If you do decide to get a jump on the spring season by commissioning your boat early, there are a few important cold-weather boating safety precautions to consider. While the air may be warm, the wind can be chilly and the sun will set earlier than during the summer boating season, bringing colder temperatures. Make sure that you and your crew are all dressed warmly. Wearing extra layers of clothing will give you the opportunity to adjust your level of comfort throughout the day.

In the early spring when the water temperature is still cold, it is essential that everyone on board your boat wear a life jacket at all times. Before heading out, discuss with your crew the procedure you will follow should anyone accidentally fall overboard, since hypothermia can set in quickly at this time of year. Keep a throwable life preserver handy, check to be sure your boat’s VHF radio is operational and keep your cellphone nearby in case you need to call for help. You also may want to bring along towels and a change of clothing in a plastic bag. You probably won’t need them, but if you should, they will be much appreciated by the person who falls in!

When the weather is fine, early spring can be one of the most enjoyable times of the year to take your boat out on the water, especially after a long, dark winter. By notifying your insurance agent in advance and making sure you take the proper safety precautions on board, you can enjoy that “sneak preview” of the upcoming boating season with confidence.

Newcoast is a leading insurance and finance provider in the marine and recreational industry. Newcoast offers competitive and customized boat loans and RV financing options, as well as tailored boat insurance plans and RV insurance programs with robust carrier options, industry-leading experience, and access to world-class partners. To obtain a loan or insurance plan that’s right for you and your boating or RV lifestyle, call (866)639-2627 or visit


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