Winter Storage – Just In Time For Spring! Ok We Are A Bit Late.

This is right out of the Chris Craft manual. Make sure its on the frames.

This is right out of the Chris Craft manual. Make sure its on the frames.

Right before we found out about last weeks disaster in Jersey we were about to do a report on winter storage of your boat. The good folks at Antique Boat Center sent in this amazing example and some background on the photos. Since the mess in New Jersey, I can say that many of the boats were saved because they were stored right. Here is one example from Ohio that was not. Take it away Dennis..

29 Years in the sitting. what could go wrong.

29 Years in the sitting. what could go wrong.

Oh brother! I think..

Oh brother! I think..

Thanks Matt, The boat, 1957 Century Coronado,  originally sold new in Huron Ohio.  The original owners had it for one year , sold it to our customers father in  East Liverpool Ohio.  They used the boat on the Ohio River till 1985,  ski and fun.  The bottom was leaky so they decided to put it on the original shipping cradle and plan for repairs.  The son brought us the boat 3 weeks ago, the first time it has been off the cradle, 29 years.  This exemplifies the need for good support on wood boats.

Look closely, yes thats a indent

Look closely, yes thats a indent

Missed the frame by "that much!"

Missed the frame by “that much!”


Wet wood will conform to the shape of the storage trailer or cradle.  These boats spend most of their life sitting on trailers and over the years they take the shape of the trailer or the cradle which can damage the hull and change the handling characteristics of the boat. On page 12 of the Chris Craft Boat Owners Manual, it recommends 5 support points for winter storage.  Spreading the load points, adding load points will reduce high load areas that will become misshapen over time.   Thank you, Dennis

Captain Dennis Ryan

27 replies
  1. Rick
    Rick says:

    Looks like more math, maybe I’ll just store mine from the lifting rings. What could possible go wrong? After all they’re a factory installed item.

    • Ken Miller
      Ken Miller says:

      I hear sarcasm in Rick’s comment, but it raises a question: what would the effects be from storing hanging by the lifting rings? I’m in a shallow water launch situation under the boathouse, and the Corps of Engineers doesn’t look kindly upon excavating the lake bottom. Eliminating the bunks and suspending from rings to launch would make life easier but not at the expense of the boat.

      • Rick
        Rick says:

        Long term I’d worry about the rings holding month after month and then there is the issue of hogging of the hull. But I’m no expert so I’d love to hear other opinions. As far as the shallow water Ken I know every year I put my Cruiser (fiberglass) in its slip I need to run the prop while tied in place for a while to flush the silt out.

        • Rick
          Rick says:

          Over on Fire Island many of the bigger boats need to carve a spot in the slips using the same technique. Just don’t undermine the dock.

      • m-fine
        m-fine says:

        I would worry about it developing a sag over time. However, you could use the ring to lift the boat and slide the bunks in and out in fall and spring. You could also do your dredging at night if you are quiet. Shouldn’t take long to add some depth to a boathouse unless you have large rocks to deal with.

      • Alex
        Alex says:

        Hi Ken, not sure what water you’re on.

        Up in Hessel, the Corps has been much less restrictive of late. Part of that is due to the low Great Lakes water, I believe — the Corps would face incredible ire by not flexing.

        When we got our permit from the Corps for installing the new dock, there was extensive dredging of a new harbor included. There was no issue with the Corps.

        My impression is that they just want to know what dredging is going to happen, and that the undertaking will follow approved processes.

        If you do hit a roadblock, m-fine is correct in that there are always “quiet,” cash ‘n carry ways to get the job done. Dynamiting excepted.

        • Ken Miller
          Ken Miller says:

          Ha. I think government cutbacks have the net result of us being able to do whatever we feel we can get away with. What agent?!?!!. That being said, there’s the local lore of a helicopter picking up a dock and placing it in a guy’s back yard and sending him the bill. Did it happen? Who knows. I know one fellow did spend several months in the brig for cutting waterfront trees without permission in order to make his new condo community “waterfront” property.

          I have tried the technique of flushing the silt out with (another boat/another boathouse) the prop—didn’t have enough footings around the support posts to dredge as much as I’d have liked. Just thought I’d solicit opinions on how often or how long the rings could be used, or were intended by CC to be used.

      • Brian Flaherty
        Brian Flaherty says:

        The little capri that ACBS-PNW had on display at the Seattle boat show had been hung from the lifting rings for quite some time and they showed it. The straps had slowly worn almost all the way through!!! Like the others have said I would think there would be potential for the boat to sag in the center, unless you have a bridal to keep from developing any lateral forces.

  2. matt
    matt says:

    Many of the boats I saw this past weekend were on ORiginal Chris Craft Cradles. It was cool to see and they did there job big time.

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I still believe it would be best if my boats were stored in a heated pool all winter…and periodically started and putted around to keep the oil moving etc. I just haven’t figured out how to justify the expense to the other household members. That, and explaining to the kids “yes we are getting a heated pool, no, you may not swim in it” will likely not go over well. Hmmm.

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      Seems to me the boat would turn it into a nice therapeutic whirlpool. Might be covered under ObamaCare. Worth a shot. After all people get those walk-in bathtubs don’t-cha-know. You must have some arthritis or something that could be helped by it. 🙂

  4. Tommyholm
    Tommyholm says:

    Century shipped the boats on a shipping cradle. Good design for shippers to handle; many of the boats were shipped via rail or flat bed trucks. Some have made those cradles for nostalgia . Worst design ever for long term storage. If you can’t do Dennis’ math, I,d suggest one support under the motor mounts fore and aft. Most marinas do the three point, I’d rather have the engine supported. No More Snow!

  5. Bartlomiej
    Bartlomiej says:

    Does anyone know where I can find some info on a cradle for a 25′ Lyman Soft Top Sleeper. Maybe some plans or someone has built one before? Any information would be great! Thanks!

  6. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Your article today on “proper storage” juxtaposed to yesterday’s picture of Katz’s Marina catastrophe with boats stacked on top of each other makes an interesting dichotomy.

  7. Redbeardsraven
    Redbeardsraven says:

    When I bought my 1949 40′ DCEB it had been sitting on a cradle for some 15 years. I had to scrap the cradle and go to jack stands when I moved it. I had the same indents on the bottom where the boat improperly sat on the cradle. Not knowing how I was going to remedy the situation at the time I just put the boat in the water as is, knowing it wasn’t a speed boat and it wasn’t leaking I let it ride till I could find a solution. in two seasons of summer fun the indents have all but disappeared. along with the 3/4 inch gap I had in the keel joint. I never figured that could happen. It is true>>>
    the best place for a wooden boat is in the water. I love the mysterious world of wood and water.

  8. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    I’ve had the good fortune to visit 3 classic boat companies in the USA since I got this bug. Two of them have boats stored in racks made from scaffolding steel tube with the boats supported on small squares of timber. One at the front and two at the stern. Always looked very precarious to me but it seems to be the way its done.

  9. Cliff
    Cliff says:

    There is a restorer in the Columbus region named Matt Zimmerman about a month he and I had the same discussion about storing chris crafts and wood boats in general by the lifting rings. He told me a story about and original U-22 in a boat house that was stored by the rings since day one. Over the course of 50+ years the boat had a sag in the middle as one would expect the boat ran bow high when it was in use. When the boat was “restored” a few years ago ,the “restorer” put the curve back in thinking that was the way it was made. The boat is heading to Matt’s shop to make the correction so the owner does not have to sit on the seat back to see where he is going.

  10. Captain Nemo
    Captain Nemo says:

    They are called lifting rings for a reason, otherwise they would be referred to as storage rings:>). A boat will hog hanging on them for extended periods.

  11. Troy
    Troy says:

    I don’t know what all you little boat guys are talking about.

    I keep looking for “lifting rings” and can’t seem to locate them.

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      Probably removed by a previous owner who kept stubbing his toes on them. It’s the only reasonable explanation.

  12. Bill Hammond
    Bill Hammond says:

    I would assume that the chart above would not be usable for other years. Is there such a resource for other years? And what about size? My boat must have it’s lifting rings removed for stubbing toes as well! Mine is 36′ long and if there were measurements for my year, my length I’d follow them. Mine seems to be fine but I’d feel better knowing it’s right. So now I’ve got something else to lose sleep over until the snow melts and I can check it out!

  13. kim peterson
    kim peterson says:

    Just had a 1941 Runabout redone in Mi.. Brought back to it’s hometown in July in the rockies. Left it in a cold garage on it’s trailer for the winter in the mountains and tons of cracks are appearing.
    It’s very dry in Grand Lake, Co. Left out some H20 near by. Any suggestions??
    Thank You,

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