Winter Boat-Storage Tips from Shattuck Dockside Detailing

‘Tis the season for shrinkwrapping, and no one knows this better than Pamela and Geoff Shattuck of Shattuck Dockside Detailing. The Shattucks have built a thriving business around the detailing and shrinkwrapping of boats, and fall is one of their busiest times.

We recently spoke with them about some of the services they offer and how boat owners can get their boat ready for winter storage.

BL: What services do you offer beyond basic shrinkwrapping?

SY: In addition to shrinkwrapping we offer complete detailing services, including buffing and waxing, bottom painting, interior and exterior cleaning, and teak and varnish work.

BL: You also offer a pretty unique service called “Ready to Go.” Can you explain what that entails?

SY: Our “Ready to Go” program is where we come to your dock slip and clean the boat on a regularly scheduled basis. We wash the boat, clean it bow to stern and generally get it shipshape for the weekend. It has turned out to be one of our most popular programs.

BL: Obviously, shrinkwrapping is a big focus for you in the fall. How much do you charge to shrinkwrap a typical 30-foot sporfisherman, a 25-foot center console and a 45-foot sailboat?

ST: A 30-foot sportfish with tower (full or half) and/or bridges is $15 per foot. A 25-footer is $13 per foot, and a 45-foot sailboat with the mast up is $20 per foot.

BL: Can customers trim costs by using the old framing from the previous year?

SY: Unfortunately not. The wood framing doesn’t really hold up more than one season, and it’s not worth the risk of it collapsing over the winter, so we just use new materials. Besides, it’s not a big cost factor.

BL: It may sound like a stupid question, but why should someone choose shrinkwrapping over simply leaving his boat exposed or throwing a plastic tarp over it?

SY: There are lots of advantages to shrinkwrapping. First of all, it keeps out snow, rain and ice, which, if allowed to build up, can damage your boat. It also keeps out debris such as leaves and pine needles, which can stain the deck, and protects the boat from bird droppings and dirt. Lastly, it keeps out unwanted guests, such as squirrels and raccoons.

Sure, you can put a tarp over the boat, but you don’t see many tarp jobs last the winter, especially in New England. And it’s very difficult to keep a tarp tight enough so that water doesn’t pond up somewhere. Also, the wind always seems to find a loose section of the tarp and tear it to shreds.

BL: What can be done to prevent moisture buildup under the shrinkwrap?

SY: Venting the shrinkwrap really helps keep moisture buildup to a minimum, and we offer that service. Damp Rid is a product that can be placed in the cabin to help absorb moisture.

BL: What should boaters do to get their vessel ready for shrinkwrapping?

SY: It sounds pretty simple, but you’d be amazed at how many boaters don’t bother to remove their stuff after the season. They treat their boat like a spare garage. It’s very important to remove any gear from the boat before you wrap it, like linens, towels and especially food. Nobody wants to find last year’s cold cuts when they unwrap the boat in the spring!

BL: What can boaters do with the old shrinkwrap after taking it off?

SY: We can remove it for the owners and take it to a recycling facility.

BL: What is your territory?

SY: We service boats from Newport to Boston, including all of Cape Cod.

BL: How long have you been in the business, and how did you get started?

SY: We’ve been in business for 15 years. We both started working in boatyards before starting our detailing business.

BL: Are you boaters yourselves?

SY: We enjoy boating—when we get a chance. We have a 1972 Mackenzie Cuttyhunk bass boat that we use for fishing in Buzzards Bay, but our work keeps us so busy it’s hard to find enough time to use her.

BL: We know the feeling!

Do you have any questions for the Shattucks on winterizing your boat?

Let us know in the comments box below.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks Kirby and Millie are key members of the Shattuck team.