If you’re not planning to use your boat over the winter months, then now’s the time to think about bringing it ashore and protecting it against whatever the elements have in store. Winter boat preparation is vitally important to reduce the need for expensive repairs in the spring. What you do depends on the type of boat of course, and it may be a familiar routine, but here is a reminder of some of the key points.
- Check the exterior of the boat by cleaning it, ensuring there is no cracking or any blisters. If you can do this a few weeks before you are due to leave your boat, it gives you some time to organise or carry out any necessary repairs.
- Check for small problems before they become big ones. Check things such as corrosion, broken seals, excessive wear and tear or loose connections.
- Cover your boat to protect it against the elements. If it has a cover, ensure that your boat cover is securely fastened and free of holes or gaps. If you can park your boat under a protective canopy or garage, this provides additional protection. If that’s not possible then try and store it in a location that would minimise wind exposure and bad weather, such as snow and debris.
- Make sure that your boat is securely tied down.
- Check your boat insurance policy for any conditions relating to winter storage, berthing or transit to make sure that you are properly insured.
- Refer to your boat owner’s manual for specific recommendations for your boat’s winter preparation.
Engine and fuel tank
- Remember to change the engine oil and the oil filter, which will help to keep the engine clear of corrosive elements.
- Check water coiling level and top it up if needed.
- Flush the engine with fresh water to remove salt, dirt and corrosion and then drain water from the engine.
- Top up the fuel tank to minimise fuel contamination.
- Remove any standing water and clean up any dirt or oil, making sure everything is dry.
- To prevent mould and mildew use dehumidifiers.
- Disconnect any water pumps and drain them of any water to avoid freezing pipes which may cause them to split and fracture.