Boat Winterisation | Ready For Winter?
Winter is a bad time for boats and yachts, frequent frosts, storms and lack of use can cause a great deal of damage. If you haven't already prepared your boat for the winter months, now is the time to consider protecting your boat to ensure that when there's an unexpected warm spell in the spring, the boat is ready to make the most of it. Full mechanical winterisation will help protect your engine, its controls and electrics, from damp corrosion and damage from frost. For the domestic side of things, it is important to stop frost from getting at the plumbing, and the damp from creating nasty smells, and hard to remove mould marks that build up on all the soft furnishings and headlining.
Gale force winds & freezing weather are a timely reminder to check that your boat is ready for the winter. Firstly, you need to ensure your boat is secure. Whether stored on a trailer or afloat on the pontoon, there are a couple of things to remember.
Use the list below as a checklist of items in helping ensure that your boat is comprehensively prepared:
- Yachts lines are best secured 'tight' to prevent 'snatching'.
- Appropriate rope should be used to secure your vessel and if possible double up on your lines.
- Regularly check the condition of your lines especially for chafing and signs of parting.
- An adequate number and size of fenders should be used and secured appropriately.
- Tie your fenders to the strongest available point (i.e. toe rail or base of stanchion).
- Use offside fenders in case of any failure of a mooring line and vessels coming in to contact with one another.
- Consider lowering your spray hood and lashing it down.
- Turn your vessel to face the prevailing wind.
- Make sure all covers/spray dodgers are secured and are in good condition.-
Consider removing covers and dodgers.
- Open day boats should have fully working bilge pumps or should be regularly checked and if required bailed.
- Make sure there is adequate slack on electrical leads to prevent damage to towers and leads.
- Make sure halyards are well secured and not allowed to repeatedly strike against the mast.
- Make sure sails are well secured to prevent them working loose and flogging, especially roller reefing systems.
Winterising Your Boat
The Engine and Drive System - We recommend that you should carry out an annual service in the autumn at the same time as winterizing the engine. This is effective at preventing corrosion and springtime problems. It is advisable to also treat your fuel system as prolonged periods of stagnation can affect the fuel quality. Many choose to empty tanks. also bear in mind a tank with little fuel in it will produce more condensation than a full one.
Below Deck- We recommend that you remove all soft furnishing from the boat as these will attract damp that will lead to mould. At the very least, store mattresses and seat cushions vertically to allow air to circulate around them and keep the damp to a minimum. Consider some form of dehumidification - if an electric dehumidifier is not practical, use the salt crystal type products which wick moisture from the air by chemical means and are relatively inexpensive. It is advisable to drain your water tanks and pipes and check all domestic electrics - check your batteries for charge and capacity and remember that they work far more inefficiently in colder temperatures so will need to be in good condition.