Whether you’re an old hand or a newcomer to boating, a list of things to do is always handy! During the winter months your boat may suffer some damage due to the weather but by following these steps you’ll be sure to minimise it.
We always recommend an annual end-of-season inspection, as well as top-sides cleaning and polishing, just to ensure everything is protected and looking its very best. But, there are a number of things you can do to protect your boat against rain, wind, snow and freezing temperatures. Here are our top tips for keeping your boat in great condition no matter what the weather!
1.) Be sure to wash your boat’s top sides and superstructure with fresh water. If any saltwater remains on the surface it will attract moisture from the air and won’t dry out properly. This is especially important if your boat is laid up with a cover over it.
2.) Are the decks clear, clean and dry? Any remaining water can gather and freeze around deck fittings – such as cleats, winches and along the scuppers – as well as around loose items like lifebuoys and life rafts.
3.) Unless you plan to visit the boat during the lay up period, or perhaps even use it for a weekend winter retreat, remove batteries to ensure they don’t get damaged by low temperatures.
4.) If you are not planning on using the boat, service the engine/engines according to manufacturers’ instructions (if you haven’t already done so during the better weather).
5.) Fill the fuel tank to reduce condensation.
6.) Take life jackets and other vulnerable items home to prevent them from degrading in the damp conditions.
7.) Installing a dehumidifier can be a wise and relatively inexpensive way of keeping your boat really snug and dry. If you have one in place, it is still important to ensure the boat is well ventilated. Poor ventilation can lead to condensation, which causes much damage, so minimising the likelihood of it forming is key!
8.) If you keep any expensive items on board, be sure to remove them! Don’t give anyone a reason to want to break in while it is locked up for the winter.
9.) Make sure sea-cocks are all closed.
10.) Cover all windows – this will help counteract condensation.
We hope our checklist helps keep your boat safe and dry over the colder months. Roll on spring!