Sadly, for Many Boaters the Time Has Come to Prepare for Winter, So What Should You Do Now?

Sadly, for Many Boaters the Time Has Come to Prepare for Winter, So What Should You Do Now?

September 4, 2018 Safety sailing Sailing news 0

Looking forward to next seasons sailing already?

Outstanding! There are a few things that need to be done now so that your boat will be fit for action in Spring 2019.

Clean the boat thoroughly, inside and out, remove any vegetation and encrustations from shafts, props, rudders, hull and struts, wash down with a jet/power-wash and wax the upper surfaces. Whilst washing down look for any blistering, damage and cracks that may need to be repaired, you may see these blemishes better when the surface is wet. Thoroughly inspect on-board hardware, machinery, fixing points etc., clean them and where necessary organise any repairs, prevent issues like the spread of corrosion and take care of any replacements during the off season. Clean and repair any canvas or plastic covers etc, check out sails and maybe consider a new set for the Spring, there are some amazing products on the market and a new suit of sails will make your boat stand out from the rest.

Check for leaks – keep an eye on the strainer, valves or seacocks, or any other areas where you may think a leak is occurring, check it out now and make any necessary repairs.

Remove and Store everything that you can, for a start it removes the temptation from opportunist thieves. It’s unwise to leave all your stuff onboard your boat subjected to the elements during the off-season, plus it contributes to the gathering of dirt and moisture in your vessel’s storage areas.

Remove your lifejackets, dock lines, fire extinguishers, flares, fenders, ski-ropes and the rest of your gear from the boat, check them thoroughly – replace any damaged or worn out items and store them in a dry place over winter.

GPS/chart plotters, radar displays, VHF radios and other electronics that not fixed should be removed and the loose cable ends/connectors wrapped in electrical tape.

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Marine batteries should be carefully removed and stored in a cool, dry location off the ground. Brush clean the battery cable ends and place a light coat of protective grease on the cables and battery terminals. Check electrolyte levels and bring the battery up to full state-of charge every 30 days during storage. If your boat is to be stored on its trailer, mount it on blocks and remove the tyres to prevent deterioration that can occur from standing for long periods of time, and tyre sidewall cracking from exposure to sunlight, cold and moisture, and to prevent theft, if it is immovable it cannot be stolen!
Motors and OutboardsProviding your boat is kept in a safe place it is a good idea to fill the fuel tank to the top to prevent condensation collecting in the tank. Check with the manufacturers best advice regards recommended additives. If the motor is removable from the boat lock it in a secure dry place to prevent theft, tampering, and whilst your motor is removed from the boat give it a thorough check over to ensure that it is cleaned down and in good condition for the next season. Serious boaters will check it over again in Spring, however doing the checks in autumn allows for parts to be sourced and fitted well in advance.Boats with power plants built in also need to be given a thorough health check and made secure – there are many boat and equipment thefts, so remove any equipment that is easily removed and put in a place of safety, after it has been checked over.For those in the know about technical matters here are a few things that you can do: Change the oil to keep the internal working parts clean and corrosion free. Use only recommended lubricants, if you have a warranty using poor lubricants may nullify it as will fitting non-standard parts. Whilst hauled-up flush out the water-cooling system with clean fresh water to get rid of salty deposits, close the water inlet sea cock whilst you flush the system with the engine running. Once flushed thoroughly add a non-toxic anti-freeze mixture and switch the motor off. Before running the motor on the hard-standing make sure the boat is well supported and double check that the chocks etc are not likely to be shaken loose. For those of us who don’t do technical stuff, ask your boatyard guys to do a professional job for you, in the end it may well be less expensive! Tech guys, you may know the technical ins and outs of your boat, however it does make sense to check that your motor is in prime condition and that all seals and glands are well protected etc. It is good to have an objective outsider take a look at the boat maybe early in the season next Spring and be absolutely certain that it is in perfect condition, your life may depend on it. Dan Laurier Beaulieu, a fellow sailor, added some extra tips that we forgot to mention in our post …. *pump and towel the bilges. *drain the engine. *drain all fluids *bag the sails, and hang them indoors if possible. *tie down the mast. *crane out onto the cradle. *drain fluids again. *wax the hull to keep ice from sticking. *tarp over the cabin, and half the cockpit. *secure ladder to cradle. *stop calling in sick every day. Thank you Dan! A lot of useful information in few lines!!! Marine Forecaster PS: Check out your Marine Forecaster Free Global Weather app for boat yards, slips, repair shops and a whole lot more services where you are.