Getting your boat ready for winter

Winter Boat With summer a fast-fading memory it’s time to take your boat out of the water and get it ready for winter. Boats suffer more wear and tear when they are idle (moving parts need to be kept moving) and the harsh winter weather only makes matters worse. Taking your boat off the water provides the perfect opportunity to undertake essential maintenance, which will increase your boat’s lifespan, and mean that you’re ready to get going at the start of spring. 

Change the oil Water has a habit of getting into places where it isn’t welcome, and if it gets into your engine; it can cause serious damage. To safeguard against corrosion the oil should be changed every year and the oil filter replaced. If the drained oil has a ‘milky’ appearance; it’s a sign of significant water ingress and you’ll need to get to the bottom of the problem starting by checking your seals.

Fill-up with fuel Air in your fuel tank combined with cold weather can cause condensation to build-up leading to corrosion; so make sure you’re tank is fully topped-up.

Disconnect batteries If you neglect your batteries they will quickly drain and eventually die. It’s best to remove them to dry storage, check the terminals for signs of corrosion, and charge them every 4-6 weeks.

Drain all water Disconnect water pumps, empty water tanks and drain pipes (leaving taps open) to prevent from freezing.

Remove soft furnishings Cushions and curtains attract mould and mildew and should be stored somewhere dry over the wet winter months; it’s also the perfect opportunity to give them a good wash.

Encourage ventilation Keep the air circulating by opening cupboards, doors and hatches.

Check the outside Carefully inspect the hull looking for signs of damage or wear. Structural repairs are infinitely easier on dry land and boatyards will be happy to undertake work in the quieter winter months. Give the hull a thorough clean, wax and polish before putting back on the water.

Check the inside Work your way from bow to stern checking everything from fuses to fuel lines for signs of wear and tear. Remove anything that won’t cope with damp (including electrical appliances and safety equipment) and give the inside a thorough clean.

Get covered-up Most boats will be stored outdoors over winter and you’ll need a durable cover to keep out the worst of the weather. It’s also worth temporarily sealing any ports (such as the exhaust) to stop any unwelcome visitors getting in.

Protect and lubricate Once everything is clean and dry use a water displacing lubricant such as WD-40 to keep the damp out. As well as protecting the engine WD-40 can be used on electrical components and most moving parts such as latches and cables.

Are you insured? Before you tuck your boat up for winter check that you’ve got adequate insurance. Boats in storage (especially on trailers) and outboard motors make tempting targets for thieves and with tailored policies from Quoteline Direct finding the right boat insurance is plain sailing.




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