Winterising your boat
Good winter storage and maintenance makes for a smoother boating season and will considerably extend the useful life of your boat. Organising good winter storage does not have to be complicated, but it is worth planning properly.
When the boat is on land, it is easy to perform a thorough inspection and check for any damage and problems. This not only gives you the opportunity to spot potential problems and take steps to stop them getting worse, but also to clean the boat and perform preventative maintenance.
Plan your storage solution well in advance and the most practical way to bring your boat ashore. Many boat clubs and leisure boat marinas have storage places and special lifting equipment if you do not have your own. The waiting lists and queues to bring boats ashore are often long when the weather turns colder, and being well-prepared means you can avoid expensive hasty last minute solutions.
Whether you are going to store your boat under cover or outside, it is important that it is secured against strong winds and that it is not exposed to damp and the risk of mould. Cushions, fabrics and other furnishings should be removed. Store these at home so they stay dry and safe from theft. The battery should be taken home and kept on a maintenance charge – a flat battery is a common problem when launching.
Get into the habit of giving the whole boat a basic clean in the autumn, but you can leave fine polishing until the spring. Repair any damage and make good where necessary. It is important that all barnacles and other growth are removed, to avoid any increased risk of mould attack and damage to the hull over winter.
The engine is a very important and expensive part of the boat’s equipment, so ensure it is given the necessary care and maintenance. Do your homework in advance so you know what your engine needs.
Many insurance companies have comprehensive rules concerning what applies when a boat is in storage when it comes to theft, damage etc. Check what applies for you and your boat.
If you cannot or prefer not to do all this yourself, there are companies that offer a full service with lifting, heated storage and maintenance. If you choose this kind of service, you can simply collect your boat in the spring, cleaned, serviced and launched. Ship ahoy.