10 Tips for Winterizing your boat
Well unfortunately it is that time of year, again. The trees are just about bare and the water is getting well below the desired swimming temperature. Now it is time to winterize your boat.
Here are some basic tips to remember when you are putting your vessel away for the winter:
- Start by doing a basic cleaning out, call it Spring Cleaning in advance. Clean out the food lockers, refrigerator, and icebox. This will help to prevent any critters from crawling around possibly cause damage to the interior of your boat. Remember to keep the door’s open to help increase the airflow. This is also a good time to get rid of anything that you may not need; possibly consign usable items to Bacon’s.
- Take down your sails. This is more of an optional step depending on how you like the exterior of your boat to look year-round, however by removing your Headsail and Mainsail/Cover, you reduce the risk of damage from either freezing or heavy winds that may cause deterioration to your fabric. This is a good time to take them in for cleaning and/or repairs. Keep in mind that Bacon Sails offer’s both Sail Cleaning and evaluation/repairs for sails.
- Exterior electronics. This is also an optional step depending on how easy it is to remove the display units. However, if it is not difficult to do so, go ahead and store the GPS and electronic gauges/meters inside to prevent them from any damage that they could incur from harsh freezes.
- Drain the fresh water. While you are draining your fresh water tanks, go ahead and inspect them for any signs of weak spots/leaks. If you have an accessible hatch for the tanks, go ahead and clean them out, this will clear up any build up of residue that may of been residing in the tanks. Drain everything, this includes your hot water heater tank, sink, pumps, and anything else that flows from fresh water. Open the Sea cocks to be able to drain outside(Only if on the Hard).
- Add your anti-freeze, preferably pink 50-50 anti-freeze and water. Many forget to include bilge pumps; suck the pump until it is dry then suck the 50-50 mixture through it until it comes out the pink color. Once every possible water circulated line has been flushed with the 50-50 mixture, go ahead and do a run through from bow to stern to check for any possible sea cocks or drains that you may have forgotten.
- Flush your Raw water cooling system and replace with the 50-50 mixture.
- Add stabilizer to your fuel tanks and replace all fuel filters(Fuel filters may be replaced at this time or right before use of new season). Take the time to run the motor for about 10-15 minutes so the stabilizer mixes in with the fuel lines and injectors.
- To help prevent any mold/mildew build up, try Starbrite’s No Damp Moisture Absorber and Dehumidifier pouches. For a clean smelling cabin, use Tea Tree Gel cups in various places, such as one in the V-berth and one in the Salon.
- Spray down everything outside the boat with fresh water to remove any salt coated items. Be sure to spray down running rigging, lifelines, steering, winches and any metal surface to help prevent corrosion build up over the winter break.
- A good cover. If you are using a boat cover made up of Sunbrella, look over for any weak spots/holes that may cause leaks onto the boat. At the same time, spray a layer of 303 Fabric Guard to build up a water repelling layer over the Sunbrella. If you are shrink wrapping, be sure to have an easy access way so you don’t have to make any cuts into the wrapping if you need to get into the boat. Both Sunbrella and Shrink wrapped covers should be well ventilated, Solar Vents are a good way to help vent.
If you have any questions about Winterizing your boat, feel free to ask the folks over at Bacon Sails. You can contact them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone:410-263-4880, or by person at 116 Legion Ave, Annapolis MD.