The winter months mean that extra care needs to be taken in order to ensure that your boat remains in tip-top condition. Taking extra precautions during the winter months, however, means that there will be less to do once the weather gets better.
In or out?
First and foremost, the biggest decision you’ll need to make is whether you’re going to take your boat out of the water for the winter, or moor it somewhere safe where it isn’t too exposed to the elements.
If you’re going to go for the former option, then seize the opportunity to check everything methodically – establish what needs repairing or replacing, or whether there’s something you’d like to modify. Remove and store all ancillary items such as radio and GPS systems, batteries, gas bottles, fire extinguishers, lifejackets and safety equipment.
Once that’s done, the first thing you need to do is give your boat’s exterior a thorough clean, inclusive of scrubbing down, waxing and polishing the hull (especially the part that sits underwater should you choose to take your boat out), the topside, bottom, deck and superstructure. Clean her sails and bilge too. If your boat is made of fibreglass, ensure you check for blisters.
Next, move on to the interior – take care of carpets, tables, and any other fixtures and furnishings. We recommend using moisture absorbers in cabins and lockers just to make sure everything stays dry.
Ensure your mechanicals are sound
The biggest piece of the puzzle, especially during the winter months, is to ensure all mechanicals are clean and working correctly. Should you be unsure of what you have to do, or should you be wary of missing an important detail, then we recommend consulting someone more experienced than you or employing a professional to take care of the job for you.
Every few weeks, check on your boat’s condition, especially if she’s remaining in the water. Make sure that the location she’s stored in will not pose problems caused by wind and weather exposure or falling foliage. If she isn’t, then make sure shores providing structural support are secure and stable.