With the coming of winter and storm season, you should be ready to execute a well thought plan to protect your boat. One should prepare a list of all tasks you will need to complete before weather threats approach. Perform these tasks carefully so that you can be sure you haven’t missed anything. One overlooked preparation can cause headaches when boating season returns.
1Get the Boat out of the Water
The best way to protect your boat from the cold and wind is to put it on a trailer. Make sure the trailer has supports for the hull, because uneven weight can twist or push the hull out of shape. Also, support the engine and keel.
You can use blocks or jacks if you don’t want to use a trailer, but make sure you support the boat in all crucial areas.
2Move to High Ground
Moving your boat ashore may not be enough. Make sure to place it on high ground, above the level of any potential surge or basins where water might gather and rise.
3Tie Your Boat Down
If your boat will be stored outside, you must tie it down. Use heavy lines according to this guide:
Half-inch line for boats 25 feet or less
Five-eighths-inch lines for boats longer than 25 feet and less than 35 feet
Three-quarter-inch line for boats 35 feet or larger.
Use chafe protectors anywhere the lines touch a surface. This will help prevent line breakage.
4Drain Your Boat
Two of your biggest enemies in winter and storm season are freezing liquids and mildew. Remove the bilge drain plug and let all fluid drain. Scrub your boat and then make sure you dry all areas that have any leftover water or cleaning fluids. Drain and clean the head with precision.
5Remove all Electronics
Electronic gear is extremely vulnerable to rain. The best antidote is to remove it. Even if you try to cover it, moist air can seep in and cause rust and bad connections. Keep your electronics indoors throughout the cold and wet season. Don’t forget to remove your battery as well.
6Protect the Engine
Fill your gas tank completely and put in an additive that prevents condensation. Change your antifreeze. Change the engine oil. It’s a good idea to change any worn belts or hoses so that you’ll be ready to go when warmer weather returns.
7Tarp It and Strap It
Cover your boat with a waterproof tarp. Strap it down thoroughly to prevent it from flapping in the wind. Even if you store the boat inside, a tarp can prevent moisture from humid air from entering the boat. Tarp can also protect your boat from dust.
Check the tarp periodically to make sure there are no tears, holes or loose corners.
Protecting your boat from winter, storms and wind is not a last-minute job. It requires preparation and careful execution. This way you won’t spend your winter worrying about your boat, and your spring making boat repairs. Happy boating comes from careful storage.