WINTER ADVICE FOR BOAT OWNERS
Whether ashore or afloat during the winter, your boat still needs care and attention if you are to safeguard your investment and enjoy a trouble-free start to the new season.
As one of the largest providers of boat insurance in the UK and Ireland, Craftinsure is well placed to provide risk advice so here are our top tips for winter:
- Your boat needs to be checked on a regular basis during the winter, especially when extreme weather is forecast to make sure everything is secure. Dinghies should be tied down to the ground (not just secured to the trailer). Mooring lines may need to be adjusted (which will help reduce chaff points) or added to.
- Check and pump out bilges regularly. Don’t rely on automatic bilge pumps – they can fail due to blockages or simply exhausted batteries.
- Keep cockpit drains free of leaves and debris. If blocked, water can accumulate and find it’s way below. If your boat’s ashore, angle the bow slightly upwards to help rainwater run-off.
- Internal freshwater supply systems should be drained including tanks, calorifiers and shower mixers.
- Water-based central heating systems can be left if anti-freeze has been added and is maintained at an effective mixture.
- If leaving heaters or de-humidifiers in operation over winter, they must be used in accordance with the manufacture’s recommendations and checked for any electrical faults. There are devices available to monitor the performance of such items and notify a mobile of problems.
- Keep fuel tanks full to prevent condensation which in turn helps prevent growth of the diesel bug.
- Engines need to be winterised in accordance with the manufacturers’ guidance. Raw water systems will need draining and then refilling with a strong solution of antifreeze. Run the engine to circulate the solution. Simply draining the system may still leave water trapped at points where frost damage could occur.
- Batteries left on board should be fully topped up and regularly recharged.
- As well as removing any expensive portable items, empty any clothing, bedding and foodstuffs (which could attract vermin) from the boat.
- Remove headsails, boom covers and spray hoods to help reduce windage. If furling headsails are left up, make sure they are very securely tied.
- Finally, make a list of actions taken to winterise the boat to remember what to reverse in the spring, along with appropriate signs to help avoid any mishaps. Every year boats are launched with missing bungs or hull fittings!