January is well and truly here with frost & sub-zero temperatures. Therefore, it is a vital time to consider what is needed to be done to protect your boat over the winter & prevent any un-necessary frost damage by taking the initiative to act now!
Engine, Fuel System & Batteries
Winterising the engines whether inboard, outboard or jetski will make sure that there is no threat from water left in the cooling systems that could freeze and cause fatal damage like fracturing exhaust manifolds and engine blocks. Drain water where necessary and run anti-freeze in to vulnerable areas as required.
Fill up your diesel fuel tanks! Add fuel stabiliser to your petrol tanks! Attending to this now will prevent any issues when you start boating again next season. The most common problem and contaminant is water, generally building up from condensation. Water in your fuel can lead to blockage of the filters and a reduction in the fuels performance. Water can seriously damage parts of your engine such as the injectors or the seals and gaskets. Diesel fuel has inherent bacteria and when water is added these bacteria are able to breed. If this ‘bug’ is allowed to grow it will eventually form in to sludge and ultimately will block up filters and could lead to expensive damage of equipment.
Your marine batteries are more expensive than the usual car batteries, so they need to be looked after. Batteries are not immune to damage and require correct storage whilst not in use. To prevent your batteries from discharging and suffering from internal damage due to being left unattended over the winter, it is recommended to have someone oversee your charging system by checking battery levels & testing your charging equipment making sure your system doesn’t fail. This forward thinking will put a smile on your face when you attend your boat at the start of the new season, knowing you will have healthy batteries and the knowledge that you can get out on to the water immediately as soon as the sun starts shining again.
Domestics & Soft Furnishings
Most boats will also require the protection of their domestic systems. Make sure all systems from your hot & cold water, showers, generators & grey water systems are all protected.
To prevent the inevitable build-up of mould on your soft furnishings, it is recommended to take them off and store them at home. If you are unable to remove such items and furnishings try propping cushions up & leave lockers & doors open so air can easily pass through them. Make sure your boat is vented to minimise moisture build up. Thermostatically controlled low power consumption heaters will reduce the un-wanted mildew as will dehumidifiers for areas where ventilation is poor. Remove any perishable items like food from the boat and empty your fridge while leaving the door slightly open to allow air to circulate.
Need A New Canopy?
It is also an ideal time to consider whether your boats canopy is up to the job of protecting your boat over the winter. If you were considering a new cover or work done to your existing cover, then it makes sense to have this looked at now so your boat gets maximum protection during this period.
Start of the New Season
At the start of the new season having taken these advisory recommendations, your boat will be ready for re-commissioning. You will have peace of mind in the knowledge that she will have survived those cold winter months. At this point we would recommend you entertain your annual service. Before you start those long hot sunny days afloat & adventures too far off places; get that extra peace of mind by getting your servicing done. During your annual recommended servicing, our contacts with qualified engineers will be able to bring to your attention any other recommendations they feel should be addressed. Hopefully by identifying and rectifying these raised issues now will allow for greater time afloat, rather than being stuck on your berth while everyone else around you is out enjoying themselves.
Hull and Superstructure
Time to remove that hull growth and green slime from the decks! Antifouling paint is a specialised paint which is applied to the hull of a boat in order to slow the growth of organisms that attach to the hull that affect the crafts performance. We are happy to organise for you the lift ashore of your boat and to oversee that the correct antifoul paint is applied for you and your vessels intended use. If required, this would also be the perfect opportunity to clean & polish the hull & top-sides. Equally, while ashore the engineers we appoint will be able to advise any required servicing and maintenance on all brands of outdrives and stern gear along with the cleaning of props & rudders as well as renewal of your sacrificial anodes.
Here to Help!
Visiting your boat regularly over the winter will make sure all is as it should be. Canopies come un-done allowing rain water in, mooring lines stretch, are the bilge pumps still working? We will always help out when we can, but recommend that you attend your boat as often as you can to make sure everything is as it should be.
The more that can be done to protect your boat the longer everything will last. Additionally, all these points will keep you, your family and friends safe at sea; equally will be the benefit to you when you come to sell your boat. A buyer will be very much assured when he/she can be shown documented proof that your boat has been well cared for and looked after by an established marine engineering company.
If you would like any further information or would like to arrange getting your boat protected for the winter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Based in Brighton Marina, we have access to a wealth of services and established and qualified companies that can help with all aspects of boats and boating.