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Displaying items by tag: Winterising Your Boat

Warps and ropes should be left somewhere dry, whilst fenders can be cleaned and stored safely. If a dinghy is carried on davits, one winter left hanging can equate to four seasons of normal wear, so take it home. The anchor, chain and warp should be hosed and checked for weaknesses, especially the shackles. If the VHF aerial can be dropped, do so, and tie it up to stop it whipping all winter. Finally, take all non-secured equipment with you.

When all this is done, relax in the knowledge that you’ll have a healthy boat to re-stock in the spring, and start planning your 2011 cruises.

Failure to Winterise the Engine - As we all now know, temperatures drop below freezing in Ireland during the winter. Inland waters are used to dealing with freezing issues, but residents of coastal areas are less likely to properly prepare their engines for freezing temperatures.

Failure to Drain Water from Sea Strainer - While taking steps to properly winterise your boat engine, take time to address your seawater strainer as well. Water lingering in the strainer can freeze and damage seals. Damage won’t be obvious until the spring when water starts to flood the bilges.

Failure to Close Seacocks - Boats being stored in-water should have their seacocks closed. Heavy rain falls can force thru-hull fittings below the water surface. Follow good management practices for maintenance of thru-hull fittings, ensure connecting hoses are in good condition, hoses are double-banded to barb hose fittings, and seacock valves are well exercised. If there are no seacock valves connected to the thru-hull fittings, the boat shouldn’t be stored in the water for the winter. The only exception to this rule are cockpit drains.

Leaving Open Boats in the Water Over Winter - Vessels with large areas exposed to the weather or that have low freeboard should be stored upland. Heavy rain fall or snow can force open scuppers, thru-hull fittings, or even the gunwhales below the water.

Using Bimini Covers as Winter Storage Covers - Bimini tops are meant to provide cover from the sun and aren’t designed to protect a boat from winter water. These fair-weather covers will fail prematurely and offer little protection for your boat. Consider the use of a “shrink wrap” covering system or tarps to keep rain and snow out of your vessel. Ensure there is good ventilation under the covers to reduce corrosion or fungal damage to the boat
Published in Boat Maintenance
15th October 2010

Getting it shifted

It’s good to know that there’s several sectors finding an increased demand for their services. For instance, boat transport is not always something that owners can do themselves, especially the movement of large boats. What might look small on water is normally huge on the road.

There is nothing more important than checking your lifejacket works but amazingly you will find elsewhere (pg4) in this issue about how many lifejackets failed a free check in Dun Laoghaire this summer. As with all safety and emergency equipment, servicing your lifejacket is most important. Whatever type of lifejacket you use, it will need basic maintenance to keep it working properly.


Whitten Road Haulage, with over 30 years of experience, feel that one aspect that sometimes overlooked is the ‘escort vehicle’ which alerts other road users and pedestrians of the imminent ‘abnormal load’. Tommy Lyndon says; “the escort vehicle, along with the occupants, should be equipped with 2-way radio systems, hazard warning and first-aid equipment”. They should also be in possession of awareness of legislation in various jurisdictions, which varies, and when an Abnormal Load Permit is required.

“In Ireland, the Abnormal Load Permit system is independently administered by each Local Authority and, accordingly, each journey will require separate application to each of the Council areas through which it is proposed to travel. Each application requires a different form, requesting different amounts of information, with different lead-in times and, of course, a fee in each case”, says Tommy.

Nigel Sands from Sands Marine would agree – he knows of two customers who bought boats in the UK which were put on the wrong trailer, the gauges weren’t working, and the trailer bent. To add insult to injury, the boat didn’t get a proper Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI), and, as the local dealer, he got the call to sort it out. So buying abroad isn’t necessarily a money-saving exercise as the above would seem to show: for example, un-tested engines can be put into boats but the problem doesn’t become visible until the boat is far away from the seller. Dealing locally means you get the after-sales service that’s so crucial to a happy sailor.

Published in Boat Maintenance
15th October 2009

Winterising Your Boat

Winterising Your Boat

The whole idea of winterisation can be about as appealing as having a tooth filled – and possibly as expensive – but there’s no substitute for being prepared, and a reluctance to cough up the necessary budget can be a false economy in the long run.

Of course, winterisation is not a word that will stir much enthusiasm in the breast of the average boat-owner, bringing home the fact that summer is over and the evenings will now close in with unprecedented speed.

However, the W-word could be quite painless, even fun, if you are into that sort of thing. And most sailors love their boats – it being a source of pride and pleasure – and want to keep them in top condition.

This Afloat guide to winterising your boat (see menu on right hand side of page) will steer you towards those who can do the job for you, or at least give you useful advice so that you don’t end up standing in the dark, cold, wet, and frustrated, with oil on your clothes and an engine strewn all over the driveway.

It may be true that in the depths of winter lies an invincible summer.

Published in Boat Maintenance