The winter months and falling temperatures can wreak havoc on your craft if it is not properly prepared. So if you’re going to leave your boat unattended for any length of time this winter, we recommend winterising your boat so that you don’t have any nasty surprises when you return in the spring.
DRAIN FRESH WATER
Drain fresh water tank by opening your taps and letting the water drain overboard. When no more water comes out, turn the water pump off at the switch panel. Leave ALL taps on (especially the hot taps if you have a calorifier), including the shower, with the shower head placed in the shower tray or bath. Turning the stop cock off is NOT sufficent!
INBOARD RAW WATER
Cooled engines should have the sea cock turned off, anti-freeze fed into the raw water feed and fed around the engine until it leaves the exhaust. Check that the sealed cooling, if present, also has the required level of anti-freeze in the system.
Engines should be checked for a coolant anti-freeze level of at least -20 degrees, and ensure that the coolant levels are topped up.
Battery levels on all wet cells should be checked and topped up with distilled water unless these are of the ‘sealed for life’ type. Turn off battery isolators, and if you have an installed marine battery charger, this should be turned on to keep the batteries topped up.
Ventilation is essential to keep down damp. Leave open a couple of window hoppers for air flow which helps to stop mold growing. Do not block low level vents on doors etc.
INSTANT WATER HEATERS
Instant water heaters should be drained using the drain plug, leave the plug out with a bowl under the outlet. Leave the thermostat control on maximum.
Diesel heaters with a frost stat. You should ensure that you have a FULL tank of diesel, and very good batteries. If you have access to electricity through a metered lead, and have a marine battery charger, connect to the shoreline so that batteries do not go flat.
DO NOT RELY ON MAINS ELECTRICTY TO KEEP YOUR BATTERIES TOPPED UP!
Electric heaters should be used with caution. The recommended heater is a greenhouse ‘Tube’ heater. These are very low wattage and cannot cause fires. DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING – fan heaters, bar heaters, gas heaters, or any heater that has exposed elements. If you do, you may find your insurance is invalid if they cause a fire! And another reminder:
DO NOT RELY ON MAINS ELECTRICTY TO KEEP YOUR CRAFT FROM FREEZING!
SMOKE & CO2 ALARMS
Smoke & CO2 alarms should have the batteries REMOVED if you are not on the craft. During the winter months, we do not want to visit craft with alarms going off due to flat batteries in alarm systems.
MORING LINES & ROPES
Mooring lines and ropes should be used correctly. You should check all of your mooring lines for chaffing or wear. If worn, they should be replaced. Do not use the whole 10 metres of line on a mooring tee to secure your craft. If we need to loosen your ropes due to water levels, wind, or snapped ropes etc., it takes a long time to undo all of the knots!
You should not leave these actions until last minute. Make sure you prepare in advance.
Please be aware that this list is not exhaustive and does not guarantee that frost damage may not occur.
If you need help with any of the above, then please don’t hesitate to give the marina team a call. The team will be happy to help and can advise whether these actions can be completed by the marina on your behalf before any damage is possibly caused.