De winterising your narrowboat
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Fri Mar 1, 2019 at 12:42pm

Getting your boat ready for a great cruising season

Wow its the 1st of March and now (hopefully), the worst of the cold weather is be behind us, we  begin to look forward  to warmer days.

The changes in temperature signal the start of the boating season yip-ee!!!. So, we start thinking about the need to de-winterise our boat. This means  basically reversing all the good work we carried out to 'winterise' your boat. Checking and closing any taps left open through winter, connecting any pipes  and switching the water pump on. Test the system to ensure there are no leaks or issues, and open and run water through each tap.

It's a good idea,


to start with those closest to the pump and work through to the one furthest away. this will  push any air through the system. Drain out any water in the tank and refill with fresh drinking water.  

Remember to service, test and check the operation of: The engine, LPG and electrical systems, fire extinguishers and escape hatches. Servicing your engine and gear box, plus checking the operation of the stern tube greaser prior to cruising will generally safeguard against the most common issues, and also pick up any potential problems that need addressing.

Water in the fuel is one of the biggest causes of breakdowns and poor engine performance, so before running the engine, check water trap filters and remove any excess water. If water is present or there are signs of diesel bug, black dust or jelly-dip the tank to identify its severity and then treat with a fuel treatment or have the fuel polished accordingly. If you do not have a water trap filter, you’ll need to check the main fuel tank. The easiest way to do this is to use a clear plastic hose.

Drop it into the tank (being careful not to disturb the fuel) and when you feel the bottom, place your thumb over the end to seal it and withdraw the hose. This should provide you with a sample of the tank (plus an indication of any diesel bug contamination) and show the amount of water present. Prior to cruising, check the bolts on couplings, engine mounts and prop shaft are tight and clean off any corrosion on battery terminals. Check fan belt for tightness and wear, and gearbox oil levels.  

Run your engines up to ‘working' temperature or for about half an hour. Check every inch of the cooling system for leaks or escaping steam and if something is found, check jubilee clips are tight.

Finally put engine into gear and check control lever operation. These should move freely with no tightness or ‘grabbing’, grease the ends and check for fraying and replace if required. 

By carrying out these minor checks will help for a trouble free season. 

Happy cruising from Venetian Marina.

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