Getting Your Boat Ready For Winter
Winter is slowly creeping up on us, and whilst the cold weather has yet to really show it's face, it won't be long before the temperature really starts to drop. With this in mind let us discuss the ways in which you can protect your boat from the cold.
The wind can pick up throughout the winter months, and it is likely that you will be visiting your boat much less to check up on things, so it is a good idea to place any lighter items, such as life rings, inside the boat. Ensure that you clear any fallen leaves from the decks and roof, as a build of debris can lead to water pooling on surfaces, which can in turn lead to rust. It is also good practice to clear drainage channels as regularly as possible. For those with covers at the bow or stern, keep an eye out for any signs of mould, and remove immediately.
An automatic bilge pump can be invaluable, as this will prevent the bilges from filling with water whilst you are away from the boat. Keep an eye on the stern gland and packing, and turn the stern greaser every time you leave the boat. Keep the diesel tank as full as possible as this will help prevent condensation in the tank. Diesel conditioner is also advisable, although this is a good idea all year round. Ensure that the header tank is topped up with anti-freeze.
Removing all possible soft furnishings is recommended, to protect them from damp. This includes, but is not limited to, things like bedding and curtains. It is not always practical to remove mattresses, so propping them up on their side is good practice.
Ensure that all trip switches are in the off position when leaving the boat to protect the batteries. This should not apply to the bilge pump, if an automatic float switch is installed. It is a good idea to find something to prop the fridge door open with, to prevent mould forming inside.
It is possible that any water left in the system could freeze, potentially leading to burst pipes, so it is vital that the entire water system be drained down. Disconnect the water pump, and see that there is enough anti-freeze in the header tank for the heating system.
Most important of all, whether you will braving the weather to do any boating or not, stay safe, and stay warm!