Getting your boat ready for winter
It's that time of year again when nights are getting longer, mornings are getting colder, and it will soon be time to start thinking about preparing boats for the winter. We at Venetian Marina want to help give you peace of mind when it comes to winterisation.
The cold isn't the only issue facing us on the canal over winter. There is also a distinct possibility that your boat will be sat, unused for sometime. Let's face it; cold rain, snow, wind and sleet aren't ideal cruising conditions. Not to mention there's a very realistic chance of the canal being frozen entirely. With this being said it is important to ensure every precaution has been taken when it comes to your engine. It is a good idea to run your engine as often as possible, and keep the diesel tank full to ward off condensation in the tank. Diesel conditioner is also recommended to stave off diesel bug; contaminated fuel which can lead to costly issues.
It is also important to keep your stern greaser full. keep an eye out for any water dripping in from the stern tube, and grease accordingly. This will occur mostly after the engine has been running. If one is not already installed, it is worth considering a float switch, so that, when necessary, the bilge pump can kick in automatically, should water enter the bilges. Be sure to keep your header tank and oil topped up, and make sure drain channels are clear.
If you are not staying on your boat through winter, as plenty will not be, there are steps that can be taken to protect the interior. It is a good idea to remove all bedding, curtains, and any soft furnishings possible, to prevent the chance of mildew. it is not always feasible to remove mattresses and the like, of course. In this case propping them up on their side is advisable.
Arguably the most important thing of all is to ensure that the water tank is drained down, simply by opening taps throughout the boat. This is to minimise the chance of water pipes bursting. Disconnect the water pump, and see that there is enough anti-freeze in the header tank for the heating system.
When leaving the boat check that all trip switches are turned off, barring the bilge pump if a float switch is present. prop the fridge door slightly ajar to prevent mould within.
Whilst perhaps not quite as important, there are still a few things you can do when it comes to the exterior of your boat. Try to clean/clear any mould that might appear, paying special attention to canopies. Keep the roof and decks clear of leaves as best as possible, to prevent pooling which can lead to rust. Also keep any run off points clear of debris. Winds can pick up through the winter month so it is a good idea to take any lighter items off the roof, and place them inside the boat.
More important than any of this, stay safe, and try to keep warm! We at Venetian Marina hope you all have a good winter.