Tips for Storing your Boat in the Winter
So as the weather starts to cool and the sun continues to go down at an earlier time, I figured it would be a suitable moment to discuss a few tips to store your boat. You might have a few more weeks of sailing left, but not much longer than that. Here are a few things you want to be on the lookout for when you put your sails to bed for the winter:
First thing you do before you prepare to store the boat is to take it out for one last cruise. Make sure to keep detailed notes of any odd noises you hear, any physical damage you see or flat out anything that seems off. This is your time to inspect the boat while it’s in its element and this is the time to address them as these defects could become exacerbated over the long winter season.
The edges of the sails need to be inspected for signs of heavy wearing and cracking, you should also be sensitive to rotting threads as they could be expensive down the road. Depending on where the wearing and cracking is located, you can get away with patching it back up and using again for another season or so, but if the cracking and wear is too great then you will be better off just replacing the sail. If you find yourself spending time thinking about whether you should replace it or not, then it’s always safe to replace it. It can be dangerous to have it break on you mid-sail.
Perform a thorough inspection of your boat. This means inside and out, top to bottom. If there are signs that parts of the boat have seen their last wave then either take the cautious route and replace it, at very least, if you think you might be able to squeeze a little more life out of it, then try to reinforce it in some way. You’ll be glad you did.
To prevent any kind of engine trouble when spring comes around next season, make sure to top off any engine fluids, including your gas tank and adding in a gas stabilizer to avoid any kind of condensation that could occur over the few months your boat is left idle. It is also a good idea to flush your coolant system with plenty of water and add in antifreeze at the end. You should even let the motor run for several minutes to make sure the new mixture makes it’s way to every part of the engine.
No one ever said that taking care of a boat was easy work, but if you do this religiously before every winter, you will minimize any downtime during the months you want to use your boat most. All it takes is a morning of cleaning, checking and prepping and your boat will remain in pristine condition. Trust me, its better to put in the work upfront than to pay for it on the back end.