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Storing your boat over winter


It’s that time of the year where many will park up the boat. Here are a few tips to make sure your vessel stays in pristine condition ready for next season. Many of these tips are readily available online.

• The best place to store a boat is out of the water, preferably indoors. At least ensure the boat is well covered to keep the weather out. Covers to fit most boat configurations and sizes are available off the shelf.

• Wash the hull thoroughly. You can use a water-blaster to clean off any barnacles or marine growth. Check the hull for damage, blisters or scratches, and repair as required. Why not give the boat a good wax (fibreglass and paint), a paint touch-up or a fresh coat of protectant (aluminium)?

• Clean any through-hull fittings and strainers. Remove interior and exterior bungs and/or open any seacocks so the hull can drain.

• If storing your boat outside, suitable security needs to be in place for your own peace of mind and that of your insurance company.

• Sacrificial anodes should be checked. Working correctly, they ensure the ravages of the marine environment, mixed with electrical current, are greatly minimised.

• At the end of the season, a bit of time spent with a grease gun can prevent issues come springtime.

• Keeping the fuel tank topped up can help keep condensation at bay, but a water separation filter is a worthwhile investment for any petrol-powered boat.

• A little preventative maintenance around wheel hubs and brakes before you store your boat will put you in good stead for the new season.

• Make sure the batteries are fully charged and isolation switches are in the “off” position. If the boat will be stored for a long time, consider hooking a smart charger to the batteries to keep them topped up. Solar-powered chargers can do the same job.

• Where fitted, make sure the steering cable is packed with grease and remember to occasionally give the steering wheel a few turns during the course of the winter to prevent the cable binding. Seized steering is a common boat ramp disaster after the winter lay-off.

• Pull up squabs and cushions and clean them using a mould removing solution on vinyl surfaces. Stow squabs propped up or on their sides so air can circulate around them.

• Remove the miscellaneous gear that accumulates in any boat and store it somewhere dry.

• If mains power is available, consider running a dehumidifier in the cabin at regular intervals to keep condensation and damp at bay.

• If the boat sits on a trailer, ensure the tyres are at the correct pressure and that the wheel bearings are well greased.

• If the boat is outside, tilt the trailer so the boat is slightly bow-up to drain any water that finds its way into the boat.

• It pays to move the trailer every once in a while to keep everything moving or jack it up and store it on blocks to preserve the tyres. Give the wheels a spin every few days.

Until next time. Keep safe keep warm and if in doubt... don't go out.


Tony Marsters

Warfish Charters

Phone (021) 298 5750

Email tony@warfish.co.nz

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