The winter weather can take its toll on us all, and generally speaking the best place for a boat during the winter season is out of the water, ideally under cover and kept well insulated. This can be expensive as the winter months roll on, but in the long term it will save you a lot of money and stress if you have to perform in depth repair jobs to your boat. The cold weather really can have a detrimental impact on your boat. But once your boat is away for storage in the winter, you can't forget about it all together, the winter is a great time to have a full audit of your boat, carry out general procedures and get your boat ready for the summer season. This will also prevent those sunny days in the spring when you find your engine doesn't start at all... So to kick you into gear we have put together some of the top things that you should be performing on your boat to help de-winterize it in time for spring.
De-winterize The Engine
The driving force behind your boat, and your ticket from A to B. The engine needs to be the first thing that is de-winterized and looked at before you start on anything else. We would recommend changing your oil at the start of the season if you haven't already, this will help to prevent corrosion and excessive wear that can lead to engine failure further down the line. After the oil has been replaced, it's time to flush the cooling system and replace the antifreeze with the correct ratios. Once this has been done replace the batteries and perform a thorough engine test to make sure that everything is as it should be.
Test All Electrics
Just like an unused car needs a kickstart every now and then, when you're about to take the boat back out on the water it's incredibly important to bring all of the electrics back to life and put them all through a test so that you can be sure everything is in working order. It's a good time to identify what may be faulty and get it replaced before you find yourself out at sea. Make sure that you take the time to test the radio, GPS, compass, depth finder and any other marine electronics. All things that you definitely don't want to be without when you're in the middle of the ocean!
Inspect Exterior Of The boat
There's definitely more than meets the eye when you have a quick glance over the exterior of the boat. Whilst not much should change whilst it's away in storage, if the boat has been exposed to cold conditions what may have only been a small crack initially can quickly expand into a much bigger hole. Take your time checking over the exterior with your hands, and that every feature is in working order.
Clean The Interior
You wouldn't leave your home interior dirty so why should your boat be any different? Regardless to how long your boat has been kept away in storage, it's going to be in need of a freshen up. Get your cleaning materials together and make sure everything is spotless, dust away the dirt and grime and clean the windows. Now would be a great time to check over the upholstery and furniture inside for signs of holes, tears etc.
Other Important Areas To Check
Whilst the above are the most important areas to run through during the winter, there are many other areas that should still be on your list. Other areas that should fully be explored and tested include;