Six tips for winterizing the boat

As a boat owner, you make a choice before the winter whether you leave your boat or ship in the water, or whether it goes to shore. In both cases, there are specific things you need to take into account in order for your ship to survive the winter properly. We list six tips:

The most important things when preparing the boat for winter are:

  1. The engine
  2. The technology, gas / electricity on board
  3. Toilet and drinking water supply
  4. The hull and deck
  5. The rigging
  6. The equipment / In the boat

1) The engine

In addition to the regular maintenance that comes with the engine, such as changing the oil, checking and renewing filters, it is most important for the winter period, when frost is expected, to make it frost-resistant. Don't think too lightly about that, you can cause serious damage to the engine if you don't do this.

First you need to know if you have an open or closed cooling water system. In a closed system, the cooling system is filled with coolant. Not much can go wrong with that. With an open cooling system, water is sucked in from outside to cool the engine. Here it is important to prepare the engine properly for winter. No water should remain in the system.

  • Close the water inlet valve.
  • Open the weed filter.
  • Let the engine run while you gently pour antifreeze into the weed filter.
  • Stop the engine if antifreeze comes out from the rear of the cooling water system outlet. (Do catch this with a bucket, antifreeze is very bad for the environment)
  • Close the shut-off valves. Open and close the inlet valve once to allow antifreeze to enter the ball / valve.

2) The technology, gas / electricity on board:

  • Disconnect any gas bottles on board and store the bottles at home, preferably in a dry place with ventilation. Check the gas hoses and couplings and replace them in time. (Replace hoses at least every 3 years).
  • When a battery discharges, the electrolyte turns into water, which can freeze. It is therefore advisable to keep your batteries fully charged. So putting it on the charger every now and then is wise. If you can easily take the batteries off board, you can store them in a dry (frost-free) place. Charging from time to time is also advisable there. Also check if the batteries need to be topped up (with distilled water).
  • If possible, remove electrical equipment from board and store it at home in a dry and warm place. On board, spray open connections and contact points with anti-corrosion spray.
  • Pay attention to rotating parts, such as steering column, winches, etc. Make sure gear wheels, etc. are greased.
  • Remove water from the bilge and clean it. Also clean and dry the gas bottle well.

3) Toilet and drinking water supply:

  • Use NON TOXIC antifreeze for all onboard water systems. So do NOT use the toxic variant that is often used in cars. You can find the right kind at the water sports shop.
  • Just pumping your toilet dry is not enough. Water can collect in bends and ridges. Disconnect the hose from the water inlet (close the valve, of course) and hang it in a reservoir of antifreeze. Pump it through the toilet and then close the valve to the outside.
  • Drain all the water from the drinking water tank. If necessary, remove the last residual water manually with a sponge through the inspection hole, immediately a good time to clean the tank. Make sure that no water remains in the hoses and water pumps.
  • Drain any boiler well. First, disconnect the power from an electric boiler.
  • Fill all valves on board with antifreeze. Pour antifreeze into the delivery point / hose, open and close the valve once to allow antifreeze to remain in the ball.
  • If your boat is on the shore, close the shut-off valves (let water out first). Cold and moisture enters through open valves. Lubricating the valves for the winter is wise against corrosion. (Through the skin duct)

4) Hull and deck:

  • Thoroughly clean the hull and deck. Dirt can settle in the winter.
  • It pays to wax the polyester for winter protection. Do not scrub the wax until spring.
  • Update spots. So treat where paint is off for the winter.
  • Grease rubbers from shutters, windows, etc.
  • Use a pool cover if possible. Water can remain in small nooks and crannies and can damage your deck by freezing.
  • Open internal shutters and lockers for ventilation. This will help prevent mold.

5) Rigging:

  • Remove sails and running rigging from the ship and store dry at home.
  • If necessary, lubricate the roller systems of the furling jib or furling mainsail.
  • Check the stays, are there any burrs, kinks, etc. Are all locking pins still present and in good condition?
  • Clean blocks and discs.

6) The equipment / in the boat:

  • Take cushions off the boat or stand them upright to prevent mold.
  • Clean the boat thoroughly, remove all food and perishables. Even bottles and cans, as they can freeze.
  • Simply take off anything that may be affected by damp and cold and store it at home.
  • Remove clothing and life jackets. Check the life jackets for maintenance.
  • Check the fire extinguishers and have them inspected on time.
  • Place moisture absorbers in the different areas.

Winter ready

The tasks to properly winterize your boat will vary from boat to boat. Just pay close attention to where water can collect, where moisture and cold can cause damage, and fix these points. Also check the position of your boat several times during winter storage. Are tarpaulins still in place?

Also look at it knowledge center of 'Varen do je Samen' for more information about engine maintenance, rigging, gas on board and electricity on board and the shelf life of gasoline. The ANWB also has a handy one as an aid checklist for winterizing your boat composed. 

Good, safe sailing!

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