Preparing Your Boat for Autumn and Winter: Our 8 Essential Tips

preparing your boat for autumn and winter

Though it still feels as though summer has barely begun (especially with the weather we’ve had this year!), it’s now officially autumn, and it’s time to think about preparing your boat for autumn and winter. Properly winterising your boat is more than just a routine task; it’s a crucial step in safeguarding your investment and ensuring a smooth transition once spring comes around again.

Let’s take a look at the key steps you need to take for preparing your boat for autumn and winter…

Thoroughly Clean the Exterior

Begin the winterisation process by giving your boat’s exterior the attention it deserves. Salt, grime, and residue from summer adventures can take a toll on your boat’s surface.

Start by using a specialist cleaner to remove salt buildup, followed by applying a protective coat of wax. This not only enhances the appearance but also provides a barrier against the elements, preventing corrosion and preserving the exterior’s integrity.

Take Down the Sails

If your boat is equipped with sails, it’s time to take them down. Sails and sail covers should be meticulously cleaned, dried, and stored in a dry, safe place. This not only prevents mildew and mould growth but also extends the life of your sails.

Proper storage ensures they’ll be ready to catch the wind when spring returns.

Clean the Interior

Don’t overlook the interior of your boat. A thorough cleaning is essential to prevent the accumulation of dirt, moisture, and pests. Remove any items you don’t want to leave on board during the winter months and anything that’s perishable.

Cleaning the interior not only preserves the aesthetics but also prevents potential damage that could arise from neglect.

Use an Air Heater and Circulator

A low-wattage air heater and circulator, like the Caframo Stor-Dry, is the perfect way to protect your boat against mould, mildew and musty smells over winter. Its dual-action design combines a low-wattage heating element with an internal fan to heat and circulate the air. This dynamic heat and circulation process eliminates stagnant air pockets, effectively preventing the growth of mould and mildew.

Engine Winterisation

Properly winterising your boat’s engine is one of the most critical steps in the process.

For inboard engines, changing the oil and filter, flushing the engine with fresh water, and adding antifreeze are key tasks. Outboard engines require similar attention: flushing with fresh water and mild detergent, replacing gear oil, lubricating cylinders, and checking fluid levels.

Remember to keep fuel tanks filled to minimize the risk of condensation, which can lead to fuel system issues.

Plumbing System Care

Your boat’s plumbing systems also need attention before winter sets in. You have two options: either fully drain the plumbing systems or fill them with antifreeze. Whichever method you choose, ensure a thorough flush of tanks using a sterilising solution to prevent the growth of bacteria and mould during the off-season.

Battery Maintenance

Batteries are susceptible to degradation during periods of inactivity, so it’s best to detach your boat’s batteries, clean them, and apply battery terminal lubricant to prevent corrosion. Store the batteries in a cool, dry place to maintain their health and extend their lifespan.

Proper battery care ensures your boat will have the power it needs when it’s time to hit the water again.

Preserving Your Investment

Winterisation isn’t just about tucking your boat away; it’s a strategic process to protect your vessel from harsh elements and to ensure its longevity. Corrosion and moisture can wreak havoc on your boat’s components, and by following our recommended best practices for preparing your boat for autumn and winter, you’ll set the stage for a successful relaunch come spring.