WINTER ADVICE: Tips for protecting your boat over winter
As one of the largest providers of boat insurance in Ireland and the UK, Craftinsure is well placed to provide risk advice so here are our top tips for winter:
• Do check your boat on a regular basis during the winter, especially when extreme weather is forecast to make sure everything is secure.
• Dinghies should be tied down to the ground (not just secured to the trailer) and bow up to help rainwater pour off.
• Keep mooring lines adjusted (which will help reduce chaff points).
• Check and pump out bilges regularly. Don’t rely on automatic bilge pumps –whilst good to have they can fail due to blockages or simply exhausted batteries.
• Cockpit drains need to be cleared of leaves and debris. If blocked, water can find it’s way below and accumulate, possibly affecting freeboard.
• Drain freshwater supply systems, including tanks, calorifiers and shower mixers.
• Water-based central heating systems don’t need to be drained if anti-freeze has been added and an effective mixture is maintained.
• If operating heaters or de-humidifiers over winter, check them thoroughly for any possible faults and ensure they are used strictly in line with the manufacture’s recommendations.
• Fuel tanks are best kept full to prevent condensation and help prevent growth of the diesel bug.
• Winterise engines in accordance with the manufacturers’ guidance. Draining raw water systems and then refill with a strong solution of antifreeze. The engine should then be run to circulate the solution. Simply draining the system may still leave water trapped at points where frost damage could occur.
• Keep batteries fully topped up and regularly recharged.
• Try not to leave expensive portable items onboard and remove any clothing, bedding and foodstuffs (which could attract vermin) from the boat.
• Remove headsails, boom covers and spray hoods to help reduce windage.
• If furling headsails can’t be removed, make sure they are very securely tied.
• Make a list of actions taken to winterise the boat to help know what to reverse in the spring, along with appropriate signs to help avoid mishaps.