January 2012

Off-season checklist

Don’t neglect your boat this winter

When the cold winds blow, many of us tend to neglect the same vessels we so lovingly maintained during the boating season.

Ensure that your boat stays in tip-top shape this winter with regular visits to check for damage and nip potential problems in the bud.

Assuming your boat has already been properly winterized, an inspection checklist for vessels on the hard might include the following items:

  • Make sure jack stands aren’t shifting. (Never tie boat covers to jack stands.)
  • If the battery has been left aboard, keep it fully charged to prevent it from freezing.
  • Check the battery’s voltage with a multimeter, or VOM. A hydrometer will also show the state of charge. (To learn more about these tools, take the Marine Electrical Systems course at a squadron near you.)
  • Remove electronics that are susceptible to temperature damage.
  • Place moisture-absorbing materials (desiccants) in enclosed spaces, and replace when depleted.
  • Make sure scuppers are free of leaves and debris to ensure that water that finds its way aboard drains off freely.
  • Make sure rainwater isn’t accumulating in the bilge where it can freeze.
  • Look for evidence of wildlife (especially rodents) making their homes aboard your boat. They can be very destructive.



Keep your windshield clear with this USPS ice scraper!

Mastering Marlinespike

Short splice

Splicing is an art, and the final appearance is your reward. Done correctly, the short splice is aesthetically pleasing and strong.


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