Weather the winter
Protect your boat from cold-season threats
Even if winters are mild where you boat, you still need to be proactive about preventing problems.
To protect your boat during the rainy season, be sure that your bilge pump works and your battery has enough charge to run the pump. If you don’t take your boat out, visit it after a heavy rain and at least once a month. You will save yourself a lot of heartache (and a bundle of money).
In winter, winds and storms often blow from a different direction. What effect will this have on your rigging? Consider all the places where your rigging might possibly strike, and take measures to prevent damage from any direction. You and your insurance company will be glad you did.
Dock lines and fenders
During fierce winter storms, frayed dock lines can part, damaging your vessel. Storms can also carry away your fenders. Be sure you have the correct dock lines for your boat. If you’re not sure, check the guidelines in Chapman’s and the West Marine catalogue.
Check your canvas covers and canvas and vinyl superstructures (in your flybridge, for example). Stitching can come apart at the most inconvenient times, causing water damage in places you assumed were protected. This is another good reason to inspect your boat monthly and after every heavy storm.
Many marinas have undeveloped land nearby that can be home to many small animals. These animals don’t like cold weather any more than the rest of us do and seek warm shelter wherever they can. If you have a heat source or food aboard, your boat could be a target for rodents.
Here’s hoping that you and your boat weather the winter successfully and that spring finds you in excellent condition to make the best of another wonderful boating season.
If you boat during the winter, wear adequate clothing and stay warm. Remember that the water temperature is colder and rain may make the currents heavier. Review the tide and current charts for your area.