One of the tricks to maintaining a boat, is using them… using your boat often means you will notice anomalies if they arise and can attend to any issues regularly.
But, with the end of the boating season for most boat owners now upon us, that means your boat is likely left untouched for some time. Winter maintenance means you need to go down to your boat to turn over the engine and check your covers are in place, and hopefully no surprises or unwanted visitors in your absence. While you are doing your regular checks, turn everything on, fire up all systems and keep it all moving so when you are ready for the first trip of next season you know it's all ready to go.
Even the most seasoned boat-owner is prone to forgetting a step in the off-season process and we recommend you make a checklist that you can tick the regular tasks required for prepping your vessel for winter.
Here’s a few non-mechanical ideas to add to your checklist. We’ll leave the mechanics to the professionals.
Obviously you will clean your boat inside out before putting it away in winter storage. Everything from the hull, propellers, and shafts to interior drawers, cabinets, and upholstery should be inspected and cleaned.
Remove any loose items such as portable electronics, flares, and fire extinguishers before cleaning and securely store away. Empty your cabinets and drawers too. Remove cushions and store them in a climate-controlled location if possible or at least turn the cushions on their edge to allow for more air-flow. For soft surfaces like bimini tops or vinyl windows, make sure to use the manufacturer-specified cleaning process to keep them in top condition.
- Check your battery, and when ready to leave the boat, use the isolator switch to prevent battery drain.
- Visual checks on the tilt & trim.
- Check the bung is out but also inspect the bung itself.
- Overall visual on the hull, any scrapes to fix in the offseason?
- Switch on all electronics, navigation, GPS, chart plotter etc
- Stow safety gear after checking it’s good to keep for another season and not needing replacement. Are your flares still in date?
- Trailer checks, lights, tyre pressure, winch and cable strap OK?
- Book your engine service for the offseason.
COVER YOUR BOAT.
A no brainer, but still worth mentioning. Don’t cut corners when it comes to your boat cover. Invest in high quality covers as one of the simplest preventative care in the off-season. Do your research on what’s out there, consult your manual and reach out to professionals if in doubt.
For the off season, beyond covering your pleasure craft, proper maintenance is key. Make a checklist that’s relevant for you and your boat. Always consult with a professional and your boat owner’s manual if you’re in doubt. If you have any questions re boating insurance
, be sure to get in touch with the team at Tudor Insurance
. We’ve been the go-to specialist for boating insurance for over three decades now.