Unfortunately the boating season is winding down and it’s time to start thinking about protecting your valuable recreational asset. The time and effort you spend now will have a definite effect on your boats performance, or lack of it, and certainly save you time, effort, and money come spring.
Why put time and money into a boat that you’re not going to use for six months? That’s an all-too-common attitude when it comes to winterizing chores. Big mistake! Winter weather can wreak havoc (cracked blocks, corrosion, etc.) on a boat that’s not prepared for hibernation.
Take care of any problems and dealer-required maintenance in the fall, before your craft is clutched by winter’s icy grip. It is important to remember that your insurance policy may not cover damage done by lack of maintenance or neglect.
Fresh Water System
Out of Water Storage
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The best place for your boat to be during the winter is out of the water, under cover, in a climate-controlled boat storage area. This, however, can be expensive for some. If you don’t have this option perhaps you should consider shrink-wrapping your boat and putting it in our low cost storage yard. Short of these two items, make sure that your boat is well covered with a tarp or some other sturdy cover.
Fiberglass is made to stand up to the ravages of summer sun and salt water, so a little snow is not a problem – or is it? Ice accumulation can split open hatches and window tracks, causing leaks. So outside storage demands the proper boat cover. More on this later.
Check the hull, looking for stress cracks (common around the bow eye) and gelcoat blisters. Stress cracks can indicate structural damage, and anything serious should be looked at by a professional. The drill with blisters is to puncture, drain, dry and patch with an epoxy-based filler made for this purpose. If your hull is aluminum, bang the drum slowly with a rubber mallet to knock out dents.
Barnacles and any other unwelcome guests tagging along on your boat bottom should have their free-ride privileges terminated by scraping and then sanding any residue. A good pressure washing is in order to remove dirt and the dreaded sea scum. You’ll make this job a lot easier in the future if you apply a product such as 3M’s Marine Ultra Performance Paste Wax. It creates an acrylic shield over the hull to prevent dirt from penetrating into the wax. The crud stays on the surface where it can be hosed off easily. Whatever your hull needs are, we are here to help!