FORCE 4 GUIDE TO LAYING UP
Here's our handy guide to preparing your boat for the winter. We look at the boat's interior, exterior and machinery.
The inside of your boat is prone to the effects of damp and mould over the winder, normally caused
by condensation. We stock a range of dehumidifiers and moisture traps that can help keep your boat
interior in top condition. A great product to help with this is the August Race ‘Boat Bomb’, which
fogs the interior of your boat with an anti-mould formula. Other great ideas are tube heaters and a
bit of ventilation. Leaving cushions and storage hatches propped up can help air circulate, and don’t
forget to empty holding tanks and leave either fresh water or no water in the toilet bowl – sea water
will cause smells over time.
For smaller vessels, a good winter cover is a great idea, it’s also worth covering seats and consoles as
this helps should any wind or rain get past your main cover should it leak or need re-proofing. If you
have a RIB, it’s well worth applying a UV protection to the tubes if you don’t have an all-over cover.
Camper covers and biminis are often best taken down for the winter, and should be replaced with a
winter cover to keep the boat protected. It’s also worth applying a coat of wax to the hull now, as
this will prevent things such as leaves from leaving stains on the hull, and will also protect it from
any UV (the sun does still shine occasionally in the winter!).
3. Engine and Machinery
Engines are a topic in their own right, but the basics are relatively easy. Your engines main enemy is the cold, particularly in the form of ice which can expand and crack cylinder blocks and pumps. This can also affect the fresh water system inside the boat, so it’s worth either draining the system or adding a non-toxic antifreeze. Check your engine coolant contains the required amount of antifreeze, or use a tube heater to keep machinery spaces a bit warmer.
Outboard motors can benefit from a motor cover as this keeps the elements away, or if the engine is
small enough remove it altogether and store it in a shed or garage. Fuel is a consideration too, tanks
are best left either full or empty, and a fuel stabiliser is a good idea for petrol, and a diesel bug
treatment for diesel. If you boat is remaining afloat over the winter, check bilge pumps are running
as they should, and that the battery is being charged or has a wind generator or solar panel in order
to keep them powered.