It does not matter where you live or dock your yacht, almost all owners need to understand some aspect of preparing your boat for the winter or changing weather conditions.
14 Steps to Winterizing Your Yacht
Obviously it depends on the usage of your yacht and the location in which it is docked, for winterizing is different in New York vs. Florida. But if you are planning to lay-up the boat for a period of at least 2-3 months, these are some aspects in which you should be familiar with.
- Ventilation, making sure the boat gets air is important. By shrink-wrapping your boat, you will be able to protect it from the weather while still allowing it to breathe. This is especially important in colder climates.
- Make sure the battery is disconnected or use a trickle charge.
- Run the electronics once every three weeks, so the charges do not become dormant.
- Flush the engine.
- Change the antifreeze. In freezing conditions, all fluids that have the possibility of freezing need to be replaced with antifreeze.
- Remove any and all personal belongings that can collect mildew.
- Make sure there isn’t any moisture. Any humidity needs to be dried and removed, whether it is in the components or the cabin.
- The sails should be taken off the rigging and stored in a dry place. That way you can check for damages or holes and if you replace during the offseason it will inevitably be cheaper.
- Touching up the bottom paint. If you own a larger boat, it will most certainly need a new coat. Antifouling-paint should be applied to impede the progress of bacterial growth. This growth will slow you down and it is especially bad for fiberglass. A paint with copper will do the trick. If you live in a warmer climate, your boat is more susceptible to bacterial growth.
- Winches – make sure to examine and maintain all of the winches by greasing them. It’s an easy do-it-yourself job with a wrench and some grease.
- Rigging – lubricate all the standing and running rigging, either with Teflon or silicon spray. This is to make sure the ball bearings and all the components are in full working order.
- If it’s been a rough and hard season on your rope and lines, you can put them in a soap bucket and gently wash the salt out because salt attracts moisture and dries them out.
- Apply your canvas with mildew repellant and put your dodger up to keep unwanted weather conditions and bacteria out.
- Fogging your engine. Use a WD40 spray or equivalent, it sprays much finer and it fogs all the components by putting an oily substance on the engine that prevents rust from forming.
If you are planning to store your yacht in the water, it is possible even in colder climates. This can be made possible through the use of bubblers. Bubblers are propellers that keep the water moving so that ice is unable to form. It is key to make sure that your yacht is safely secured and your mildew repellants are changed frequently. Lastly, make sure to hang light bulbs that keep warmth in and humidity out.
A wintering contract can usually be set up with your marina through a package deal. That means taking the boat out of the water, winterizing it, pressure washing the bottom, shrink-wrapping it, storing it in a safe place, and then reversing the procedure as soon as the weather breaks the following spring.