Is your boat just sitting outside with no waves to ride this winter? Flordia may not get snow or ice, but it sure can get chilly during this time of year. If you have a boat sitting up north this winter, we have collected helpful tips for boat maintenance and safety for your boat during these cold winter months. And if you are looking for a new service center here in Flordia, click here!
Springfield, Virginia – Storms have hammered the U.S., and many recreational boats are sleeping away the winter under a layer of ice and snow.
If you store your boat outside and haven’t checked up on her lately, the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has five tips for a midwinter checkup that could help prevent an insurance claim, help keep you safe, and also make spring commissioning easier.
If your boat is stored in the water over the winter, never visit alone. Also, let the yard know you’re there. If the boat is stored on land, ensure the ladder (if required to board) is on a solid footing clear of ice, and have a friend hold it while you’re ascending/descending. Securely tie it off at the top.
When aboard, remember the mantra “one hand for yourself” – keeping one hand securely attached to the boat to steady yourself and prevent a fall. Decks may be extremely slippery. Bring a soft broom to help you remove snow.
Tarps and covers put on months ago have had a chance to sag or loosen, potentially allowing moisture aboard. Keeping a tight lid is critical to a smooth spring commissioning and preventing water damage. In a worst-case scenario, a mama raccoon can sneak under a loose cover and maybe dining on your upholstery.
Most insurance policies do not cover vermin damage. For those who DIY cover their boats, ice and snow need to be shed easily and not add tremendous weight that can damage stanchions, windscreens, or trailers.
Go under the winter cover and check enclosed spaces. Replace desiccants with fresh material. Keep lockers and compartments open to reduce mold. Ensure any scuppers and drains remain clear – if your tarp or cover does get damaged by storms, water needs a way out. Using an electric heater in winter can present a significant fire hazard.
If you notice that any jack stands have settled, call the yard or marina. Don’t attempt to move or adjust them yourself. Also, ensure winter cover lines are not tied off to the jack stands as they could be pulled out from under the boat during high winds.