It’s that time of the year again where many of our berth holders will be thinking about getting their boat ready for the colder months to come. To help you prepare for winter, we speak to Milford Marina berth holders Rose, Simon and Will who give us some of their top tips…
Make sure your boat is properly secured to the pontoon cleats and even double up on lines in times of severe weather conditions!
With winter comes unpleasant weather conditions, by properly securing plenty of fenders on both sides of your vessel with two round turns and two half hitches, it will give your vessel extra protection.
If you’re planning to leave your boat for the winter period, ensure you empty your drinking water tank before you depart, this will not only lighten your vessel creating less strain on both your boat and the boat hoist if you’re being lifted out into the on-site boatyard but also help avoid harmful bacteria and prevent fittings being damaged by any freezing conditions.
Upon return, remember to flush out the drinking water tank and pipes, and change any filters as required.
In the winter, condensation and damp are your worst enemy and de-humidifiers are your best friend!
Ventilation is especially important and helps eliminate condensation, try to leave a hatch open whenever you can if possible (if it's not too cold or rainy) as it's very important to have air circulating to prevent things getting damp and mouldy.
To help with condensation you can find on your windows or ports, it's a good idea to fill some small pots with rock salt and leave them on the windowsills, this will help draw in some of the moisture away from the windows.
To minimise condensation in your fuel systems, you should keep your fuel tank(s) as full as possible, the same applies to separate heating tanks that power diesel heaters. For added safety, check that your outside filler cap is secure so no rainwater can ingress.
Winterise your engine(s)! Use the quieter months to service the engine and change the oil and filter so you’ll be well prepared for the next boating season.
Dinghies, flags, warps, life rafts, oars, surfboards, covers etc. should all be secured or stowed away during the winter weather to avoid loss or damage.
Ensure your halyards are secured away from your mast and boom to avoid loud clanging and unnecessary wear and tear. If you want to prolong the life of your halyards, why not attach a rope, and send the halyard right up to the top where it will then be protected inside your mast and out of the winter weather or remove them altogether along with your sheets.
If you’re leaving your vessel over winter, then remember to turn off all the Seacocks including the engine inlet, sea toilet inlet and outlet, and any other seacocks below the waterline. Don’t forget to turn them back on next season!
Check that your bilge areas are clear and ensure no objects can stop your float switch or block the bilge pump pipe system.
Make sure the Marina Office have your up-to-date contact information.
We hope that you find these winter tips helpful but note that this list is not exhaustive, each boat is different so your boat’s features may differ and require additional checks. For more information on winterising your vessel, check out the RYA’s top tips.
If you require a lift out during the winter period, please book a boat lift by using the online form, please note that winter is a busy period for boat lifts.