Boat care in winter – all you need to know

Between freezing, rust, and corrosion, there’s a lot of damage that the colder months can cause to boats if left unprotected. But where do you start when it comes to caring for your boat in winter? 

Here’s what you need to know about caring for your boat this winter… 

1. Winterise your boat’s motor 

Winterising your boats motor will help protect it from anything that cold weather tries to throw it’s way. This process typically involved flushing out the motor with fresh water, using antifreeze, topping up your transmission fluid, and applying some fogging oil for good measure. 

If you’re unsure about any of these steps, you can check them out in more detail in our winterising your outboard blog.

2. Check & charge the battery 

Your boat needs power to run, so you’ll want to ensure you check the condition of your battery and see that it’s fully charged for the winter months. 

Check that the battery and it’s terminals are still in good condition; if they appear worn or damaged, it might be time for a new battery. If they still seem in working order, we still recommend lightly coating the battery terminals and cable ends with grease to keep them lubricated. 

Again, if you’re not planning to use your boat in winter, then remove the battery from the boat and keep it in a safe place until you are ready to use the boat again. 

3. Check for leaks 

A simple way to check if your boat has any leaks before you head out on the water is to make use of your boat’s bung hole. By putting air into it after cleaning your boat with water, you might be able to spot bubbles appearing on certain parts of the boat. These are signs of a leak, so make sure you check these places.

If you do find a leak, what you’ll need will depend on the size of the hole. Smaller gaps can be sealed with marine sealant, while larger ones may require replacing the fittings. 

4. Store sensitive materials 

If you were to rummage through your boat, you’ll more than likely find something that shouldn’t be kept in there if you’re planning to leave your boat over winter.

We’re not just talking about relocating food and drink, you’ll also want to remove cushions, blankets and any other fabrics that could be prone to damp and mould. Don’t forget to remove essentials if you’re putting your boat away for winter- life jackets and fire extinguishers should also be stored away safely. 

Make sure that you also remove all electronics, since these are easily damaged with extreme cold, and wrap exposed cable ends with electric tape. Store electronics in a warn, dry place as with the battery. 

5. Store your boat safely 

While winter boating is an option. many of us are more likely to simply pack away our boat and wait for the warmer months to come around again. While not a bad idea, it is a bad idea to not take the proper steps when it comes to storing your boat during winter. 

Don’t think you can just leave your boat on the water over winter. You’ll want to store your boat on land and ideally in a covered building such as a canopy or a garage. If this isn’t possible, invest in a boat cover to help protect it from the harsh weather. 

If you live in a particularly humid location, you might also want to consider using a dehumidifier inside your boat to help reduce the risk of mould. 

Care for your boat this winter

You can find more information on boat care and keeping safe with our guide on boat safety gear, as well as our guide to boat checks before heading out on the water.