Cleaning your boat for winter
October is almost upon us, and here in the UK the colder, wetter weather has certainly started creeping in.
With some choosing to boat late into the year, and some deciding it’s too cold to be enjoyable (or finding plans hindered by locks closing for the season), there are a few things you must be doing in terms of cleaning to prepare your boat for the harsher weather – your future self will thank you!
Winter boat-cleaning checklist
1. Give your boat a thorough clean
For most, monthly boat cleans are a must, with a thorough pre-winter wash-down a given, while to others cleaning your boat for winter may seem nonsensical – why clean her when she will only get dirtier!
Whether you are planning to get out on the water over the colder months or not, a clean and cared-for boat will certainly endure the winter weather better than a dirty one, and will come out better on the other end, reducing preparation time for getting back out on the water come spring.
For that thorough winter clean, ensure to give the hull, superstructure, deck, bilge and everything in between a proper wash with quality marine cleaning products, including boat cleaner, lime scale remover, cutting paste and compounds. This may be the time that you notice and address any issues with the boat’s sealant, canvas and fibreglass as well.
We’ve covered top tips for boat cleaning previously in our blog, so be sure to take a look.
2. Wax once, and wax again
Although waxing your boat is a labour-intensive job, winter is the time when it simply must be done!
Waxing (not once, but twice for a stunning finish) will help to seal and protect your newly cleaned boat from cold snaps and fluctuating temperatures, shielding the gel coat from dulling and surfaces from unnecessary damage to give an excellent shine.
We’ve covered boat waxing before in our blog, recommending it optimal to wax three times a year – typically in March, July and November. On hot and sunny days, washing and waxing should usually be carried out in the evenings, or left to a cooler day to avoid smears and imperfections – less of a problem in the UK at this time of year!
3. Prepare the boat’s systems for colder temperatures
With temperatures often dipping close to or below freezing during the UK winter, it’s vital to clean and flush out your boat’s holding tanks and cooling systems with fresh water to remove any salt, dirt, and grime build-up. It’s now time to add anti-freeze to your coolant system.
Outboard motors should also be cleaned and flushed through with fresh water and left to dry to protect them from freezing and becoming damaged.
4. Fill her up!
As with planes, trains and automobiles, it’s a good idea to keep your boat’s fuel tank filled for winter storage in UK climes to avoid too much condensation forming due to fluctuating temperatures.
When preparing for winter, fuel filters should be changed, and marine fuel stabiliser added to keep things… stable. Once this is all done, be sure to cover her up.
Now is a great time to get your boat detail cleaned by the professionals to save yourself time and money on expensive products and tools, and ensure no steps are missed. Get in touch for that helping hand.