Jones Boat Chandlery's top winterisation tips for returning to a pleasant boat in the spring...
It's an unfortunate truth that the boating season has to come to an end at some point and as October turns to November, the days draw in and the shops begin to loop the inevitable Christmas playlist it's about time to stop thinking about winterising your boat and get on and do it.
Properly winterising your boat is an incredibly important process for protecting your engine and plumbing from frost damage as well as reducing the risk of condensation creating mould, mildew and bad odours in your boat's interior.
A well winterised craft and effective moisture control will ensure not only that any unnecessary damage is avoided but that as soon as the weather turns and the first warm days of spring arrive you are ready to get back out and enjoy your boat again without delay.
Here at Jones Boat Chandlery we have put together our top moisture control tips for winterising your boat's interior to ensure you return to a pleasant boat in the spring whether wintering ashore or in the water...
Remove soft furnishings (and anything else on board your boat!)
It's very important to remove as much as possible from your boat over winter, including food, clothes, bedding etc. to give moisture as little chance as possible to condense and collect.
Especially important is soft furnishings; cushions, bedding, carpets and anything else soft will attract and hold moisture and if left will quickly encourage the growth of mould and mildew and the bad odour causing bacteria that comes with this.
If you have enough room for storage take as much as you can off your boat, including carpets if they come up, and store in a dry well ventilated area. If you have limited storage space remove as much as possible and ensure anything that can't be removed is positioned to allow air to circulate freely around and away from surfaces on which water could condense and accumulate.
If you have lots of soft headlinings etc that can't be removed try August Race Boat Bomb, a new product designed to attack the mould and bacteria that cause bad odours leaving a fresh smelling cabin.
Removing as much as you can from the boat will prevent any excess moisture in the air being trapped into cushions and other soft materials, greatly reducing the overall humidity of the environment and reducing the risk of bad odours.
Allow air to circulate freely in your boat
Try to allow air to circulate as freely as possible throughout your boat by leaving interior doors ajar and ventilators open.
As well as this most 12v fridges have a ventilation lock which will hold the fridge door slightly ajar preventing the build up of condensation and funky odours.
If you have a woodburning stove remember to give it a good clean and leave the door ajar and all vents fully open to prevent rust caused by condensation.
Invest in a dehumidifier
The kindest thing you can do for your boats interior over winter is buy it an electric dehumidifier. The best feature an adjustable humidistat allowing the unit to cycle on and off automatically regulating the humidity at the desired level. As well as this most are also supplied with a length of flexible hose you can trail to the sink making the unit self draining and meaning it really requires very little attention.
Also available are small reusable moisture traps which use crystals to extract moisture from the air and deposit it in a tray below. Whilst effective these require more attention than an electric dehumidifier as the traps have to be regularly emptied and the crystals replaced. They are most effective in small spaces such as cupboards, toilets or small cabins.
Visit your boat regularly throughout winter
Even after following the most comprehensive winterisation processes it is still essential to visit your boat regularly throughout the winter. This not only allows you to make routine checks, such as fastening down winter covers and tarpaulins, but also means you are more likely to spot potential issues such as leaks or pools of condensation before they have the chance to cause major damage.
If you follow these basic steps; remove as much as you can from the boat, make sure air can pass freely throughout and install adequate moisture control on board you give yourself the best chance of returning to a pleasant boat in spring. Most importantly by spending the time to properly winterise your boat you greatly reduce the risk of damage caused by condensation which can be both costly and cause you to be making tedious repairs in the spring instead of cruising.