This winter is proving to be one of the windiest on record. Is your boat ready for what the elements have to offer? Here are some tips and suggestions to help keep your boat safe and out of harm’s way during the winter months:
- On a mooring use both thick and slightly elasticated rope as this will give strength and let the boat move with ease in challenging wind and sea states.
- Anti-chafe tubes are great and can be made out of old pipes or rags. This doesn’t cost much but could save you lots of money and worry in the long run.
- Add an extra / looser line onto the mooring buoy to the boat as a safety net. If anything does happen it will catch the boat before it drifts off. Chain can be used as well but makes sure it’s not going to chafe or hit the boat.
- Tie away all the lines on the mast to stop rubbing and damage. This is especially important on wooden masts. It is also ‘the done thing’ in marinas as in wind the lines can be very noisy when hitting the masts!
- Double-check all lines, chains and shackles and ensure they are up to the job and are not going to chafe or wear down where they are lying on the boat.
- If you are in a marina, make sure your fenders are pumped up and you have them at slightly different levels to protect the boat if she heals over because of the wind or if she is bouncing around in some swell.
- Remove everything on deck to reduce windage and remove anything that could blow away and get lost.
- Take down sails, you don’t want them unfurling and then flapping around getting shredded.
- Dehumidifiers are great if you are in a marina or in a boat yard. They help prevent mould growing in those hard to reach places and give you more time to enjoy the boat rather than constantly cleaning her.
- Make sure your seacocks are shut and the drainage holes on deck are clear of debris as you don’t want a cockpit full of leafy water!
- If you are in a marina and know your neighbours ask them to keep an eye on the boat if you are away and vice versa. With an extra set of eyes it’s nice to know that she’s being looked after, especially if you can’t get down and there are reports of wind and rain.
- Make sure your bilge pump is on automatic, your float switch is working and it’s in a good place to collect the most amount of unwanted water.
- If you have a cover make sure it is fitted well and tied down securely as you don’t want big pockets filled with water or it to flap around in the wind.
- Make sure your electric cable has room to move if the boat is moving around in the marina. You don’t want that pulling out.
- Hatches are notorious for dripping; why not try putting some petroleum jelly on them and then taping them up either inside or out. This will protect the seals from the elements and cold snaps and hopefully give them a longer life span and stop the drips in the winter months.
Taking care of these elements will hopefully let you sleep a bit better when the wind is whistling and the rain is pouring!
Always remember to stay safe when moving around the boat in bad weather. We are always here to help with any questions or issues you may have so call us on 01326 374309 or email us.