What do you clear off your boat when winterizing

dhill

Member II
Hi everyone,

When winterizing your boat, what gear, if any, do you leave on the boat? Or do you take everything off? Tools? Plates, cups, and utensils? My inclination is to take everything off. On my smaller boats, I typically leave only the anchor. What is your best practice?

Thanks!
Dave
 

bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
It varies. Around here it never gets all that cold, but things do tend to stay moist and grunge can grow pretty rapidly if allowed.

I keep the vast majority of tools and gear on the boat. I pull off things that might get funky or go bad, so... I pull off most - but not all - food and clothes. I leave a few non-perishable staples (a couple of cans of chowder, etc), my foulies and boots, and some warm stuff (fleece pullover, socks, warm gloves, hats), etc. All the pots and pans and utensils stay on the boat.

I usually bring the v-berth cushions home, mostly because the v-berth becomes a storage area in the winter. I pull, dry and fold the sails, plus most of the lines, before stowing them there. I leave the anchor in the anchor locker but pull, dry and stow the rode.

I prop open the head door and most locker doors, so air can circulate. And then I hang a few "damp-rid' bags around the boat, and plug in a heater that kicks on if the inside temp is below 50F. Between those things, I haven't seen any grunge inside the boat in the past several winters, and - because most stuff is on the boat - I can take advantage of a nice sailing day without it being a huge project to get everything back on the boat.

$.02
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Kinda, what Bruce said.We bring home all of the "soft goods" like all the cushions. I also dry out the water tanks. Tools are left aboard, and for mid winter we have a small temp. controlled electric heater to keep the interior at 38 to 40. I also winterize the engine raw water piping, like the strainer and HE, with the 'pink' RV antifreeze.

The hook that holds the head door securely open about an inch is a great help for air circulation, and was a stock item from EY.
 

Filkee

Member III
I logged in tonight looking to start a fall support group page because the collective disturbance in the force when the lifts get busy is just plain sad. But to the question at hand, up here where winter temps can drop past -20, we do a pretty comprehensive offload (reinforced by a friends recent experience with raccoons nesting). No food winters over, cushions, life jackets, etc. go home with the sails. And the Bimini and the solar panels. Pretty much the only things that stay are tools relevant to whatever winter tasks are planned. I have a little cube space heater that can get me up to 40 degrees or so if I close off the v-berth.
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
Just the sails and the SUP usually. And I get tempted to leave them up because there can be some nice mid-winter sailing. Or snow and ice can blow in and freeze everything in place for six weeks, and I look pretty silly leaving the sails bent on. I've got a garden hose fitting tee'd into the engine intake, and a dedicated short hose and bucket so that I can "winterize" the engine in a couple of minutes and quickly re-winterize it if more cold weather is forecast. I did have a PFD self-inflate one year when I let it get a little too humid on board.

The pump-out station closes for the winter next Friday, so I pumped, flushed, exercised, and emptied all parts of the DWV system yesterday. In previous years, I emptied the freshwater tank and water heater and blew out all the lines. But as long as I have heat inside the boat, I'm not sure that's really necessary. Considering that there won't be a chance to refill the water until next April.

If I'm hauling out, I pretty much strip everything to lighten the load. Including the windvane, the stove, and the anchoring gear. This might not be a bad practice to do from time to time because there is always a bunch of stuff that doesn't ever need to go back. But it generates boxes of "boat stuff" stored in the garage. I was sorely tempted to do that this month but considering other commitments, as well as weather, I don't think I'd be able to actually do many of the projects I have in mind. We'll see how things look in March.
 

Filkee

Member III
Addendum: I also leave the hatch boards out for maximum circulation. I have a cover made of top gun and my diesel mechanic says don’t worry about dehumidifying, just make sure the air can move (its a dry cold on Lake Champlain). I use toe warmers that I steal from my ski racer kids when I go to do projects in Jan/feb.
 

dhill

Member II
Thanks very much for all of the quick responses. Unfortunately, I will not be able to run a heater or dehumidifier all winter (no AC power will be available). Anyone have experience with Kanberra Gel to control mildew/mold? Have also bought plenty of DampRid.

Thanks!
Dave
 

windblown

Member II
We haul out from November thru April, and the boat goes on the hard (with mast up most years) under a full cover. We‘ll get lots of weeks in the twenties, and sometimes colder. We pull all the cushions, sails, life jackets, clothing, towels, Bimini and sail cover, and anything in the galley that’s food or textile. We replace halyards with messenger lines and take most running rigging and dock lines home to hang in the basement. We remove books and games that might mildew. We leave the dishes, flatware, pots and pans, and other hard surface items. We drain the water tanks and put the pink antifreeze in the fresh water system, sinks, ice box, head, and bilges (where we get some snow/rain down the mast. We leave the covers ajar over the icebox and salon/ settee storage areas, because we found some mildew there a couple years ago.We pull anything liquid that might freeze (We forgot some cleaning stuff under the head sink one year). We remove our mfd and VHF, but that’s more for security than winterizing. We leave tools on board for projects. Although we have access to power, we don’t leave it plugged in unless we’re on the boat, working on a project. Because we have the cover, we leave both hatches open a crack for air circulation
 

Second Star

Member III
We remove most cushions and pillows from the boat, perishable food and the sails. The west coast becomes the wet coast over the winter and mould is the enemy here rather than the cold. If water based stuff is left below the waterline then the risk of freezing is low. The potable water lines and tanks are usually good too but we take the pressure off them and leave the valves open. We have limited power so a 5W heated fan for air circ and a couple of damp rid setups are set up. Other wise we are ready to go crabbing under power or .......
We use the boat as a fallback shelter in case of earthquake so a couple of sleeping bags go down along with canned food etc. Propane and other fuels are left onboard as well.
 
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