Temperatures are starting to drop - it’s time to prepare your boat for its winter rest. Every spring we are inundated with frustrated boat owners who can’t get out and enjoy the water because they overlooked winter lay-up, so act now before the bad weather really sets in.
Your engine needs protection from damp, corrosion, frost and sub-zero temperatures over the coming months. The damp river climate creates unpleasant mildew smells and hard to remove mould marks, and the plumbing and water systems are susceptible to damage from the cold.
Our top ten tips for winter lay-up
- Top up the anti-freeze and coolant – vital for surviving winter – and get the right one for your engine
- Use an automatic dehumidifier or dehumidifier crystals to help control the excessive humidity that leads to musty odours, stains or corrosion
- Invest in a battery saver. Even when your boat is idle, the battery loses power daily to the atmosphere until it’s flat. A lightweight fold-up solar panel is ideal, connecting directly to the battery
- Protect fuel from microbial contamination (diesel bug) and fuel degradation with treatment such as Marine 16 Diesel Fuel Complete. Brown, slimy diesel bug can thrive over winter and cause major engine problems – prevention is better than cure!
- Check your ropes and docklines are in good condition with no signs of fraying, and replace if necessary ahead of winter storms
- Remove soft furnishings and store them somewhere warm and dry to prevent mould/smells
- Your moored boat can be rocked by motion or winds and take on water. An automatic bilge pump float switch will ensure any bilge water is removed efficiently
- Use an aerosol waterproofing treatment for fabrics exposed to the elements
- Protect metal parts with a spray-on non-greasy corrosion block or guard
- A slimline heater on your boat prevents dampness, condensation and freezing – modern ones feature energy saving thermostatic control making them safe, cheap and clean to run.
And don’t forget your gloves, hat and neck warmer >
Service and winterise together: book your boat in now
We recommend completing the annual oil change and service in the autumn, at the same time as frost/moisture protecting the engine. A service will highlight any issues with the engine that can be solved over the winter months giving you optimum use in the spring and summer. Laying up the engine ensures there is no threat from water left in the cooling system that might freeze, expand and cause damage.
Engine protection starts at £96 for up to a 4-cylinder single inboard engine and £24 for onboard systems. Call 01932 247 427 for details or book online – especially if you’re planning to be on the river for Christmas Day.
Visit Lindon Lewis Marine at Shepperton Marina or shop at our online chandlery to prepare your boat this winter. We can point you in the direction of anti-freeze/coolant, moisture traps, dehumidifiers, bar heaters, fuel stabiliser, fogging oil and engine service parts.