It’s important to winterise the engine to prevent damage from freezing. Some relatively quick and easy tasks can prevent big bills later on. Avon Marina can of course assist with each and every one of these services & source supply any specific items you need.
- Change the oil: new oil will prevent internal corrosion and protect the engine as it sits there over winter.
- When the boat’s ashore you should flush through the engine’s raw water cooling system, as salty water could slowly corrode it over winter. Close the inlet seacock and flush some fresh water through the engine while it is running – either by using a hose, or pouring it in from a jug. Once you’ve done this, pour in some antifreeze solution and stop the engine. If the boat is ashore, check with the yard beforehand to make sure the engine’s vibrations won’t shake the supports loose.
- If you have a closed-circuit cooling system, check the antifreeze level and top it up as necessary.
With the boat out of the water, what are the essentials to prevent frost damage when it turns cold?
- If you haven’t already done so, on a sailing boat remove the sails – especially furling jibs which can flog loose in high winds and cause damage to yours and other boats in a packed boatyard.
- Wash, bail and dry the bilges and cockpit lockers with fresh water. If salty, they’ll attract moisture from the air and never dry properly.
- Make sure the scuppers are clear, so as to stop water pooling and freezing on the deck. Ensure the cockpit drains are also clear: this will be a regular task in the winter as they tend to clog up with leaves if there’s a tree nearby.
- Take the batteries home, if you can, to prevent them from being damaged by the cold. If this isn’t possible, try to keep them trickle-charged – a small solar panel is ideal for this.
- Take vulnerable items such as danbuoys and lifebuoys home, or keep them in a locker to stop them degrading.
- Flush your seacocks through to remove the salt, and grease them. It’s better to do this now rather than when they’ve seized up later in the winter. If you have traditional, Blakes-style seacocks, remove the barrels to stop them seizing up.
- Make sure the boat is well ventilated down below, or has a dehumidifier and/or heater to counteract the chill.
- If you’re conscientious about winter maintenance, your reward will be a quick launch in the spring—instead of time spent stuck on the hard standing!