Nautical Expert

Motorboat magazine

Preparing the boat for winter storage

Preparing the boat for winter storage

Updated on May 1st, 2024

If your yacht will winter in high latitudes, then a dry heated boathouse would be the best option for storing it. Conservation is best left to professionals, but of course small boat owners tend to do their own maintenance to avoid additional costs. In addition, boats are not even always pulled ashore and are often left on the water. The more severe the storage conditions of the yacht, the more careful the conservation must be.

There are very detailed and step-by-step checklists, but most yacht owners ignore them and limit themselves to only the most important steps when preparing for winter.

Here is what you must do:

1. If the yacht will spend the winter on the water, then check all the mooring lines, stretch additional ones and protect the wear points with rubber hoses.

2. Remove everything that can be removed from the yacht, especially items that can accumulate moisture.

3. Leave lockers, refrigerators and bilge decks open. Naturally, remove all easily accessible food from the yacht.

4. Flush the toilet with fresh water. Clean, disinfect and deodorize the tank, then leave it empty and dry.

5. Empty all water tanks, including heaters. Drain water from pipes and pumps.

6. For greater safety, many yachtsmen burn the remaining gas in the galley. But, at a minimum, check and close the cylinder valve.

7. If there is a need for automatic activation of the bilge pump, check the operation of the charge controller and solar panels. If possible, install them at an angle to avoid snow accumulation.

8. Clean and lubricate the battery terminals, check the battery capacity and integrity. If the yacht does not require power, then disconnect all terminals and store the batteries half charged.

9. Disconnect all unnecessary electrical equipment and cables from the on-board network that can cause electricity leakage.

10. Create optimal conditions for the ventilation of the boat to prevent dampness and mold. Often, some yachts require refinement associated with the installation of additional hatches and air pipes on the deck.

11. Remove signal flares and anything that could be a potential fire hazard from the boat.

12. On a sailboat, flush standing rigging and swivels with fresh water.

13. Remove the running rigging, also rinse with fresh water, dry and hang in the cabin or at home.

14. If possible, remove navigation instruments and chartplotters. Take them home.

15. Ideally, install an automatic thermostatically controlled oil heater on board, setting it to the minimum level to drain below deck space.

16. Remove anchor from bow roller.

17. Carry out maintenance and preservation of the engine.

18. Leave a note in a conspicuous place stating that you have taken everything of value from the yacht and there is nothing to take there.