Your Winter Lay-Up Checklist
If your boat isn’t going to be used for a few months, protect it from
the elements. Here are tips for better off-season storage
Fill fuel tanks (to 95% full to allow
for expansion) and add stabilizer or
Before the last pumpout, add a
treatment product to clean out heads
Winterize head and holding tank
according to owner’s manuals.
Winterize fresh-water system:
Two methods: 1) Add nontoxic antifreeze. Turn on one tap at a time until
antifreeze-colored water flows out,
then turn off. Repeat with each tap. 2)
Drain the fresh-water system: Open all
taps and let tank run dry, then disconnect water lines at fresh-water pump.
Disconnect all water lines at the
lowest points or blow water out of
the system using compressed air.
Clean bilges, then pump dry.
Cover boat, leaving ends
open for ventilation.
Power-wash the bottom.
Wash hull and deck. Be sure
cockpit scuppers drain freely.
Remove growth from shafts,
struts, outdrives, and trim tabs.
Thoroughly check hull
for damage or blisters and
inspect all external fittings.
and cooling system.
Remove all fresh- and seawater-
pump impellers so they don’t take a set.
Clean refrigerator or ice box using
warm water and baking soda.
Winterize air conditioner, refrigerator,
ice machine, deck wash-down, and
any other water-using equipment.
Wash lines, place in pillowcases in
a washing machine with cold water and
a little detergent, or soak in a tub.
Top up batteries, fully charge, and
disconnect if leaving them on the boat.
Wax hull and deck (except non-skid). Buff now as some waxes harden
if left on and are difficult to remove.
Drain shower sump and hot-water
Check electrical connections
for corrosion and spray with a
Apply a coat of metal polish to
stanchions and all deck hardware.
Strip the interior, remove all perish-
ables, personal items, all paper products.
Remove any bottles or jars that can freeze.
Jack up trailer and securely
block the frame.
Wipe interior wood surfaces with
a diluted bleach-and-water mixture
Empty cockpit lockers and clean
and spray with a mildewcide.
Check fire extinguishers.
Inspect and lubricate seacocks, steering systems, and all other moving parts.
Remove cushions and mat-
tress or tip on side if left onboard.
Supply fresh air, leave hatches and
ports open a crack, disconnect all hoses
and open seacocks, slightly open oven
and refrigerator doors (or ice box lid),
leave open all cabin and locker doors
and lift up floorboards to air the bilge.
Hand-wash sails in warm water using
a mild detergent, let dry thoroughly and
store in a cool, dry place, or have them
cleaned and repaired by a sail loft.
Remove electronics and store in a
warm, dry place.
Place packets of silica gel
inside lockers and cabinets.
Cover mast end and engine vents to
prevent unwanted critters from nesting.
Remove all canvas and sails
for dry storage ashore.
Designate a storage place
ashore for all your boat gear.
Remove anything you want
to work on at home.
Make a checklist of things
to do before spring!
Leave bottom hull cleaning for spring;
algae and scum are often easier to remove
if left over the winter to die and dry out
(one area where procrastinating works).
This article was originally published in Mad Mariner’s DIY Boat Owner Magazine.
Check out the Launch & Haul-Out CD-ROM full of articles on this topic at www.DIY-Boat.com