FROM THE BoatU.S. INSURANCE FILES BY BOB ADRIANCE
SIX COMMON MISTAKES SKIPPERS MAKE
WHEN WINTERIZING BOATS
Why boats get damaged during winter, and how to protect them
ABOATU.S. MEMBER IN RYE BEACH, NEW HAMPSHIRE, reports that whenever he winterizes his boat, he always feels a mixture of regret and apprehension. Regret because he must bid adieu to yet another boating season. Apprehension because he always has a vague feeling he’s forgotten to do something — something
important that could wreck the boat.
Winter isn’t kind to skippers who are absent-minded. Engines get ruined. Boats sink.
Seaworthy examined 40 BoatU.S. Insurance claim files to discover the most common mistakes
skippers, absent-minded or otherwise, make when they winterize their boats. Hopefully, the
following list will jog a few memories and avoid a lot of unnecessary anxiety.
FAILURE TO DRAIN
2Of the 40 claims that made up the survey, which state would you guess had the most freeze-related
claims? New York? Maine? Vermont? Guess
again. Balmy California had more winterizing claims than any other state, including any of the “deep-freeze” states. While
winters may be much colder in the deep-freeze states, the bitter temperatures are a
fact of life and preparations for winter are
taken very seriously. But in more temperate
states, such as California, Florida, Texas,
trickling in through the ruptured strainers.
In the remaining four claims involving sea
strainers, the boats began sinking as soon as
the ice thawed because the intake seacocks
had not been closed.
FAILURE TO DRAIN WATER FROM SEA STRAINER
1Seven of the 40 insurance claims were related to an often overlooked piece of hardware down in the boat’s bilge called a sea strainer. A sea strainer is located in the engine’s raw- water intake line to filter out debris before it gets to the engine. If the engine is winterized
by opening petcocks to drain water out of the block and manifold, the strainer must also be
drained or residual water could freeze and rupture the watertight seal. In three of the strainer-related claims, the boats sank when the seacocks were opened in the spring and water began
OCTOBER | NOVEMBER 2011 BoatU.S. Magazine | 00 – 50 DEGREE ANTIFREEZE WON’T STOP FREEZING AT THAT TEMP. THE NUMBER REFERS TO THE TEMP AT WHICH A
COPPER PIPE FILLED WITH ANTIFREEZE WILL BURST. - 50 ANTIFREEZE WILL START TO FREEZE AT ABOUT 12 DEGREES.