INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING, FROM OUR BOATU.S. MARINE INSURANCE FILES
then check the strength and level of
antifreeze in the reservoir. If you have a
generator, follow the same basic recommendations listed above, plus any special
items called out by the unit’s manual or
required by your particular installation.
FRESHWATER SYSTEM: Such a system is extremely prone to freeze damage,
resulting in cracked fittings, split hoses,
and worse. Drain the entire freshwater system (including the head, galley,
and icemakers) and/or add a solution
of nontoxic antifreeze for potable water.
Draining eliminates the need to flush
the system of antifreeze afterward, but be
sure to remove all water from the system
(inside pumps, low points in the hose
runs) to prevent freeze damage. Using
low-pressure compressed air – or even
lung power – to purge the lines works
well for this. You’ll also want to drain the
water heater and any gray-water sumps
(shower). Check the manuals regarding
antifreeze for all applications; some components may be damaged by what you use.
SANITATION SYSTEM: Properly dump
and clean portable, self-contained toilets.
Flush and completely pump out permanently installed toilets and holding tanks.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
for additional winterization guidance.
Drain or purge all water, including the
raw-water strainer. An alternative is to
flush the system with antifreeze; just be
sure the entire system is protected (the
seacock, strainer, pump, and all downstream plumbing).
CANVAS: Remove all canvas (including
bimini tops and curtains) where appropriate and store ashore. Don’t wait until
it’s too cold to do this, as the material
may crack or be too stiff. Ensure that any
canvas or covers left in place are robust
enough to withstand high winds, ice,
and snow. In many parts of the country,
storm winds exceed what a bimini top is
designed to endure.
SAILS: Remove and stow sails ashore to
prevent damage. If you can’t, securely lash
them in place to prevent unfurling/flog-ging. A flogging sail can damage not only
your rig but also your neighbor’s.
Check the condition of cradles, support
blocks, and jackstands. Ensure that each
is positioned properly and that your boat
is properly supported.
Place strong, stable plywood sheets
under jackstand bases, and ensure that
safety chains are in use. Boats can rock
in high winds, causing unchained jackstands to move and allowing the boat to
fall. Make sure your boat is level, to promote proper drainage. Never tie covers
to jackstands or support blocks. Flapping
canvas can yank them out in high winds,
causing the boat to topple over. Remove
all bilge drain plugs.
BOATS STORED ON A TRAILER:
Move your boat to the safest location
possible (e.g., indoors, or away from
flood-prone areas). Park them away
from trees to avoid scupper-clogging
leaves as well as damage from falling
tree branches. Clean the cockpit of
debris, such as leaves, that could clog
scupper drains, remove all bilge drain
plugs, and ensure that all scupper drain
This month, we bring our entire membership the benefits of our Seaworthy newsletter in an expanded format. Instead of
only BoatU.S. marine insurance customers
receiving the printed newsletter four times a
year, now all BoatU.S. members will receive
invaluable safety information six times a
year, in every issue of BoatU.S. Magazine.
EDITED BY CHARLES FORT
86 Get your boat through a storm
89 Anatomy of a nor’easter
90 Enter, the danger detectors
93 Prevent mold and mildew
96 BOATER’S ALERT! Be on the
lookout for these danger signs