Winter care for your boat

Winter care for your boat

If you’re not planning on sailing over the winter months, take some time to put your boat to bed until the warmer weather returns.

You can't expect to pack your boat away for months of harsh weather without problems. By spending an hour bedding it down properly, you can be sure that next season it will be ready to go, without repairing the damage the winter has caused.

If you don’t winterise your boat properly, you’ll soon discover when spring arrives, that your boat could have paid the price. Read on for our tips on keeping your boat in tip top condition over winter.


Your engine is the most important and expensive item on your boat.  Unfortunately, it is also the dirtiest job to do, so it’s far better to take care of your boat’s engine first. Dirty oil will stagnate throughout the winter, so you need to change the oil and filter.

You’ll also need to drain the engine’s cooling system by opening the coolant drain at the lowest point. If it’s a closed system, fill with antifreeze and water solution. If it’s an open system, flush it with clean water.  If you have a carburettor, drain the gas and fill the tank with fuel stabiliser.


Ensure any tank used for toilet waste is pumped as dry as possible. Unless you can remove the tank easily, get a professional boatyard to carry this out for you. Always deodorise the tank.  Marine shops offer specialised deodorisers made for this.

Clear the Boat

Any items left on your boat over winter will inevitably collect moisture and mildew. Remove life jackets, cushions, sails and anything which could be affected and store in indoors.

Cupboards and hatches If you are storing your boat inside, keep all the hatches and storage cupboards open.  If you’re boat is staying outside, you’ll need to ensure that all openings are firmly closed.

Cleaning your boat

Give the boat a good wash before you tuck it up for the winter months - rinse rope and blocks in fresh water to rinse out salt particles, clean away any dirt and remove any loose ropes or sheets. It's always best to remove the sails, and put them somewhere dry like a garage.

If you don’t plan to sail over the winter, it's the perfect opportunity to start on those repairs you've been putting off, and get ready for new season.

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