Wednesday, January 29

An Ounce of Prevention - aka Have you seen your boat lately?

An Ounce of Prevention
By Michele Underwood

During the frigid winter months many of us hibernate in the warm comfort of our homes. Our boating thoughts are memories made and fun times to come.  We all take great care to put our boats away in the fall and its well worth the trouble to check up on our “ladies” in the winter months.  According to the Boat Owners Association of the United States, more commonly know to us as BoatUS, we should follow these five steps to ensure our spring launch goes off without a hitch.

1)      For those of you that store your boat in the water during the winter, make sure that the weight of snow and ice are not causing the above-waterline thru-hulls to become submerged under water. This includes the exhausts on inboard boats.  If you notice that your boat is sitting low in the water use plastic brooms and shovels to remove any ice or snow.  If you use a bubbler system make sure that it is operating properly.

2)      Check to make sure that your boat has not shifted in its jack stands or cradle.  A boat stored on jack stands or on a cradle should sit level.  Boats stored on trailers should rest with the bow slightly up.  Boats over 26 feet should have three jack stands per side and if the ground is dirt or gravel the jack stands should have plywood underneath them for stability.  If you see any type of hull deformities where the boat rests contact your marina staff to adjust the boat.

3)      Boats stored outside should always be covered.  If you opt for tarps over shrink wrap, never tie the tarp to the jack stands, as a strong wind could get up underneath the cover and yank the jack stand out from under the boat.  It is acceptable to tie the tarp to the trailer frame.  It is also important to make sure your cover is properly fitted.  The weight of snow and ice can cause improper covers to sag which allow water to pool and freeze, adding substantial weight stress.  Snow and rain should slide off the cover easily.

4)      Check for water or ice in the bilge.  If present this indicates that there is a leak somewhere.  Try to find the source of the leak and at the least incur a temporary fix.  Thaw the ice in the bilge with nontoxic antifreeze or rock salt and dry thoroughly.  If you cannot fix the leak or remove the water then add antifreeze to prevent damage.

5)      While many boat owners do not winterize their boats when they choose to store in a heated indoor space, it is still a wise consideration.  It is not unusual for blizzards and ice storms to knock out power to large areas over extended periods of time, which can cause storage temperatures to drop dramatically. In case of such an occurrence you can be sure that your boat will not suffer any damage if you took the extra precaution to winterize. 

Here at Crowley’s we monitor everything 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Come in and check on your boat or just stop in to say hello.  If you have concerns at any time but cannot make it over, please don’t hesitate to give us a call and have us double-check your vessel.  

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