Winterizing Your Boat

Welcome to the first edition of the Port Alberni Port Authority’s regular tips and information article, For those of you familiar with my previous articles, we appreciate you reading these. For our new readers: welcome aboard! I look forward to providing enlightening and timely articles that will provide you with specific and helpful information of a marine nature, as well as information about the operations of the Port Alberni Port Authority.
It seems like just yesterday that summer 2010 finally arrived but as the early season “wet coast” storms have reminded us already, we all need to prepare for everything Mother Nature has to throw our way this winter. Also, as some meteorological predictions are telling us, we may be in for the most severe La Nina winter conditions this part of the world has seen since the 1950s. So, courtesy of Port Alberni Port Authority Manager of Marina Services, Mike Carter (Jr.), here are some basic tips every boater should follow to prepare their vessels for the winter*
If you keep your vessel stored out of the water you should:
• For inboard engines that are raw-water cooled, be sure to drain the water or, if not raw-water cooled, ensure your engine has the proper mixture of antifreeze
• Leave the plug out
• Grease fittings appropriately
• Leave leg down so as not to fill with rain water
• If your vessel is not covered overhead use a tarp and ensure rain water does not pool
• If using a light bulb or other means to provide heat inside your vessel ensure adequate air flow
If you store your vessel in the water you should:
• Be sure the batteries are charged
• Test the vessel’s automatic bilge
• Set the docking lines and fenders to allow for inclement weather
• Secure canopies/canvas/tarps to be leak free and resistant to catching the wind
• Check your vessel regularly
*All boaters should also consult their vessel’s operator’s manuals for guidelines specific to their particular manufacturer specifications.
As always, I appreciate thoughtful ideas for future articles. Also, I encourage any person who has a question about Port operations to contact us directly rather than through print or electronic media. Unfortunately, it is possible that we may miss the question and, further, it is neither practical nor timely to respond to each and every letter to the editor or on web forums.