top item on your list of stuff to do should be, a
commitment to visit her regularly.
Having a check list of To Do's can help to make sure you don’t
forget anything and keeping the list until spring will help you
remember anything that needs to be undone.
What you put on your list will, clearly depend on your boat, what
equipment she has and how and where she remains for the winter months.
As I have already mentioned top of the list should be a commitment to
drop in to see her as regularly as possible.
And if you take your list with you each time you call, the
‘winterizing’ can be spread over these visits making the process less
of a chore.
Just going on board to potter about, doing a few jobs at a
much more relaxing and enjoyable than trying to get it all done at once.
The added benefit being that as you enjoy her company, opening her up
will allow theair to circulate.
in the temperate zones may not be the best time for boating,
however it is bonanza time for boat-bit thieves.
Among the most common items stolen from boats over the winter are,
outboards, electronics and even outdrives.
The best way to avoid thefts is to remove anything which might tempt an
opportunist thief, if you cannot remove it, lock it.
Adding a personalized marking to equipment will not only help to
identify and recover stolen items but will also make them less
A boat which looks neglected, especially if it has a ‘For Sale’ notice,
is seen by some as almost an invitation to ‘borrow’, another reason why
those regular winterizing visits to your boat can be beneficial.
Even fenders can be tempting but they should also be removed to stop
them scuffing the topsides as they swing in the wind.
Don’t forget the four-legged type of ‘stowaway’, who might decide to
use your boat as a winter retreat, block off any entrances.
And for goodness sake don’t leave a ladder affixed to the boat.
will keep a boat protected and looking good
It will protect her from the rain, sun, bird droppings, leaves and
However you must allow the boat to breathe.
Shrink-wrap is a positive
I can’t even believe that anyone would use shrink-wrap to winterizeon a
boat, on a wooden boat it is a recipe for disaster.
If you wrap her tightly in plastic she is almost sure to
with condensation, encouraging rot to develop.
Although reinforced plastic can be used as a cover, breathable canvas
will allow moisture to evaporate when it is dry and the canvas will
tighten up when it is wet to become water repellent.
The ends must be kept open so air can circulate and moisture escape.
keep the cover in good shape, repair tears, rips and worn spots
before they allow too much damp to damage to the boat.
cover should be held in place with lines from grommets in the edge
of the cover but these should be anchored
to the ground and not to the
boat or chocks.
If there is a windstorm it is better that the cover blows away than the
boat is blown over.
The tie-downs are unlikely to remain tight all winter, so this is
to check on your regular visits.
The cover should be kept clear of the wood using a framework, which
will also help to prevent water from pooling and if possible allow
access to the boat under the cover.
The winterizing frame can be a simple wooden affair providing that
there are no
sharp corners to chaff through the cover.
Another option for frame material is PVC tubing.
It can be bought at any home improvement store, can be cut to length,
bent and comes with a variety of junction, joining and clamping systems.
Custom made covers are more expensive but can be cost
If they fit tightly and have robust tie downs and fasteners this will
prevent flapping and reduce windage.
However, they will need to have adequate vents built in to prevent an
build up of condensation and subsequent mold and mildew.
Wooden boats that remain afloat in salt water will tend to have less
than boats in fresh water.
However, the majority of small
boats are winterized out of the water.
Boats stored on the beach or yard, even during the season should be
propped up on blocks so that they are off the ground at least a few
And cover her so as to keep the worst of the weather off, yet still
allow air to circulate.
Try to keep her away from any shedding trees or where there is tall,
wet grass that may come into contact with the wood.
And avoid keeping her close to an old wooden shed which might be a
breading ground for rot spores.
Whether she is on blocks or on a trailer keep one end raised up to help
Open the drain plug, if there is one, to allow any bilge water to drain.
On the other hand if you are keeping you boat indoors in a garage or
shed, be careful that the wood isn’t allowed to dry excessively.
Wherever you keep her, check her periodically and allow the air to
circulate through the interior.
It can be argued that a hull which is well protected with paint and
varnish is better off without a cover.
will degrade more quickly when exposed.
No matter how thorough your initial winterizing, a wooden boat left to
stagnate is an ideal breeding ground for those rots spores.
While you should keep her clean at all times, it is doubly important
when winterizing, as dirt will retain moisture.
And clean off any barnacles or other marine growth especially off props
and shafts, rudders, struts and trim tabs.
I am perfectly aware that the majority of Wooden Boat aficionados are sensible folk. However, I need to point out that I am an amateur wooden boat enthusiast simply writing in order to try to help other amateur wooden boat enthusiasts. And while I take every care to ensure that the information in DIY Wood Boat.com is correct, anyone acting on the information on this website does so at their own risk.