During the winter the cold and damp weather can quickly cause a lot of damage to your boat, this can be costly and time consuming to rectify when you come to use your boat again. Below we have a few ideas of how you can protect your boat from the strains winter weather keeping your boat in the best possible condition.

Winter Covers.
Covering the deck and cockpit of your yacht or boat helps stops green algae growing on decks and running rigging which, you have not removed, it keeps varnish and woodwork out of the elements and in better condition. It also means the whole boat, including down below, will be dryer and warmer with less damage from ice and rain.  Although your covers will need to be made of tough material to withstand the winter season you do not need to invest in a full expensive cover, a substantial tarpaulin over the cockpit and coach roof will make a big difference without costing too much.

Heater and de-humidifier.
Putting a small heater and/or de-humidifier aboard over the winter months ensure the interior of your boat will stay dry and stop mould forming. Green house heaters are a good option to put a steady low heat through the boat, choose one with a thermometer and put it on a low setting or combine it with a timer to come on for a few hours a day. To really keep your boat dry combine your heater with a dehumidifier, again on a low setting or with a timer, ideally this should be set up with a pipe going into a sink so that it can run for as long as needed with out its tank filling up.

Sails and Running rigging.
Removing your sails, covers and running rigging will help keep it in good condition and also gives you a good chance to inspect it carefully for any areas which are in need of repair or replacement. You can ask your local riggers/sailmakers do this for you and store your rigging/sails over the winter, if you prefer to do this yourself you can take them home to store somewhere dry or if you have a good heater and de humidifier on board you can simply store them in the cabin of your yacht where they will stay dry until the spring.

Winterise your boat’s engine.
If you are hauling out your boat or won’t be using her over the winter it is important to winterise your engine. To do this you should: Fill your diesel tank to the brim to stop condensation forming in the tank, change the oil and oil filters in your engine, drain your cooling system and replace with anti-freeze, check the gearbox or outdrive oil and replace if it looks cloudy.  (For more information on winterising your engine check out these tips from the RYA: https://www.rya.org.uk/newsevents/e-newsletters/up-to-speed/Pages/top-tips-for-effective-winterising.aspx ) 

Remove fabric and Linens.
If possible, remove upholstery, cushions and curtains from the accommodation of your boat and take home or store somewhere dry. Fabrics will be the first things to grow mould and can become very damp over the winter. If you can’t take all your cushions off the boat standing them on their sides to allow airflow around them, combined with a cabin heater and de humidifier, will help keep them as dry as possible.