Saturday, June 30, 2012

20 Steps on How to Store Your Boat

Earthling has been hauled out twice in the last three years and every time I have experienced certain challenges and mistakes that could have been prevented. Now I have a list on how to prepare my home unattended on land for a few months. In the cold climates I winterized her, in the Caribbean I call it “hurricanizing”. 

1. Mark the chain plates on the hull so you can tell the yard staff where to set the stands. Make sure your boat is leveled and not leaning more to one side than the other.  I have experienced the hull being pushed in from one of the stands in the past. Ideally you want to rest your boat on a cradle. Earthling’s cradle is in Chicago.

2. Fill water tanks to full, add a capful of bleach to every 30 gallon tank. Fill the fuel tank and add biocide. Keeping the tanks full prevents growth in the tanks and additionally makes the boat heavier so it doesn’t fly away in case of high winds.

3. Strap the boat down, also known as chocking. Four straps should be sufficient, two at the bow and two on the stern. Chain the screw jacks together. On the straps put upside down cones which makes it difficult for rodents to go up the strap.

4. Remove all the canvas; sails, bimini, and dodger. Also uninstall the wind generator blades and solar panels. Anything that can use windage and can become loose on deck such as stanchions or a horseshoe, grill, and solar lights should be removed.

5. Put all electronics away in sealed containers or zip lock bags. If any of the electronics have batteries, remove them and put them in a sealed box. Last year the cd player was damaged from humidity, and batteries in flash lights were corroded. I’ve learned it the hard way, It’s easier to prevent than clean it up!  Also put blankets, pillows, books, and anything that can mold in large sealed space bags. Apply a layer of oil on the vinyl cushions so they don’t crack.

6. Clean and dry the bilge. Put a spoon full of vegetable oil in the head, so it keeps the seals lubricated.

Running the outboard
7. Run the inboard and outboard with fresh water for a few minutes. On the inboard, stick the water hose into the raw water intake, start the engine and wait till the water comes out the exhaust. Then run it for a few minutes till it gets rid of all the salt water in the system, and shut it down. On the outboard, put the prop in a fresh water bucket, run it for a couple minutes, detach the fuel line and wait till the fuel in the system is used up and the engine shuts off. Ideally change the oil, fuel filter, and oil filter and move the impeller on the inboard. Last season the gas in the outboard dried in the carburetor and our Chrysler 6hp outboard didn’t work for a couple months. 

8. Spray protective anti corrosion wax (CRC SP400) on the engine parts such as hose clamps, battery terminals, and anything else that can corrode.

9. Turn battery switch off, but leave the bilge pump. Keep some kind of trickle charge so batteries are topped off! I kept one of the solar panels connected on deck.

Thru hulls covered
10. Tie down the boom. Tie and secure all the halyards and lines on deck. Be sure to have no loose lines on deck!

11. Get rid of any flammables, dinghy gas, lighter fluid and so forth.

12. Close all sea cocks and cover it from below. Don’t cover the cockpit drainage!

13. Cover hatches and windows with canvas. Put aluminum foil on the windows from inside to avoid UV damage and heat inside the cabin.

14. Spray all locks with anti corrosion. I have had to cut at least a few locks upon return to Earthling in the past.

15. Cover or apply a layer of varnish on the exterior wood trims. On the interior wood trims apply some kind of wood oil, we use WD40.

16. Seal places that might leak, such as stanchions, tow rail, hatches, anchor carrier, and so forth. You don’t want any water inside the boat, especially since there is no ventilation. Put some kind of moisture product, humidifier in the cabin to prevent mold.

17. Do not leave any food on the boat. Give away all food including flour, grains, cans, and so forth.
Foil in the windows 

18. Put rat poison in various hidden places. 

19. Right before you leave the boat put a bug bomb in the cabin. You can not return back for hours so that’s the last thing to do. We came back to the boat in Virgin Gorda and had visitors, a family of mice that ate grains through the plastic container, drank some of the fresh water in bottles, and had a party all over the boat. Their poop was evident everywhere. Mice can chew on and destroy boat wires which can be difficult to find in case of electric failure.

20. Earthing does not have a water maker but if you do have one, it should be pickled.
If you feel there is any other important point that is missed, please feel free to advice.

Right now we are unexpectedly in Barbados. This story will be updated within the next few days.

Love from Barbados

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Boat winterizing is never fun. It usually means that summer is on its way out of town and taking your fun on the water with it. The only thing that would be worse would be getting to next spring and finding out that your boat winterization efforts weren't properly executed and your fun on the water will continue its hiatus until your boat is fixed.

    But, don't worry! Boat winterizing isn't difficult if you approach it with a plan. Really, there are two options when it comes time to winterize your boat.