Boo Hoo It’s That Time of Year Again!
unfortunately it's that time of year when some boaters are thinking about
closing their boats up for the winter season.
Many people only use their narrow
boats as holiday homes. Once the summer months are over they decide it's
time to go home, and therefore need to winterise their boats in order to leave them safely over the winter
you decide to live aboard over the winter then its pretty much business as usual. Take a look at your radiators, keel and water systems as you may need to
add some additional anti-freeze to keep them in good working order over the
colder months. You may also want to stock up on fuel for your log burner.
simple instructions to leave your boat as safely as possible over the winter
months, whilst you return to the land until the better weather arrives in the
Things You Should Do:
a narrowboat is basically preparing your boat for the bad weather that the
winter months will bring. It is vital to protect the interior and exterior from
the cold weather so the boat is not damaged in any way whilst being left empty
and unlived in over the winter months.
If you haven’t
already invested in a narrow boat canopy to protect the decking, then we highly
recommend doing so. It’s really worth the investment, as a canopy will protect the
deck from leaves and debris which can cause damage, and most importantly will
keep the deck watertight!
We have recommended
this top tip before, but by simply cleaning and polishing the topsides you will protect
your boats surface, by stopping mould and organic growth occurring on the boats
exterior deck and keep it clean and undamaged. If plant roots are allowed to get
attached to your boat they expand and cause the woodwork to crack which may
lead to leaks.
the side of your boat you want to protect the hull from the sheets of ice that
passing boats create when passing which then hit the sides of moored boats.
Simply hang a wooden board from secure ropes alongside your hull. For GRP boats
this technique will protect the exterior from serious damage and for steel hulls
will preserve the paint work.
fitting an automatic bilge pump float, so if any water does get into the bilge
you will at least have peace of mind that this water will be removed, however
if buy a canopy you won’t incur this problem.
rise, even on the inland canals, so be aware of the weather in relation to your
moorings and ensure ropes are of the correct length and are secure.
common problem for the interior of a boat that is not used over the winter, is
that the soft furnishings will become damp, which then causes mould! So where
possible removal all soft furnishings; items such as mattresses, bedding,
towels, curtains, cushions should be taken ashore and stored in a warm dry
place until the Spring. If it is not practical to remove mattresses, then stand
them up so that air can circulate and prevent them from going mouldy.
Also check the
window seals are all in good order and replace if necessary, at this time also
clear the window drains.
fridge and food cupboards and restock next year.
The aim is
to remove as much water from the boats pipes to stop them bursting if it
freezes. So drain down and disconnect the water system and empty your water
tanks and calorifiers. Pay special attention to your shower and remove as much
water as possible, then open up your taps allowing all the trapped water to
drain away. Lag as many of the hot and cold pipes as you can to prevent damage.
Top up with anti-freeze in the keel cooling and other sealed heating systems
like radiators connected to the boiler. Lastly remove water filter
turn off the isolators on the battery as well as greasing the terminals to
prevent corrosion. Try and leave the batteries fully charged and if possible
left on a float charge. Turn off all electrical appliances and it’s advisable
to leave the fridge door slightly a jar to circulate the air, this will prevent
it from going mouldy and smelly.
oil and give your engine the manufacturer’s service before putting the boat
into storage. If you have a sealed water system check the antifreeze and top up
if necessary. If you have a raw water system seal off the cock valve and drain
the water out of the cooling jacket.
stern tube once the engine is turned off, this is to prevent water getting into
the engine room, becasue if this builds up could cause your narrow boat to sink! If
possible leave your diesel tank full so that condensation doesn’t build up in
the tank, also add fuel conditioner which you can purchase at most good
Once all the
maintenance type jobs are completed and it's time to go home, it's worth taking
with you any valuables that could tempt an opportunist to break in. If you are
unable to remove these desirable items then at least store them out of sight.
locks are in good order and consider adding some more security if needed. You
may want to add an alarm system. Do your research, you will find a variety
available from a very basic system to alarms that are more complex and are
connected to your mobile device. Also make sure your insurance policy is up to
Finally Don't Forget to Visit your boat.
visit your boat regularly to run the engine for around an hour during the winter. This pushes the
oil around and helps prevents rust. It will also help top up the battery. Remember
to re-grease the stern tube if you do run the engine, as every time the
propellers turn it breaks the seal.
there you should also pump out rainwater and clear the cockpit drains.