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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so it just dawned on me that if I get a boat this fall, I will need to winterize it before winter. (Barnegat NJ). I've been surfing the net but have a few rookie questions:
1. Which parts are done in the water/ On the hard?
Obviously, filling the fuel tank and pumping the holding tank are done before haul out. Anything else? If it doesn't matter, are certain steps easier on way way or the other.
2. One version talked about flushing the holding tank with bleach after pump out. That would require another pump out? Or is the anti-freeze just added to bleach?
3. Pictures at the Marina would indicate that most people leave the mast stepped. Is anything special done to the standing rigging? (Leave it tight?)
4. All sails are removed (including roller furled jib?)
5. Are all the sheets removed and stored below or at home?
6. Do you remove all your cushions or just prop them up?
7. Any major (or really important things I need to be aware of)? (I know batteries are removed)
Thanks in advance!
Ken
 

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Hey,

Wow, I really don't want to think about winterizing now. But, since you asked....

Assuming the boat has in inboard engine, you would typically change the oil and filter while the boat is in the water. This way you can run the engine to get the oil up to temperature before changing.

As you guessed, you usually will fill the fuel tank and empty the holding tank before the boat is hauled. I have never run bleach through my holding tank, so I can't help you there.

If the boat will be store with the rig up you really REALLY should remove all sails. I would take as much of the running rigging as possible home. This would include the headsail sheets, mainsheet, vang, cunningham, and anything else. I would leave the halyards, but make sure they don't chafe on anything. I would also bring home any canvas possible - bimini, dodger, etc.

I don't bother bringing the batteries home. I make sure they are changed, then I leave them. I leave the cushions on board too. I do remove all food stuffs, electronic gear, etc. I empty all water tanks, and drain the water heater. I bypass the water heater, add a little antifreeze the fresh water tanks and run antifreeze through the galley and head lines, including shower, drains, head, etc.

For the engine I run antifreeze through the raw water system. I make sure the coolant is in good condition. I close the fuel petcock on the tank.

I guess that's about it.

Barry
 

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Old soul
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Barry covered things well. Oil change and pump out in the water. Plumbers antifreeze through the water systems. Engine antifreeze through the engine raw water system. Remove all sails and as much running rigging as possible. We store the sails on board and leave the halyards in place but snugged in to avoid chafe. Standing rigging is normal tension.

I check the antifreeze concentrations at the exhaust to ensure we have -40 Celsius protection, but you don't need it that good down south in NJ.

You don't mention a cover. We have a full winter canvas cover. With that up I can leave my dodger in place. Without that I would remove the dodger and Bimini (if I had one). If the mast is keel-stepped, take some extra time to seal the deck seal. Water will find its way down.

Batteries are best left on a trickle charger. Second best is it fully charge and then disconnect them at the leads, unless you are 100% sure you've got no errant currents flowing. Get back and charge them up as early as possible in the spring, or even a few times through the winter if possible.

All pretty easy.
 

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If you have them, don't forget to drain and/or antifreeze the anchor wash down (raw water) and cockpit shower (fresh water). Whatever is appropriate for your boat. Also, get some Dri-Sorb or other moisture absorbent product. I put a large tub in the galley sink, a small container in the head sink and a hanging bag in the V-birth. Fully charge your batteries and remone the negative cable(s). They should be good for the winter but you'll feel better if you get to the boat in January or February just to check on her. While there, if electric is available, you can charge the batteries while you lunch at your favorite place.
 

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A couple of comments/additions/personal preferences:

1. I remove all the cushions and store in my basement. They get shampooed and Scotchguarded each spring before being returned to the boat.
2. I remove my batteries and give them a full charge. They get topped off a couple of times during the winter.
3. Engine winterization includes oil and filter change, fuel filter change, and flushing and filling raw water side with anti-freeze. Removing the water pump impeller is also a good idea.
4. Don't forget to put antifreeze in the head.
 

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A note on the antifreeze. Use the low-tox antifreeze. much of it ends up in the water.
You do not really have to change your oil, if its not due.
add fuel stabilizer to gasoline, or anti-gel to diesel.
Hop over to walmart for your water line anti-freeze, dump it in your fresh water tank, and run each faucet until they are all pink. Drain your calorifier. Clean out the bilge of all oil and water. Thats it besides sails and dodgers.
 

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Lots of good comments on winterizing. This is how I do it. Empty holding tank (duh). First two steps are in the haul out slip.

1. Winterize engine. On my boat the raw water intake is a 'T' fitting. I remove the plug from the top of the fitting and screw a hose into it that leads to a 5 gallon bucket with 3 gallons potable antifreeze. You might need more, 3 gallons turns the output pink on my boat and I know it's run through the entire system. Start engine, run until bucket is empty, turn off engine.

2. Drain oil, change filter. I change the oil in transmission if it's due.

3. Loosen the belts on the engine. Prevents the belts from developing a 'memory' which will cause vibration.

4. Winterize water system. This involves draining any water left in system than putting antifreeze in the tank(s) and running water system until antifreeze comes out of each spigot and shower system. I also dump a gallon of antifreeze into the head and pump through system.

5. Winterize AC system. Same deal as engine. This requires 110 volt hookup. This can be done before you enter haul out or after on my boat.

6. Charge batteries, disconnect and leave them alone.

7. I drain what fuel is left in my tank and use it at home. I have oil heat and my tank only holds 20 gallons max. Usually about five gallons at end of season. If we're talking a boat with a large tank I'd probably just fill it. I than clean out the tank. I have an inspection hatch. More than likely, if you have water in the fuel it's a leak or bad fuel, not condensation.

8. Strip everything off boat, food, cushions, Life preservers, lines, canvas, etc. I leave tools I think I need for winter projects but, everything else goes into storage.

9. All the lines go home and are washed in water and soap, rinsed off, hung to dry and than stored away.

In the Spring I bring everything back, change the impeller!, change the fuel filters, inspect the air filter, tighten belts.

Brian
 

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You do not really have to change your oil, if its not due.
You really should change the oil if the boat will be unused. The reason is the byproducts of combustion, moisture from condensation, etc may cause corrosion if left idle over the winter.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Great discussion for August. *grin*

A lot depends on whether you haul the boat or not and what access you'll have to the boat and to utilities over the winter.

1. Which parts are done in the water/ On the hard?
I prefer to do everything in the water with the possible exception of the water system. Even that I tend to empty afloat if I am going to haul.

The last thing to winterize is the main engine which you do in the lift well. On most boats you can do this by dumping water into the strainer with the thru-hull closed so you don't have to pull the hose off the seacock.

2. One version talked about flushing the holding tank with bleach after pump out. That would require another pump out? Or is the anti-freeze just added to bleach?
Your pump-out people should be used to this. Many people (including me) want to flush the holding tank with fresh water as part of every pump-out. If you do that consistently during the year you shouldn't need to do anything else than a regular pump-out. If you want to do something extra I would pump out the holding tank, drop a whole bunch of ice cubes (at least a 5 lb bag, perhaps 10 lb) into the holding tank and go sailing. Tack a lot. Sail through wakes. The ice cubes will help, as much as anything can, break up any thing stuck to the sides and bottom of the tank. Back at the dock, fill up the holding tank with water and pump out again. The only anti-freeze you need will end up on the holding tank when you winterize the head. Remember you need to pull the raw water intake off the thru-hull and stick it into your antifreeze to do a proper winterization of the head.

3. Pictures at the Marina would indicate that most people leave the mast stepped. Is anything special done to the standing rigging? (Leave it tight?)
You can leave it be. When my boat is out of the water I ease the backstay adjuster but leave everything else alone.

4. All sails are removed (including roller furled jib?)
That would be best but isn't strictly necessary. Some yards won't allow furled jibs to be left aboard (due to windage issues and the potential for damage to neighboring boats if they fail). You can store sails on the boat or take them home. Leaving them on the boat is easier. Taking them home is generally easier on the sails (depending on storage at home) since it reduces the chances of mildew. It also makes access inside the boat easier for winter projects.

5. Are all the sheets removed and stored below or at home?
Same issues as with sails. Depending on the condition of your sails you may want to wash them. If you want to wash them you may do that in a tub at the yard or at home.

6. Do you remove all your cushions or just prop them up?
At least prop them up. For many people winter cleaning and protection is easier at home. Transportation is often an issue. If you are going to take them home I'd get them off the boat at the dock to save the effort of hauling them down a ladder.

7. Any major (or really important things I need to be aware of)? (I know batteries are removed)
Batteries depend on storage. If you are in the water or have utilities on the hard and plan to visit the boat regularly you can charge the batteries with each visit. This is helpful as it allows you to use boat systems during winter projects (charge phones, troubleshoot systems, listen to music, etc.). Most yards do not permit you to keep the boat plugged in unattended.

Run through your electrical panel and consider whether you have additional systems that require attention: refrigeration, deck wash, generator, washing machine, cockpit drains clear (not usually on the panel *grin*), etc.

Personally I don't use anti-freeze in my fresh water system. I bypass the water heater, drain it, pump all fresh water through the system, and use an air compressor to blow the lines clear. Oh - pull the strainers off water faucets; mineral build up on the screens is a major source of problems with recommissioning. I soak mine, including the shower head, in vinegar for a day and then tape them to the fixture they come from for recommissioning. Anti-freeze is a perfectly reasonable approach that is easier, but Janet tastes the flavor and smells it in the shower for a month in the Spring, thus the use of compressed air.

If you do haul the boat check for a garboard drain on your boat to drain the bilge and keep it dry. Don't launch the boat without putting it back. Check with your manufacturer or owners association to see if the drain plug should use Teflon tape or Loctite.

Any rigging inspection should be done before you haul. Most yards won't allow you up the stick while on the hard. I've been up masts on the hard for work before and I don't like it much. There are too many things that can go wrong so even if it is allowed try to avoid it.

Not strictly winterization but if you do haul it is a good time to run your anchor rode(s) all the way out and scrub the anchor locker. Check your chain for corrosion and your rope rode for chafe. Be sure all shackles are moused and if you have an all chain rode that there is an accessible sacrificial rope link between the end of the chain and the structural connection on the boat.

If you don't already have pictures of the bottom of your boat hauling is a good time to get them. Pay attention to thru-hulls and zincs.
 

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Hey Ken,
Sounds like you are thinking about Mariner's Marina? Great location. Not as crowded as around Forked River and very close to the GSP.
 

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Practical Sailor just did an article on winterizing with glycol. Actually, there are 2 more parts coming.

a. PG or "non-toxic" antifreeze has the same marine toxicity as EG (engine) antifreeze. Read the MSDS tox info. Assertions other wise are urban legend supported by PG makers. Do use PG in potable systems, for obvious reasons.

b. PG is what kills impellers; they are neoprene and any chemical compatibility table will show PG as poor. It hardens the impeller and the tips break. Similar problem in heads with joker valves. EG does not do this, which is one of the reasons you won't find PG as factory fill in cars.

c. PG is also tough on clear plastic strainers (they craze). Remove after winterizing.
 
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