Column: Get your vessel ready for winter with tips from Boating BC

Lisa Geddes is the executive director of Boating BC

For many British Columbians, the winter temperatures means it’s time to put away their paddles and oars for the year. Taking the time and effort to properly store your boat for colder weather is one of the most important things a boat owner can do to ensure your boat has a long life. There are some tips and tricks to be aware of, and several important steps to save you time and keep your boat in great form over the winter months.

Boat winterization varies depending on the size and type of your vessel. It’s a good idea to store smaller boats out of the water in a dry, warm and covered area where they can be protected from the winter elements. If a garage or a private area is not accessible, look for a marina that offers dry boat storage or is climate- controlled. If that’s not an option, be sure your boat is covered with a tarp and all water has been drained.

Give your boat a thorough inspection and clean it using an environmentally-friendly detergent. Any moisture left on your boat can cause mould and mildew, especially if the boat is to be stored for several months, and salt water damage can be even worse. Water can also cause significant damage if it freezes – use a non-toxic antifreeze for fresh water systems, and hot water heaters and a small amount in the bilge to prevent freezing.

The next step is to tend to the engine. For inboard engines, change the oil and filters, flush with fresh water and circulate antifreeze through a couple of cycles. Remember to remove spark plugs when the engine cools.

For stern drive engines, remove any barnacles and marine growth. Check the gear oil for milkiness –it could mean leaking seals.

Flush outboard engines with fresh water. Before draining water from the engine, disconnect the fuel hose and run the engine until it stops. Remember to grease any moving parts.

Air in fuel tanks can cause condensation. To prevent this, top-up your fuel tank before storing it and treat the fuel with a fuel stabilizer.

If you cover your boat with a tarp it can scratch shiny finishes when they billow in the wind. A solution is to pad your boat first or discard the tarp altogether and shrink wrap your boat. With shrink wrapping, it’s important to make sure the vessel is dry as moisture can cause mould to accumulate.

Boating is a year-round activity in B.C. Many recreational boaters still hunt and fish during the winter and boating is an important form of transpotation in the province. If you plan on boating this winter, remember to keep these tips in mind:

• Always let someone know your float plan, including where you will be and what time you’re expecting to be back.

• Always wear a life jacket. There is a higher risk of hypothermia in the winter.

• Always bring a communication device with you and extra power source

• Assess the weather conditions before you leave and never boat under the influence.

Lisa Geddes is the executive director of Boating BC, the voice of recreational boating in B.C., that is comprised of 320 member companies that represent all aspects of the boating industry.

Just Posted

Langford’s Isabelle Reader Theatre gets a makeover

Upgrades include new stage, new seats and improved sightlines

Sooke student hit by vehicle in high school crosswalk

Injuries appear to be non-life threatening, but student was taken to hospital by ambulance

Jeneece Place receives bags of holiday gifts from Save-On-Foods

Store provides $1,000 worth of food, $600 in gift cards for families with sick children

More rowers come forward with complaints about coach, criticism of UVic

Barney Williams is accused of verbal abuse and harassment

PHOTOS: West Shore students rally for 10,000 Tonight food drive

Students, community members gather, sort food donations

VIDEO: Andrew Scheer to resign as Conservative leader

Decision comes after weeks of Conservative infighting following the October election

Mount Washington receives more than 30cm of snow

Last week, the resort announced they were pushing back opening day due to lack of snow.

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

B.C. seniors need better vaccine protection, advocate says

Home support down, day programs up in annual rating

RCMP rescue wounded raven on Vancouver Island highway

Bird expected to make full recovery

Be aware of ticks when chopping down Christmas trees

Potential for ticks to transfer to clothing

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

Most Read