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How to Prepare Your Yacht for Winter

yachtSo you've had a fabulous summer of yachting, but the onset of winter means it's time to find your land legs and lay up your boat until spring. So use this checklist to properly put your boat to bed.

Winter Berthing

You'll want to know your boat is in good hands during the winter, and if you store it out of water, then you'll minimise any damage that could occur. A professional boatyard run by trained professionals will have the correct facilities to store your boat safely, reducing the amount of work you have to do to prepare her in the spring, and minimise the damage that weather and inactivity can cause.


Before removing your boat from the water, you need to make a note of anything that needs attention. Prepare a list during your last trip of the season.

Remove Items

To avoid items being stolen and to maximise the circulation of air and minimise mildew damage, take anything that can be removed ashore. Clean the interior thoroughly and leave lockers and cabinets opens, wedging them open if the yacht is to remain in the water. Remove all gas bottles and batteries including the engine battery, unless it's needed for high water alarms and bilge pumps.

Protect Engine and Water Tanks

Protecting the engine and water systems from damage caused by freezing temperatures is essential, especially if your boat is wintering in water. To avoid any expansion of liquids during freezing weather cracking the engine block, splitting hoses or pipes, you should pump out all of the water tanks and then fill with non-toxic antifreeze. Don't forget to empty the hot water system. In the engine, you should change the oil, change and flush the oil filter, drain the coolant system, flush through with clean water, then top up with antifreeze. Empty and clean the fuel tank. Always check the boat instruction manual for advice on winterising the engine, to ensure you've followed the correct procedures.

This video presents a more in-depth insight on how to winterize a boat. Watch it, you maybe find it useful.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYWV5O6rPP8]

Cleaning the Yacht

Once your boat has been lifted from the water, you should start to thoroughly wash it down using a power wash. This is normally available at a boat yard as a matter of course. Then apply a coat of boat polishing wax for protection during the winter.


A good cover is essential if the yacht is to be wintered on water. However, make sure that there is adequate ventilation. Set up a dehumidifier if you're using one. If possible, use a marina such as Yacht Havens in Plymouth who provide 24 hour security and the facilities to lift your boat, carry out anti fouling, pressure washing, mast lifting, and boat moving. Click here for more information.


If your yacht is on water, always check it regularly throughout the winter. Check the bilge pumps are working, that the cover is secured, and that ropes have enough slack. If you prepare your boat for winter adequately, you should have minimised any problems, so that by the time spring comes, you'll be all ready for another season on the water.

Wendy Lin is an entrepreneur and professional traveller. She enjoys taking her family to new places and going on all kinds of adventures. When she’s not writing or working on her business, she can be found painting watercolour paintings outdoors.

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