3 May 2020

10 things to help protect your boat in frosty weather

By Sonia Hook Senior Marketing Executive

Boat engines are cooled either by raw water or by a fresh water system making them vulnerable in cold weather. There are also other risks to your boat in very cold weather. Here are some preventative measures.

  1. Drain all water from inboard engines and other machinery. Don’t forget any part that can trap water like the exhaust system too. Alternatively add a mixture of water and antifreeze to the raw water cooling system.
  2. Add a mixture of water and anti-freeze to fresh water cooling systems.
  3. Keep sterndrives and outboard motors in the down position to allow water to drain out and ensure that rainwater does not collect and freeze. Do this whether ashore or afloat.
  4. If the boat is in fresh water it is more likely to freeze – you should consider taking it out. Remember seawater that has collected in cooling or exhaust systems can freeze at temperatures at just -4°C.
  5. Small outboards should be stored upright to ensure that any water can drain from them.
  6. Fresh water systems are vulnerable and should be drained down. Toilets and shower pumps can be protected by adding a mixture of water and anti-freeze.
  7. Seacocks should be kept closed. This will stop the boat sinking if a pipe was to freeze and burst. Remember to open them again, checking for any leaks, when the boat is put back into commission.
  8. Clear any build up of snow on the boat. It can add a lot of weight and can consequently lower the waterline of the boat putting it at risk of sinking.
  9. Heaters can be used but are only as reliable as the power source provided. Power loss can happen in cold weather, if you haven’t taken other measures there is a risk of freezing.
  10. If you have any doubt about what to do ask an expert. Spending a few pounds preventing frost damage could save you a small fortune.

Spending a few pounds preventing frost damage could save you a small fortune on things like your narrowboat insurance.

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