Winterise your boat

During this time of year, boat owners prepare to store their boats away until boating season starts up again in spring. It is worth putting the effort in now to make sure your boat makes it through the winter, avoiding damage. Read our blog for the latest guidance to follow this winter.

Taking your boat off water

You will need to decide whether you want your boat to be in or out of water during the winter months. This will depend on the size of your boat and its location as well as the boatyard you deal with. Bear in mind that storing a boat in water over winter comes with its challenges, such as:

  • Preventing ice formation around the boat
  • Keeping corrosion at bay
  • Maintaining a heat source inside the boat, when appropriate


If you decide to lay up your boat over winter, you will need to winterise the engine by changing the oil, checking that the coolant is topped up or, in the case of raw-water cooled engines, flushing with fresh water before running anti-freeze through it.

For boats left afloat in salt water, it’s unlikely the temperature will be cold enough to cause any salt water left in the engine to freeze. However, it is worth checking on if there is a dip in temperature.

Finally, remember to make sure your fuel tank is topped up. This will reduce the amount of condensation produced in the tank that can lead to contamination (diesel bug). It’s a good idea to get yourself some fuel additive to kill and protect against diesel bug!

Covering your boat

Whether your boat is in or out of water during the winter period, you will need to cover your boat to protect it from snow, ice, and sunlight. See below for some options to choose from:

  1. Plastic tarps – this is the least expensive option but plastic tarps don’t tend to fit well, causing them to flap in the wind
  2. Canvas tarps – more expensive than plastic but since they’re heavier, they will fit a lot better
  3. Fitted covers – you can find pre-fitted covers that are an exact match for you boat. This is the more expensive option but they fit well and will last the longest!

About the Author

If you need further advice on insuring you boat or yacht then please get in touch with our marine expert, Darren.

Darren Harris DIP CII
Head of Marine
0117 930 1687 | 07785 426 360
[email protected]