A boat sailing

How to Protect Your Boat in Winter

It's fair to say that many Aussies have a bit of a love affair with the ocean. In fact, according to the Marina Industries Association of Australia, there are more than 800,000 registered recreational boats across the country.

As much as we might like to spend all year round out on the water, winter can make it a bit less pleasant. If you'd rather stay cosy by the fire during the cold season, it's important to protect your boat in winter to ensure it's in tip top condition when you need it next.

Here are three things to keep in mind.  

Don't have a boat yet or looking for another one? Read our guide to buying a used boat.

1. Where to store your boat 

Obviously, a boat is not the type of object that can be tucked away in a cupboard - the right boat storage location is critical to a vessel's longevity.

  • Try shrink-wrapping - This is where a layer of waterproof film is stuck onto the boat's surface, ensuring maximum resistance against the elements.
  • Build or purchase a portable shelter that protects the boat - preferably using corrugated iron which is easy to work with and provides a strong structure.. If you don't have a garage, this can double as a nifty storage spot.
  • Park your boat at a dry dock or a climate-controlled storage facility. This will allow you to still clean and repair your boat necessary.

2. How to clean your boat

When in the ocean, your boat's bodywork is exposed to corrosive saltwater. While a thorough wash after every outing is recommended to remove the salt before any damage is done, the final cleaning before storage can protect your boat from rusting, pitted steel and motor damage. The best way to get salt off is by using a soft-bristle brush and marine soap. Be wary of scratching the surface, and only use tools and products that are designed for boats.

3. What to check on your boat

While your boat is staying safe and protected in storage, give it a comprehensive check and look out for:

  • Obvious corrosion
  • Broken or worn cables
  • General wear and tear
  • A flat battery
  • Old fuel
  • Grit in the engine

Unfortunately, not even spotless cleaning and regular maintenance can protect your boat from everything, so check your insurance policy before you next set sail to ensure you’re protected in the event of an accident.