THINGS YOU CAN DO in the OFF-SEASON
It too often feels that summer is too short and winter is too long when we think of our boating possibilities and fun.
However, there are many things we can do during the off-season that can keep us more involved with our boats. It also allows us to get some things completed that we did not get to during the boating season, or if we were to do them, we would miss days of boating.
As time moves along towards the end of the boating season, and liftout dates approach or come and go, start to think about the things that you want to consider doing yourself, or having a professional do for you on your boat to save you time and maybe some money too.
Howoften have you put your boat away at the end of the season and simply left it until Spring. Why not take the time to "really" clean the boat in the Fall. The weather might be better, the boat is warm, and the dirt from a season on the water is not baked on like it might be by the next season. Compounding, waxing and really taking the time to clean the boat before the Winter is really a great idea. Your season is extended and the prep for Spring launch is simpler and not contingent on the proper conditions to do the very same work.
Winter can be an excellent time to have the bottom of your boat epoxied. This is a barrier coat of two part plastic like materials that protect the boat from damage that can be done by water. This process can be done by professionals or by yourself depending on your skills and inclination.
Many people are not aware that the fiberglass hull of a boat will take on water since there is some degree of porosity in the outer layer. If enough water seeps into the hull, and the layers of glass are not perfect, osmosis can result. A proper and good epoxy process, followed by the proper anti-fouling bottom paint, can result in a better boat bottom and fewer problems for you, the boater.
Perhaps, it is the time to do some canvas work on your boat. Be it a new top, a redesign of an old top, or the replacement of cloudy, faded, or cracked plastic windows, these can all be done in the winter. Or maybe the stitching should be done again. Usually the fabric lasts longer than does the stitrching so regular re-stitching is a great idea. Winter lay up is an excellent time for this kind of work.
Your boat being in storage is either inside or under a cover and the canvas shops have the time to do your work while not having to take time away from your boating days. Top designs change with time too, so a different or newer design, gives you more easily used space, with imptoved fabrics and perhaps a colour to make the boat look even newer or better.
Maintaining the upholstery is always an important job on a boat. Boats do go through some harsh environments, from wet to dry and from extreme furnace like heat to freezing bitter cold temperatures. Fabrics and stitching can always use extra help.
With the boat out of the water, cushions can be removed and left at the upholstery shop for longer periods of time and the professionals can do the work when time is more on their side. Again, you avoid the possiblity of lost time on the water.
The boat can get some good interior cleaning at this also. Shampooing the rugs and the upholstery could be done now., especially if the boat is stored inside. It may be easier for the cleaning professionals to get to your boat when it is out of the water than while in the water, so consider this work in the off-season.
If you have opted for inside heated storage, think about think about the wood (bright work) and what you can do with it now inside. The interior wood of your boat, the exterior wood of your boat and the wooden platforms can at least be prepared and possibly varnished while the boat is indoors and the weather is taken out of the mix of considerations.
Remember, that there are many excellent products on the market developed just for the marine applications on the woods used on boats. So be certain to take the time to research what products properly suit your individual needs.
The winter is obviously the time to consider real serious kinds of work on your boat. Shafts, outdrives and propellers are best done now that the boat is dry. Have all through hulls and seals checked for integrity now, get propellers professionally checked if there has been any concerns, and be sure they are properly balanced and any of the smallest nicks are fixed. To leave even the smallest of scuffs or imbalanced situations, can lead to major problems if left unattended.
Engines, transmissions need at the least to be checked for fluid levels and that all connecting bolts and couplings are secure and proper. If some form of re-build is necessary, winter is an excellent time period since shops are less stressed, and it may even save some money but for sure some time. Major tune-ups should be done now, saving the final adjustments for launch, water pumps, clamps, hoses, and lines can be carefull checked for any lack of integrity. A cracked fuel line especially on a gas fuelled boat can be catastrophic if it goes undectected and the boat starts up.
Earlier, I talked about detailing in the Fall, consider doing a dteailing of the bilge of the boat. A great product called Micro 50 when spryed into your bilge will allow the enzymes in the product to eat up the oil spills and any dirt in the bilge and leave behind a residue that washes easily with water and when cleaned out is completely environmentally friendly.
It may not be necessay to say, but it is often easier and safer to work from a ladder on a hard floor than to try to do the same work from a dinghy in the water. Also, sounds like a broken record, but the time you spend doing these tasks when the boat is in the water for the boating season, will only take time away from your boating enjoyment and fun. The time is too short on the water so don't waste any of it.
There are many excellent products and services to keep your boat looking and performing as if new. Check the Products and Services section of the Boatcan.com website, to find what you may need to work on your boat.
If you have a problem or questions, call Boatcan for personal assistance to solve your situation.
Author: David McPhail, President of Boatcan