You’ve purchased a new boat, had the time of your life out on the water, and now it’s time to pack up and head home. If you’re one of the few boaters lucky enough to enjoy the convenience of leaving your boat in water, you’ll want to make sure you do it correctly. After all, nobody wants to return to a damaged boat when they’ve got a weekend planned around using it.
If you want to keep your investment in top shape, make sure you follow these guidelines if you are leaving your boat in the water:
1. You must tie your boat to the pontoon with at least four lines – when it comes to securing your boat, the bare minimum practice is to use two spring lines fore and aft, a stern line and a bow line. Also, if you’re mooring in tidal waters, make sure that you allow enough slack in the lines for the rise and fall of the tides otherwise you risk the lines breaking, or if your knots are quite good, the tidal motion might damage the cleats on your vessel.
2. Make sure your battery is always fully charged. The last thing you need is for the automatic bilge pump to fail because its power supply has drained.
3. Retrieve any valuables from the craft. Treat your boat as you’d treat your car – take any expensive unsecured items or equipment with you when you leave. If you must keep valuables aboard, make sure they are not easily accessible or in plain sight.
4. Invest in a proper cover for your boat. Gone are the days where boat owners just covered their crafts with a tarp. Things to look for in a potential boat cover include:- A snug fit: A custom or semi-custom cover that is made for the specific dimensions of your boat is best. If you must use a universal cover, make sure it is the right size and use an elastic draw cord to tie it firmly for the best fit.
– Double stitched seams: Durability is important, so opt for the option with superior stitching, preferably with weather-resistant threading too.
– Material that suits your storage location: What fabric your cover is made of will depend on the environment where you’ll store your boat. Look for UV protection if your boat will be subjected to a lot of sun exposure. If your storage area is humid, prioritise finding a cover that has breathable, mildew-resistant fabric.
5. Speaking of mildew, make sure you have mould-fighting measures in place aboard your craft. Stopping that musty, unused smell can be as simple as scattering a few water absorbing sachets around your boat so that excess moisture is absorbed, and double checking that you’ve completely closed all valves and seacocks (except, of course, for cockpit drains).
6. Check your cockpit drains for any debris that could potentially block them and lead to water build-up while you’re away.
7. Don’t forget to empty your fridge before you go home for the day! There is nothing quite as putrid as the smell and look of bait that has sat in a boat fridge for days on end.