You may have tucked your boat away for winter months ago. But if you think you don’t have to worry about it until spring, think again. Even if your boat is wintering on dry land or in storage, a lot can happen while it sits there over the winter. By checking on it in mid-winter, you can fix any problems that have arisen, make sure it is protected and prepared for winter’s second half, and help avoid any delays to the start to your boating season come spring.

Here are a few tips to consider:

  • If you keep your boat in the water, check the waterline to see if your boat is sitting low. Be sure that all the above-water through-hulls are above the waterline. Shovel off any snow and ice that might be weighing the vessel down. Check your bubbler, and look over your docklines for any chafing. Adjust your chafe guards if they have shifted.
  • If you store your boat on cradles, jacks or a trailer, make sure the boat hasn’t shifted. Check to see if the stands have moved and make sure they are chained together to keep the weight of the boat from pushing them away.
  • Inspect your boat’s cover to make sure it is in good shape. Look for any rips or chafing, and check that the wind hasn’t snapped any tie-down lines. Make sure your cover is tight so that snow and rain easily slide off instead of pooling and freezing.
  • Check your bilge for any water or ice. If there is any, you have a leak. Find it and give it a temporary fix until you can spend more time fixing it in the spring. If you have ice that you need to break up, you can use rock salt or a non-toxic antifreeze.