By Brian Waple
The first step in winterizing your boat is to make a checklist of what needs to be done. A good place to refer to is your boat's owner's manual. If this is your first time doing this you should ask a knowledgeable person who has experience in winterizing or hire a professional to do the job. For the sake of this article I will only be discussing the procedure for properly preparing the exterior of your boat for the winter.
Once your boat has been hauled out of the water it's the time to inspect the bottom for any damages and needed repairs. This is also the best time to clean the bottom and remove any slime or hard growth that may be present. The best way to clean the below the waterline area is to use a pressure washer. Remember that if you used a copolymer or ablative antifouling paint to be very careful when pressure washing because if not done correctly you can remove more than just slime or barnacles you can remove the paint. You will not need to apply a lot of pressure, just enough to remove slime or grass. This distance you hold the wand from the surface will vary depending on the type and pounds per square inch (PSI) of your pressure washer. Too much pressure will remove paint, which decrease the paint film thickness and therefore longevity of the paint.
After pressure washing you may still have stains around the water line and some slime or soft growth remaining on the hull. The best way to clean these areas is to use Interlux® Heavy Duty Stain Remover.
Depending on the stubbornness of the stain you can use Interlux Heavy Duty Stain Remover at 100% concentration or dilute it with water up to 50% as needed. Apply Interlux Heavy Duty Stain Remover directly to the surface with a scrub brush or deck brush. Leave the product on the area for up to ten minutes, then just hose off with fresh water.
Once the bottom of your boat is clean it is a good idea to apply a coat of Interlux Premium Teflon® Marine Wax with Cleaner on all your above the water line fiberglass, metal, plastic and topside painted areas. This will provide a protective barrier against environmental contaminates that your boat is exposed to all winter like moisture, UV rays, dirt, grime, salt and dust. To ensure that your wax protection lasts all winter you can apply one thin coat of Interlux UV Protectant and Teflon® Wax Sealer to your freshly waxed areas. By doing this you will extend the life of the wax by double and add a protective coating that will prevent contaminates from adhering to your boat.
Now that your boat is all clean and shiny you should cover it to protect your boat from sleet, snow, rain, ice, dirt, etc. There are two types of covers, plastic shrink wrap and canvas. Canvas is the more expensive method, but a good quality canvas cover can be reused for many, many years. When purchasing a custom canvas cover make sure that the cover is properly sized and fitted for your particular boat. The cover will also need vents, an access door and supports so water will run off and not collect in pockets on the cover.
If you don't want to incur the expense of a custom canvas cover the next best thing is to shrink-wrap your boat. With shrink-wrap a plastic or wood frame is built and a thin plastic cover is then pulled tightly over the frame and boat. This cover is then heated and shrinks very tight so it fits snugly over the frame and boat. At the end of the winter the entire cover and frame, is disposed of. While shrink-wrapping is very efficient at keeping moisture out, it can also trap moisture inside the cover and
problems like mildew and paint blisters can occur. To prevent this, vents should be used along the entire length of the cover. Inserting a series of foam pads between the hull and cover also allows condensation to escape. Do not apply shrink wrap to painted areas!
By now your boat is ready for winter storage. Following all these steps will protect your boats finish and extend the life of the fiberglass, metal, plastic and topside painted areas.
To learn more on Interlux products visit www.yachtpaint.com
Original article from Interlux