Sailing TripsThis is Captain Paul Foer “From The Foerpeak” and it is time to write about de-winterization again. Readers may wish to visit last year’s column on this topic at and also this terrific piece by Captain Frank Lanier in the BoatUS Magazine’s most recent issue: .

I repeat the same simple advice–go through every item on your boat carefully and thoroughly and look for any signs of rust, corrosion, salt or other build-up, dripping, discoloration or abnormal ware and take care of it!

It’s pretty easy to find lots of good advice online and as always seek an expert’s opinion when necessary. Keep in mind that when it comes to water, often you will find that the rot or damage or the pooling of water shows up in someplace nowhere near the actual penetration or intrusion point. That is the place you must stop the intrusion so look…everywhere. Freezing and thawing over a long time or repeatedly can exert great force on tight spaces. Check carefully.

Remember that a boat truly is a hole in the water surrounded by (pick your choice-plastic, wood, metal etc…) with holes to let some water in and other water out, sometimes in combination with gases, vapors, particulates or other liquids. Half the battle of keeping a boat safely afloat is to keep those various holes, lines, hoses, valves, pumps and tanks in proper working order. When is the best time to do this? Spring fitting out and then periodically throughout the boating season–or really, any time you are going out on the boat or leaving her at the dock, or on land, or on a trailer…in other words, all the time is the best time. It is a never ending battle and time takes its toll whether a boat is being worked hard or just sitting. Sometimes, a long period of just sitting and not being used are the worst thing for a boat.

While you most certainly need clamps, lubricants, tools, fittings don’t underestimate the need for VENTILATION–and lots of it. Water appears in different states and water vapor, moisture, humidity, steam, dampness, sweat, perspiration etc can damage as boat just as much as can ice and liquid water. Always make sure your boat can breathe whether it is summer or winter, although admittedly it’s more difficult in winter and perhaps not quite as important. In winter make sure that ice does not dam up–anywhere–and make sure drains are clear. Careful for pools of water or chunks of ice as you get back on board. Clean out drains and flush them when you begin de-winterization. Make sure they are not clogged.

Over time, especially in hot and humid regions, dampness can wreak havoc and slowly eat away at wood, coring, bulkheads and in many other places. It can ruin upholstery, fabrics, carpets and hasten rust. All the moisture that condenses has to drip somewhere and the path it takes can lead to rot or delaminate wood and fiberglass.

Generally speaking, if a prudent boat-owner keeps water, water, water foremost in his or her mind and controls its flow and storage, many bigger headaches and problems can often be averted. Think about that this Spring as you prepare for warmer weather and as always, have fun and be safe. This is Captain Paul Foer “From the Foerpeak.”
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