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Laying up

Guest mariotech

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I am off to the boat to lay her up for winter although she will be staying in the water this year. I will fill the tanks and check the bilge heaters which are controlled by a frost stat and I am also fitting a programmable room stat to bring on the eberspacher for an hour a day and any time if the temp drops below 5c and will run a draining dehumidifier along with the eberspacher. It feels like we are in for a cold winter and I will not be able to visit the boat again untill January so any tips would be great.

cheers Jonathan :Stinky

Just had a price of 75 pence a litre for red this sonds good but not had chance to compare as Oulton hire is closed and he is usually competetive.

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A timely post - I was about to start a similar thread. Last year the boat was being worked on over the winter, so I had the water systems, toilets etc drained, but this year we'd like to use the boat over the winter. I use tube heaters on a thermostat, which I normally set to 4 deg. I've got 3 tubes in total in a 35 ft boat, one in each of the main cabins, the one in the saloon being under the floor where the engines live.

Do I need to drain everything down, or will the heaters be OK because they prevent freezing? Almost certainly a dumb question, but hey ... :oops: I know I need to check the engine antifreeze levels. I also use a dehumidifier draining into a sink.


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Sory or the length but this little missive is a good starter for ten.

Unfortunately, the boating season does wind down in many parts of the country and it becomes time to start thinking about protecting your valuable recreational asset. Winterizing a boat relates well to the old phrase "pay me now or pay me later." The time and effort you spend now will have a definite effect on your boat's performance, or lack of it, and certainly save you time, effort and money come spring. You should remember that your insurance policy may not cover damage done by lack of maintenance or neglect.

The best place for your boat to be during the winter is out of the water, under cover, in a climate-controlled boat storage area. This, however, can be expensive. If you don't have this option perhaps you should consider shrink-wrapping your boat. This, too, is a little expensive but provides a very protective cover. Short of these two items, make sure that your boat is well covered with a tarp or some other sturdy cover.

Your first step in winterizing should be to make a checklist of all items that need to be accomplished. Check the owner's manual of your boat and motor(s) for manufacturer's recommendations on winterization. If you are a new boat owner, perhaps you should employ the assistance of a friend with experience in winterizing or hire a professional to do the job. The following is a generic outline of areas which should be of concern to you, however, there are many resources on the Internet with more detailed and specific information.


Inboard Engine(s)

You should run the engine(s) to warm it up and change the oil while it is warm. This tends to allow impurities to be drained away with the oil. You should also change the oil filter(s). Flush the engine(s) with fresh water. You should circulate antifreeze through the manifold by using a pickup hose from the waterpump to a bucket of antifreeze. Start the engine and allow the antifreeze to circulate until water starts to exit the exhaust. This process will vary slightly depending on whether you have a "Raw Water" cooling system or an "Enclosed Fresh Water" cooling system. While you're in the engine room you should also change the fluid in your transmission. Remove spark plugs and use "fogging oil" to spray into each cylinder. Wipe down the engine with a shop towel sprayed with a little fogging oil or WD-40.

Stern Drive(s)

You should thoroughly inspect the stern drive and remove any plant life or barnacles from the lower unit. Drain the gear case and check for excessive moisture in the oil. This could indicate leaking seals and should be repaired. Clean the lower unit with soap and water. If your stern drive has a rubber boot, check it for cracks or pinholes. Grease all fittings and check fluid levels in hydraulic steering or lift pumps. Check with your owner's manual for additional recommendations by the manufacturer.

Outboard Engine(s)

Flush engine with fresh water using flush muffs or similar device attached to the raw water pickup. Let all water drain from the engine. Wash engine down with soap and water and rinse thoroughly. Disconnect fuel hose and run engine until it stops. It is important to follow a step by step process to make sure that all fuel is drained from the carburetor to prevent build-up of deposits from evaporated fuel. Use fogging oil in the cylinders to lubricate the cylinder walls and pistons. Apply water resistant grease to propeller shaft and threads. Change the gear oil in the lower unit. Lightly lubricate the exterior of the engine or polish with a good wax.


Fill your fuel tank(s) to avoid a build up of condensation over the winter months. Add a fuel stabilizer by following the instructions on the product. Change the fuel filter(s) and water separator(s).


Make sure the bilges are clean and dry. Use soap, hot water and a stiff brush to clean up any oil spills. Once the bilges are clean, spray with a moisture displacing lubricant and add a little antifreeze to prevent any water from freezing.

Fresh Water System

Completely drain the fresh water tank and hot water heater. Isolate the hot water heater by disconnecting the in and out lines and connect them together. Pump a non-toxic antifreeze into the system and turn on all the faucets including the shower and any wash-down areas until you see the antifreeze coming out. Also put non-toxic antifreeze in the water heater.


Pump out the holding tank at an approved facility. While pumping, add fresh water to the bowl and flush several times. Use Vanish crystals or whatever your owner's manual recommends that will not harm your system and let sit for a few minutes. Again add fresh water and pump out again. Add antifreeze and pump through hoses, holding tank, y-valve, macerator and discharge hose. Again, check your owners manual to make sure that an alcohol-based antifreeze won't damage your system.


Once you have taken care of the system you should remove any valuables, electronics, lines, PFDs, fire extinguishers, flares, fenders, etc. Over the winter these items can be cleaned, checked and replaced as necessary. Open all drawers and lockers and clean thoroughly. Turn cushions up on edge so that air is able to circulate around them or, better yet, bring them home to a climate controlled area. Open and clean the refrigerator and freezer. To keep your boat dry and mildew-free you might want to install a dehumidifier or use some of the commercially available odour and moisture absorber products such as "No Damp," "Damp Away" or "Sportsman's Mate."

Out of Water Storage

Pressure wash hull, clean barnacles off props and shafts, rudders, struts and trim tabs. Clean all thru-hulls and strainers. Open seacocks to allow any water to drain. Check the hull for blisters and if you find any that should be attended to you might want to open them to drain over the winter. While you're at it, why not give the hull a good wax job? It is probably best to take the batteries out of the boat and take them home and either put them on a trickle charger or charge them every 30-60 days.

In Water Storage

Close all seacocks and check rudder shafts and stuffing boxes for leaks, tighten or repack as necessary. Check your battery to make sure it is fully charged, clean terminals, add water if necessary and make sure your charging system is working. Check bilge pumps to ensure they are working and that float switches properly activate the pumps and that they are not hindered by debris. Make sure either to check your boat periodically or have the marina check it and report to you. If in an area where the water you are docked or moored in actually freezes, you should have a de-icing device or bubbling system around your boat.


By following some of the above suggestions, you should be in good shape for the winter. Do not, however, neglect to consult your owner's manuals for manufacturer's recommendations on winterizing your boat and other systems. If you have not done a winterization job before or don't have an experienced friend to rely on, seek out a professional to do the job for you.

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Hi David Thanks for the tips. I usually use the boat in the winter so have it set up with tube heaters on frost stats and leave all systems full. The risk of course is if the electric fails so I am adding the prog stat to the eberspacer to back this up. I will be looking for some fogging oil and like the idea of putting antifreeze in the bilge as my tube heaters although low down will not protect the bilge. One tip i was given was to leave a 100 watt light bulb on in the engine bay as this will give of enough heat to prevent frost damage altough not an energy saving bulb :-D

Jonathan :Stinky

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A room stat would not work with the Ebo or Webo Bruce, they are not designed to be switched on / off as a thermostat switch operates and could be dangerous if switched off when running. The 7 day programmer for the Webo is the 1531 and an identical (in appearance) one is available for the Ebo though neither will work with the others furnace. They will give 1 hours running per day if needed and shut down via the correct cooling cycle.

You could always use LEDs Jonathan, they're much more energy efficient :naughty:

Here's one Bruce http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/EBERSPACHER-7-DAY-TIMER-WITH-FAULT-DIAGNOSIS_W0QQitemZ400005166674QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item400005166674&_trkparms=72%3A1301%7C39%3A2%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

Another solution would be to temporarily site a temperature probe in the engine bay and turn the Ebo target dial down, leaving the heater on but that would drain the battery eventually if you lost shore power.

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Or............................................. you could just keep using it, my fovoured solution. :-D :-D

Gee.....why didn't you say this earlier, to save me reading all through your long missive and get more and more depressed at all the hard work I was facing, not to mention things I had never even heard of ...!!! :lol:

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I have wired in the programmable room stat to creat an interlock in the switch+ wire of the eberspacher control. This is the wire which tells the heater to turn on with a 12v signal. The heater still has the permanent live so goes through it's correct start up and stut down procedures. I have used a stat simlar to screwfix item 17585 which will switch 0 to 240 volts and is battery powered.

I have set it to come on at midday with a target temperature of 29c for half an hour this will alow enough time for for the heater to get to full operating temperature before being shut down. For the remaining 23 and a half hours the stat is set at 5c to protect from frost. This will switch on the heater at 4c and off at 6c again alowing enough time for the heater to reach full temp. I hope that having the heater come on every day it will keep the boat aired and will keep the heater working to prevent drain down or air in the fuel supply and ensure the heater works when needed as frost protection if the shore power fails.

Jonathan :Stinky

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Forgot to add the ebespacher programmer will only alow a target temperature down to 10c a little high for frost protection. Re light bulbs why not try a low energy bulb in your lead light. Cool to the touch and will stand a lot more bumps and knocks and you can have a tea break while you wait for it to brighten up :naughty:

Jonathan :Stinky

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That’s a really good and innovative use of the trigger wire Jonathan, I have one of those things where you can call the boat from any phone and switch it on but haven’t been arsed to fit it yet, still, only had it a year so plenty of time.

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:-D I'm lucky I live near enough to my boat, well 35 mins travel away, to pop down to it most weekends, so any lay up for me is just a fleece blanket below the engine and one draped over the top of it, and a bit of antifreeze in the seacock, in thirty years of owning boats it's always worked for me, and the fact all my boats have been petrol means I wouldn't risk having any form of electric heater in my boat or anywhere near the engine, even with all these circuit breakers and stuff I still don't trust anything mains powered on my boat, I just don't think 240v and water are a safe combination anyway, I even disconnect my batteries after each use of the boat, but thats all just a me thing, because sods law says if something goes wrong it will happen when I'm not on the boat to do something about it, at least I can use my boat any nice weekend if I choose to, and to be honest with the winters we have had in the last ten years or so, I think fully laying a boat up is a bit over the top anyway, now I said that sods law says I'll pop a core plug or something this year,,,, :lol::lol:

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  • 4 months later...

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