Boaters checklist for winter lay-up

Checklist for winter lay-up

This is a typical checklist for a 7-metre sailboat with a diesel engine. Details will differ from one boat to another.

While the boat is still in the water

▢ Check the condition of the cradle; repair as needed.
▢ Pump out the holding tank.
▢ While the engine is hot after its last run, pump oil out of the sump and reduction gear housing and replace with fresh oil.
▢ Pump out bilge water.
▢ Lower mast onto mast crutch. After lift-out
▢ Remove fenders and clean them.
▢ Scrub down underwater part of hull to remove algae.
▢ Clean off marks from above waterline.
▢ Wax and polish the hull.
▢ Wax and polish the superstructure.
▢ Remove all items that may rust, rot, freeze, or suffer moisture damage.
▢ Remove Marine radio and GPS equipment, and antennae.
▢ Check items left on board, and list items to be replaced.
▢ Remove batteries from all equipment.
▢ Open all seacocks to drain out water. Do not open engine water intake until ready to winterize engine.
▢ To winterize the engine, open the water intake valve and drain cock on the engine block to remove water. They should be closed after the water is drained. Remove the raw water filter and clean off algae; remove the outboard end of engine cooling water hose and insert it in a pail of antifreeze. Put gear lever to neutral and start the motor, while checking antifreeze level all the time. When full strength antifreeze is being pumped out of the exhaust pipe, stop the engine. Briefly open, then close, the engine drain cock and engine seacock to ensure that no water remains.
▢ Drain gunk out of the bottom of the water separator.
▢ Remove air filter, pull out stop knob, operate valve lifter, and turn engine over rapidly with starter motor while fogging the cylinders through the air intake.
▢ Replace the air filter.
▢ Slacken fan belts.
▢ Store anchors and boat hook below.
▢ Pump four litres of antifreeze into the holding tank.
▢ Grease both ends of throttle, gear, and stop cables.
▢ Disconnect propane tank.
▢ Battery manufacturers recommend leaving batteries out all winter. They should be charged first, but left out in the cold (on the boat). The cold will not freeze a charged battery and the cold slows down battery deterioration.
▢ Remove fire extinguishers.
▢ Remove jib sheet blocks from track.
▢ Pump out bilge; sponge out remaining water. Pour four litres of antifreeze into bilge, and then pump some through the bilge pump. Empty garbage container. Pump out the water tank, add two litres of potable antifreeze and pump through the system until it appears in the sink. Tape over exhaust pipe, and other through-hull openings. Open lockers and cupboards. Empty icebox, dry it thoroughly, and turn it upside down without the lid on.
▢ Stow boom below.
▢ Open up floorboards.
▢ Put antifreeze in all cockpit drains.
▢ Check standing and running rigging, and remove any that are worn or damaged. Get replacements during the winter.
▢ Open forward hatch very slightly.
▢ Insert drop boards into companionway, but leave a small opening.
▢ Put winter covers on, leaving 60-centimetre square openings at bow and stern.

Jobs after winter covers are on

▢ Check sails; clean as necessary; arrange for repairs.
▢ Put batteries on charge for a day or two.
▢ Check boom tent; repair as necessary.
▢ Check sail cover; repair as necessary.
▢ Check spare parts situation. Replace or add them as needed.
▢ Repair lines.
▢ Update charts.
▢ Varnish oars, etc.
▢ Renew fire extinguishers, as needed. Routine checks The boat should be checked every few weeks during the winter to make sure that everything is in good order to prevent little problems from becoming big ones by spring.

From Boating Essentials
If you want more information on this, or other CPS courses, go to

Download the pdf: layup checklist

En Français: hivernage

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