There is a wide range of unfavorable weather elements that can damage your boat. The damage that exposure to these elements can have on your boat can vary dramatically, from creating unsightly wear and tear to exposing obstructions in the hull, which, over time, could lead to water ingress.
To ensure your boat is fully prepared for any adverse weather conditions, here’s what you need to know.
Make sure to cover the boat.
You can’t always control the weather. But with a little preparation, you can protect your boat from the elements. First, make sure to use sturdy waterproof tarps. They’re made of tough materials that will withstand inclement weather.
Boat covers come in many shapes and sizes, so finding one that fits your vessel is key. Most covers have straps that attach to the dock posts or cleats on the back of the boat, so they stay secure during storms and high winds.
If your vessel has an unusual shape or special features like an extended bow or windshield wiper arms, look into custom-made covers instead of buying one off-the-shelf.
Always make sure there is good air circulation under the cover.
Always make sure there is good air circulation under the cover. If you are storing your boat outside, be sure that it has good ventilation so that moisture does not build up and damage the wood or fiberglass hulls. Always check for loose covers and make sure they are securely fastened before leaving them on for extended periods of time.
Use a dehumidifier if you live in an area prone to high humidity levels like Florida or Louisiana, where boats can become waterlogged quickly without proper care and maintenance. You may also want to consider using a pressure-treated wood preservative such as CCA (chrome copper arsenate) or ACQ (alkaline copper quaternary), which will protect against most types of marine organisms, including dry rot, fungi, algae, and other forms of decay that can occur over time due to exposure.
Waterproof the boat.
Waterproofing your boat is a critical component of protecting your investment. Boats are exposed to the elements, so it’s important to take steps to protect them from rain and other water sources.
Waterproofing can be done at any point in the life of your boat. If you’re planning on keeping your boat for many years, then it’s a good idea to waterproof it as soon as possible after purchase.
If you own an older boat that has already been exposed to some degree of weathering, then it may still be worthwhile to waterproof it at some point in the future.
Wash your boat regularly with the right materials.
Use mild soap to wash your boat. Dish soap or laundry detergent is fine, but avoid products that contain ammonia or bleach. These chemicals can damage the gel coat on a boat’s hull. Rinse the boat well after washing to remove any residue from the soap.
If you have a fiberglass hull, there are special rinses available at marine supply stores that will help protect it from sun damage. These rinses have UV inhibitors and work just like windshield washer fluid to keep the gel coat from fading in direct sunlight.
Wash off bird droppings quickly. When birds land on your boat, they often leave behind their waste products. Bird droppings contain high levels of ammonia and acids that will eat away at your hull if left untreated for too long. Wash off bird droppings as soon as possible, so they don’t cause any damage to your boat’s paint job or gel coat finish.
Defend the boat against the wind.
The wind is a powerful force. It can blow you off your boat, make it difficult to steer, and even damage your vessel’s equipment.
Here are some tips for protecting your boat from wind:
Install a windlass.
Make sure your anchor is well set when the winds pick up. You might also want to consider installing a windlass to make anchoring easier. A windlass can be used in combination with a bow anchor or stern anchor, or it can be used alone for small boats that don’t require much anchoring.
To anchor efficiently, use at least two anchors of different sizes and types (e.g., Danforth and mushroom). The smaller one should be attached to the bow of your boat, which will help keep it facing into the wind while allowing you to move around in the water if necessary. The larger one should be attached near the stern of your boat so that it doesn’t drag when you move forward or backward.
Your boat is your pride and joy, so taking the time to learn how to protect it from bad weather is a worthwhile task. The best-case scenario is that if you take sufficient precautions, you’ll never have to deal with a cracked hull or water damage. You’ll never have to go into debt over repairs and insurance or lower the value of the boat.