As the open water season draws to a close, here are a few tips for you to make sure your investment is ready for its long winter's nap. Always remember that it is important to not use a lot of abrasive, strong chemicals as it will cause damage to your boat's finishes.
If your boat is kept in the water all season it is very important to wash the hull as soon as you pull it out of the water. Once the residue dries, it becomes much harder to remove. Choose a quality marine grade soap and a good scrub brush. Once you have lathered your boat's hull, and if you have access to a power washer to speed the process, rinse the hull thoroughly. Inspect the hull to see if the residue has been removed, if so, allow the boat to dry and if not, repeat the soap and rinse process.
If your boat is kept on the trailer all season, there should be much less residue that you'll need to scrub away. In the same manner as above, scrub the hull well to remove any debris and allow to dry. Don't forget about your trailer as well! Give it a good rinse, and at the same time check all bolts for tightness.
Before you start cleaning your interior, make sure that you give it a good vacuuming. Small particles of food or fishing bait can be an attractant to critters over the long winter months. Also, make sure you remove your safety gear and most importantly your life jackets. A damp lifejacket left in the compartment can cause condensation and lead to mold and mildew growth in your boat.
- Clean the enclosure (if applicable) & bow to stern cover - Start by hosing off the cover with plain water to loosen any debris. A long scrub brush is quite handy and will make the job much quicker! You want to make sure that you are using a mild soap without additives such as Palmolive Original dish soap or Woolite Laundry Detergent. Add a bit to a pail and fill it with warm water to create some suds. Dip your brush (or a sponge) in and give the cover a good cleaning. Be sure the soap does not dry, as it will create a white residue, therefore work in small areas and rinse thoroughly with clean water. Be sure to never use any harsh cleaners or soaps on any clear vinyl panels as well. Once you have washed the entire canvas, allow it dry completely before you stow it for the season.
- Clean the upholstery - Another very important, however sometimes overlooked, aspect of preparing your boat for winter storage is the upholstery. Food particles that have fallen between the stitching or stains can cause you many more headaches in the spring if you don't attend to them before your boat is put away. We always recommend to clean with mild soap and water. If, however, you need a bit more cleaning power, feel free to apply a marine quality vinyl cleaner to tough stains. In either respect, always make sure the upholstery is completely dry before continuing with winterization.
- Clean the floors and carpet - First, work on removing any tough stains or spills first. Mix some oxygen boost cleaner with water and apply and let it soak. By pre-treating, it will make removal easier. Once you have treated the tougher areas, again with a mild soap and water solution, wash all the carpet and vinyl floors. If you have access to a power washer, you can easily rinse all of the soap out. Be sure not to leave any soap by rinsing your boat until the water runs clean. Allow your boat to air out completely and with a V hull, remove the plug to allow the hull to breath and dry out as well.
Once you have thoroughly cleaned your boat, it is ready to be winterized by your local Legend Boats dealer! Call them today to make an appointment, you don't want to leave it to the last minute and risk having to wait your turn once the weather turns chilly. As always, a bit of extra love and hard work on your boat will make your spring transition back onto the water quick and seamless.
Not ready for winterizing yet? Here are some tips on how to extend your boating season: