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Boating in cold weather

Even though boating season ends for most with the arrival of cold weather, there are those of us who really enjoy boating in the winter.

1.  Winterize your boat  It may seem obvious, but you need to winterize your boat.  When your boat is out of the water, it should be under cover. If you are storing in water, you will need to ensure that your battery is fully charged, check for leaks, and make sure bilge pumps are working.  Also make sure you have a de-icing device around your boat.

2.   Slow down. While we are pulling our boat on the icy roads, others are pulling snowmobiles, landscaping equipment, and other trailers.  Take it slow so that you can react to road hazards, even if you have a trailer with brakes.

3. You still have to shovel snow. If your boat is stored in water, be prepared to shovel it out in snow.  Snow doesn't flow through scuppers.  Freezes can block drains when water is frozen in them, even if it melts elsewhere.

4.  Watch out when boarding.  Frost and black ice can slick up your deck. Spray sometimes freezes on decks as well.

5.  Dress warm - for the water.  Even if the weather seems warmer, the water is still cold.  You should wear clothing that retains heat even when you are wet.  An insulated float coat keeps you warm and allows you to float if you wind up in the water.

6.  If you go overboard - don't lower your head into the water.  You will lose body heat.  Tread water instead.

7.  Mind your speed in the water.  Going fast and stirring up spray is fun in warm weather, but in winter, spray is uncomfortable and can freeze on your boat's surfaces. Also, even thin ice will cause gouges.  Rather than cutting through, slowly slide to the top of a thin layer until it breaks under the weight of the boat, and have crew members poke holes with a boat hook.

By Robyn Smith

1 Comments

  • WathekM

    Great tips. Thank you!

    8:02 05 Jan 2017

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