Just because winter weather in Texas can sometimes lean on the milder side, it doesn’t mean the dangers of a cold snap aren’t common.
Whether it’s frozen and burst pipes in your home, a damaged boat or dock, winter can take a costly toll on your property.
Winterizing boats is sometimes overlooked as a necessity due to Texas’ climate. However, cold snaps still happen and if your property is unprepared, it could cost you a lot of money and time to repair.
Winterizing your boat doesn’t have to be expensive. According to Boat US, basic winterizing means draining any water aboard the vessel and replacing it with antifreeze. Boat US said that freshwater expands in volume by 9% when it freezes and pushes outward with a force of tens of thousands of pounds per square inch. With that much force, it can crack an engine block, split hoses, damaged fiberglass and ruin a refrigeration system.
Fixing a boat’s engine is time-consuming and costly, but there are ways to prevent the expense.
The ideal way to winterize your boat is to store it in an indoor climate-controlled facility. If this option is too expensive or unavailable, boat owners can also haul the boat out and store it ashore, leave it in a dock hoisted just above the water, or leave it in the water. Boat US said that wherever you decide to leave your boat, if it will be left for a month or more, it should be winterized.
If the boat is staying in the water this winter, owners should be aware that there is a risk of it sinking due to freezing weather through a failure of underwater fittings. Storm damage and blisters are also problems to consider when leaving your boat in the water. To avoid problems with storing your boat in water, Boat US recommends protecting thru-hulls by closing seacocks and gate valves. Thru-hulls are fittings designed to accept pipes and valves that allow water to pass in or out of boats.
For those who plan on removing their boats from the water and storing them on land, make sure that it is resting on something that will provide adequate support. Boat US said that in most cases, damage ashore is caused by a lack of support, creating a distorted hull that, in turn, causes problems such as poor engine alignment and broken stringers. The boat should be laid up properly to avoid any damage. Boat US recommends covering the boat to prevent damage if you’re storing it ashore. Using a canvas material to cover the vessel would be beneficial to a classic tarp. A tarp could become damaged or cause damage to your boat if it became iced over.
To learn more about how to protect and winterize your boat this winter, click here.