18 Tips To Have Your Boat Ready & Prepared For Winter Sailing!

The sea is where not only the body but also the soul relaxes. It is a place where one can totally decompress and re-energize.

In Malta, we are very fortunate to be surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, plus our geographical position makes us more so since we have good weather for the 300 out of the 365 days of the year.

Even though most of the population regard the sea as off-limits during the winter season, sea lovers are attracted to it with nostalgia, especially when their boat is on land for maintenance! It is very difficult when it is a nice sunny Sunday morning, the sea is crystal clear, you are seeing other boats getting ready to go for a sail and your boat is in the yacht yard, or else you plan on going out on it, and you realize that you are not prepared and cannot go.

This is why we have decided to help make your life easier and organise a list of tips which help you make sailing in the winter easier or in some cases even possible!

1.  Make sure your tanks are full
It is important to full up your tanks during the winter as often as you can. Firstly fuel at the Marinas is not as readily available as in winter – the hours are greatly reduced. Also, the water supplies might be turned off on some days whether it’s for maintenance or to protect the pipes 

2. Fuel Tank
Keeping your fuel tank topped up also reduces condensation. This, in turn, results in less surface area and less chance of diesel bug forming. Using anti-diesel-bug additive is also helpful

3. Engine
It is very unlikely that the temperature in Malta will go so low that any water left in the engine will freeze, however, it is worth seeing to especially if there is a cold spell. Make sure that the coolant is topped up with the correct mixture of anti-freeze. 

4. Batteries To start a diesel engine you will require more power in the Winter than in the Summer due to the colder weather. Therefore always make sure that your batteries are always topped up either by using small solar panels or by recharging them. 

5. Bedding If you keep your bedding on board so as to be available if you decide to just go out, make sure that you keep it in a vacuum bag. This will keep linen, towels and duvets dry and mould free. 

6. Pontoon Mooring
Make sure that you also perform maintenance on your pontoon. Moss and algae can make the pontoon very slippery and need to be scrubbed clean with a decking cleaner, and maybe also a final scrub with salt water. 

7. Plan shorter routes
This is not a big issue in Malta since nowhere is far away. However, keep in mind that the daylight hours during winter are shorter and you have to plan accordingly. This is important for your safety. 

8. Drinks
Stock up on hot drinks. Having a flask handy with hot chocolate is not a bad idea. 9. Food SupplyA good food supply will keep you warm and if you have something which you can warm up in the oven is even better! 

10. Gas
Make sure that your gas cylinder is full. There is nothing more disappointing than starting to prepare a hot pot of tea in the cold weather and then realizing that your gas cylinder is empty! 

11. Suitable clothing
Of course being out at sea in the winter require suitable clothing. Lots of layers make you bulky and it is difficult to move in them. Invest in fleece wear and waterproof clothing, plus make sure that you are prepared for the cold wind. Also, remember to take your sunglasses with you, Winter weather does not mean no sun!

12. Keep lines dry
Trying to keep your lines dry will make sailing much easier and more pleasant during winter.

13. Take wet sails home
If a spinnaker or headsail which you normally store inside gets wet, you should take it home to dry, otherwise, it will wet your interior and everything will get mouldy.

14. Life Jackets
Make sure that your life jackets are completely dried before storing them. Not doing so, can cause the life jackets to corrode and then you risk that they do not work when you most need them.

15. Cushions 
Make sure that you keep your cushioned well aired during the whole winter not to become mouldy. 

16. Insurance
Check out whether your insurance covers your boat for use during the winter period. You might need to have to pay for any upgrades. 

17. Windows
Boat windows are a huge source of condensation. Covering the windows will act as insulation, keeping the heat inside while reducing condensation.

18. Dehumidifier
If your boat is docked in a Marina and you are hooked up to electricity, keeping a dehumidifier switched on board will keep the inside of the boat dry.  With all the above tips in place, you will always have your boat ready whenever you want to go sailing, and you will never miss the opportunity on a perfect Winter’s Day. 

Boatcare Trading Limited

At Boatcare Trading Limited we are a one-stop shop for all your boating needs, we are the official Malta distributor for some of the most renowned and trusted international yacht brands.  We supply:

Yacht Charters

If you do not currently own a boat, but love the sea and would like to experience Winter Sailing, at Boatcare Trading Ltd. we have boats available for charter all throughout the year. Contact us to see which one of our boats better fits your needs!