Take care of your boat during winter

According to the Department of Marine and Ports Services, there are approximately 7,000 private boats registered in Bermuda. And it’s no surprise; owning a boat in Bermuda means being able to enjoy our clear blue waters, beautiful marine life and fun water activities. While our sub-tropical climate allows us to enjoy these activities year-round, boating does tend to slow down during the winter months. To ensure your boat is in prime shape for the busy summer months, it is worthwhile to take some time to prepare it for winter.


In Bermuda,” winterizing” a boat involves a series of steps taken to protect it more so from lack of use during the winter months, rather than from cold weather. Unlike in colder climates, which require a complete winterizing to protect from ice and snow, efforts to take care of a boat in the winter in Bermuda are far less demanding, but nonetheless important. Even if you plan to use your boat periodically during the winter, a few steps will ensure that it stays in good condition.

Begin by doing regular maintenance. Thoroughly check the craft for any cracks, dents, or other small issues which, could become bigger issues over time.  Have someone skilled and knowledgeable carry out any needed repairs and maintenance. Ensure that the hull, motor and all vinyl surfaces are thoroughly cleaned with industry approved with marine products.  Ensure that industry approved marine products to are used to protect your boat from the effects of mould, mildew and the sun’s UV rays. Once these steps have been taken, if possible, protect the boat with a good cover that has adequate ventilation. If the boat is going to sit unused for any period of time check with your mechanic and follow his recommendations.

Your boat should be properly secured for winter gales that are known to bring strong winds and rain. At a marina, be sure to use bow, stern, and spring lines. You can always seek assistance from the dock master if in doubt. If the boat is left on a mooring, make sure that the mooring is endorsed by your insurance company and that it has an up to date certificate of inspection by an approved mooring company.

The winter is a good time to get mechanical maintenance and repairs done on your boat. Marine mechanics might not be as busy during these slower months, so scheduling should be easier. Some people choose to take their boat out of the water and store on dry land for the winter. If you plan to do this, you should speak to your mechanic and have the engine professionally winterized.

While it is not required by law to have insurance coverage on private boats, it is highly recommended that boat owners have comprehensive coverage, which includes fire, collision, hurricane and third party liability. This will protect your investment, even when not in use. Visit the Argus website for information on marine coverage.

If you take the time to prepare your boat for the winter, it can extend the life of your investment and the promise of fun times on our waters. These are basic guidelines but it is always best to check the owner manual and talk to your marine mechanic for advice on what is best for your situation. Happy boating!

Angus Crumley is the Assistant Vice President of Claims in the Property and Casualty Group at Argus and has been in the insurance industry for 27 years. www.argus.bm

DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.