Friday, February 14, 2014

With an Approaching Thaw, Check your Boat!

Finally, a break in the cold weather is in sight for next week! However, a rapid thaw after a long period of snow and cold weather can present issues not only for homes and roads, but for boats as well.

Boats stored outdoors that do not have full winter covers or shrink-wrap have been collecting snow for the past few months. Though the snow may be only a few inches deep on deck, cockpits are another story altogether. In some sailboat cockpits, the snow can be more than 2 feet deep!

As the snow melts into the cockpit, without proper drainage channels, the water can back up through the companionway hatch and flood the cabin.

It's important to make sure that drainage isn't compromised, this means that boats with open transoms should have snow cleared away from the opening to prevent ice-dams, and boats with closed transoms should have their cockpits cleared and drains checked.

In some instances, there may be a layer of ice on the floor of the cockpit, blocking the cockpit drains. In these cases, just clear as much snow as possible from the cockpit and decks so that any remaining snow melt can pool in the cockpit until the drains thaw.
Things to bring with you when you check your boat:
  • Plastic Shovel, as narrow as possible (You won't want to scratch the boat with a metal shovel and a narrow shovel is easier to maneuver around deck hardware)
  • Stiff brush (Works wonders for clearing snow off the deck quickly)
  • Waterproof gloves (Some parts of the cockpit are inaccessible with a shovel and you may have to scoop by hand)
  • Good, non-slip boots (Walking on icy boats can be difficult)
If you're unable to check on your boat this weekend, give us a call at 773-734-7777 or email us at and we'll be glad to go clear it for you.
A few minutes of shoveling now can save hours of headaches later.