Winter Preparation for your yacht by Simon Phillips – #1 Engine
It is very important to keep your engine well maintained throughout your boat ownership, a well maintained engine will serve you well and last longer than a neglected one!
Changing oil and filter before the winter is prudent so that any water / contaminants in the oil do not sit and corrode the inside of your engine during the winter.
Coolant flush and change, flushing the system will remove any sludge build up / debris from the inside of the fresh water system. Replacing with the correct concentration of coolant is very important, especially if the temperatures are likely to drop below freezing. As water freezes, it expands – potentially causing the pipes to split. If this occurs numerous times during the winter, then there may be several places you could find split pipes.
Gearbox oil – for the same reason as the engine oil.
Anode replacement – changing this will prolong the life of your heat exchanger!
Impeller removal – this should be done so the impeller is not deformed by the start of the season because of sitting in the same position for months. A deformed impeller will not be as efficient as a correctly shaped one!
A general look around the engine and bay, will give a good sign (providing it is clean) if there is anything amiss – such as leaks. These should be addressed now, before they get any worse. It is good practise to keep the engine room and under the engine as clean as possible, then it is far easier to spot any leaks / drips of coolant / oil etc.
Closing the inlet seacock is prudent of course. A solution of environmentally friendly antifreeze can be poured down the strainer to prevent pipes from freezing. The exhaust may have a valve to shut this. Doing this is generally a good idea as it will stop birds from trying to nest in your exhaust! Make a note somewhere obvious to remind you before operating the engine!
Thanks for reading!