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Polruan Ferry Fowey Golant Cornwall Harbour Office Captain Paul Thomas Naval Navy Nautical Se Ocean Atlantic English Channel | Boat Storage Facility Dry Dock Maintenance Repair Look After Yacht Speedboat Speed Boat Motorboat Motor Engine Freezing Oil Change Bilge | The Cormorant Hotel & Restaurant HolidaysThere was good news here in Fowey this week when it was announced the Harbour Office plans to invest £150,000 in a new dry storage facility for boat owners.

The news means people who moor their boats in the town will now be able to store them more easily over the winter.

It also means people who visit the town in the summer on a yacht or boat and stay in hotels near Fowey Cornwall will be able to put their boats out of the water should they need repairs or maintenance work carrying out.

Harbourmaster Paul Thomas said the news would make owning a boat in the town easier. "Boat owners will get all the fun of using a boat without having to worry about maintaining it," he said.

"It's a bit like having a car delivered to your house when you want to use it, having the MOT and service sorted out for you, then having it taken away and looked after when you're not using it."

The dry storage facility should be open by Easter, so we thought we'd take a look at some tips for how to look after your boat, at least until then.

Taking proper care of your boat, particularly before winter sets in, can make the difference between suffering a cracked hull or engine and your boat surviving unscathed through the colder months and can also save maintenance on other, less crucial, parts of your boat.

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Point number one is always storage. Will your boat come out of the water? If so, where will it be stored?

Thankfully for visitors to Fowey this has been solved by the news of the new dry storage facility.

If you do have to store your boat outdoors then having a correctly fitting cover will prevent water from leaking in and subsequently causing structural cracks when it freezes.

If the boat does have to be stored in the water, make sure your mooring ropes have enough slack to handle any extreme rises or drops in water level which the berth could encounter during the winter.

The exterior

If your boat is coming out of the water step one should be to steam clean and scrape any barnacles or other hitchhikers from the hull before sanding off any residue. Once the hull and cabin exterior are clean inspect for any stress cracks or gelcoat blisters, and address any problems.

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While 'winterising' your boat it makes sense to have the engine serviced, as any water or acids which have got into the oil will corrode the metals within the engine if left over winter. This can be a contributing factor to premature engine wear.

Your engine should also be given an oil change, with thee filter changed and flushed to protect against freezing. Even a very small amount of water left in an engine can cause big problems if it's allowed to freeze.

You can also drain the coolant system on your boat at this time, flushing it through with clean water and topping up with antifreeze.

To protect the engine's moving parts spray them with fogging oil or a lubricant - either through the spark plug holes or into the carburettor while the engine is turning over. Drive belts should be loosened off as they can crack if left under tension for long periods.

Finally, check the steering and control mechanisms and grease them thoroughly.

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While your boat is out of the water it's worth inspecting the tanks and draining and repairing or replacing them if necessary.

If there are no problems then filling them to within an inch off being full - which will allow room for expansion if there is an unexpected warm day. Adding stabilisers to the fuel will help prevent it from breaking down over the winter months. Running the engine for 10 minutes after adding the stabiliser will ensure it is thoroughly circulated throughout the engine.

A further precaution against condensation in your fuel tank is to add Vaseline or another petroleum based lubricant to the fuel cap's thread before sealing the tank. This will also help prevent the cap getting stuck on.


If left flat all winter long marine batteries will lose their ability to hold a charge. Since they're expensive this is something best avoided!

If possible the battery should be disconnected and topped up with distilled water, while it should also be periodically charged with shore power.

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Since soft furnishings are vulnerable to mould you should remove any cushions, bedding and similar items which it's possible to. If they must be left inside then hanging them can help air circulate and prevent mould. You should also make sure the boat is vented to prevent a build-up of moisture.

Consumption heaters, chemical sprays or a dehumidifier can also help with this.

Make sure all surfaces are cleaned and disinfected and make sure you jam the door to the fridge open to allow air to circulate. Any water pipes should be pumped with anti-freeze to prevent cracking.

Check the bilge

Make sure your bilge is pumped out and clean, as this will make it easy to see if any fluids have leaked in when you check your boat.

Check Regularly

Making sure you check up on your boat will mean you don't miss any problems which could be fixed easily if caught early, but which could cause serious problems if left u

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