How To Dry Dock Boats?
For those who want to learn about how to dry dock a boat, this article is full of useful information. Dry docking a boat for the season is also known as ‘laying up’, and is the act of cleaning, draining and making watertight the boat for a set amount of time. In the northerly regions where water freezes for several months out of the year, this job is not optional. There are only a few steps involved, and if you keep notes every year it will become easier every season.
Drain the Plumbing
- Read the plumbing schematic and determine where all of the sea cocks, tanks, pumps, strainers and angled pipes are.
- Run the pump to empty it and disconnect all of the pipe connections. Use an air compressor to blow air through the pipes to be sure they are empty.
- Winterize the head according to the manufacturers recommendations.
- If you notice scale coating the inside of the tank, scrape it now while it is dry docked.
Clean the Cupboards
- Remove all food, utensils and other supplies from the cupboards and remove all appliances, electronics and other battery operated equipment. Store these items away from the boat for the dry dock season.
- Wash all cupboards, seating, walls and windows with a damp rag.
- Leave the cupboard doors open to allow for ventilation and to discourage critters from nesting there.
- If the boat has sails, take them down, wash them and store in a dry area.
Vent to Avoid Condensation
- Choose a hatch that is out of the traffic area and prop it open an inch or so. This will allow for some air flow and reduce condensation in the cabin.
- Protect the instrument panel by removing it completely if possible, or if it cannot be removed, take care in taping the plastic closely around it so that it is watertight while it is dry docked.
- Empty the fuel tank but leave just enough in there to drive to the fueling station in the spring.
Cover the Boat
- Make an appointment to have the boat shrink wrapped, or if using a custom made canvas cover or tarpaulin, inspect it for damage and replace it if necessary before covering the boat.
- If using a cover other than shrink wrap, you may want to consider using carpet scraps or another heavy duty fabric under the cover to protect vulnerable corners like the windshield.
Be sure to read the manual for your own particular boat and always follow the manufacturer’s dry docking instructions first. A boat that is properly put away can last for generations, and the more maintenance work that is done at dry docking time means that play time in the spring will come more quickly.