Avoid nasty sur­prises with your wa­ter sys­tems when you pre­pare to cast off next year, by get­ting your boat ready for win­ter

Canal Boat - - Contents -

Are you putting your boat away for the win­ter? If so, here are a few pipe and pump-re­lated tips to en­sure it’s fine for the spring

With yel­low lawns and sun-burned legs, it’s a stretch to start think­ing about lay­ing up your boat for the win­ter (as­sum­ing you don’t boat all year). But poor weather and long pe­ri­ods out of use can take also their toll without the cor­rect prepa­ra­tion - par­tic­u­larly on wa­ter sys­tems and pumps.

To en­sure your ves­sel is ready to cruise when spring fi­nally re­turns, Richard Call, UK Marine Sales Man­ager at Xylem, ex­plores four key ar­eas to con­sider.

En­gine Cool­ing Pumps

The rub­ber im­peller inside an en­gine cool­ing pump can de­grade over time, so re­place an­nu­ally when the boat is ‘put to bed’.

A lot of peo­ple plan to re­place the en­gine cool­ing pumps in early spring, just be­fore the first trip. Here in Bri­tain, how­ever, we know all too well how quickly the weather can change, and this can mean that main­te­nance jobs like these are eas­ily for­got­ten.

At worst, if the rub­ber de­grades while you’re on the wa­ter, this can cause the en­gine to fail without warn­ing leav­ing you stranded. Re­place­ment is a very sim­ple job: you can buy the im­peller from all good chan­dlery shops. It’s also easy to iden­tify which im­peller you need be­cause the pump will have the num­ber en­graved on the cover plate. Once you’ve pur­chased the im­peller, re­move the cool­ing pump’s cover screws, lift the cover then take out and re­place the im­peller. Se­cure the cover plate back in place to fin­ish.

Fresh wa­ter sys­tems

The fresh wa­ter sys­tem pro­vides wa­ter to the gal­ley and toilets of the boat. To regulate the flow, the pump has a sen­sor fit­ted which main­tains the pres­sure in the pipes. The pump it­self re­quires lit­tle on­go­ing main­te­nance and can last for many years. How­ever, it’s rec­om­mended to drain the tank and flush the pipework to pre­vent frost dam­age and avoid stand­ing wa­ter. To do this, dis­con­nect the sup­ply pipe from the tank and drain the wa­ter. Then open the tap fur­thest from the pump to empty the pipe. Don’t for­get to turn off the pump when you have fin­ished.

This is also a good time to re­place any ac­ti­vated car­bon aqua fil­ter (such as our Jab­sco Aqua Filta), which takes the taste and chlo­rine out of the wa­ter be­fore use. These be­come in­ef­fec­tive over time, so we ad­vise chang­ing them once a year to main­tain wa­ter qual­ity.

Bilge Pumps

Bilge pumps are at the bot­tom of the boat, which, of course, is of­ten a wet and damp en­vi­ron­ment. Un­wanted wa­ter in the bilge is com­mon and is of­ten caused by rain or mi­nor leaks, but if left unchecked, it can cause prob­lems for the elec­tri­cal sys­tems and leave a stag­nant smell around the boat.

Most leisure boats have a sub­mersible bilge pump. They of­ten get for­got­ten, but now is a good time to check them. Take the pump out of its base fil­ter (which stops ob­jects from go­ing into the pump) and clean it by re­mov­ing any de­bris. If there is wa­ter in the bilge, sponge it out, be­fore leav­ing it to dry. We also rec­om­mend leav­ing the floor­boards up over win­ter so that the boat can be aired.

You should also check all elec­tri­cal con­nec­tors to make sure the power sup­ply and ca­ble are in good con­di­tion this usu­ally re­quires a quick vis­ual in­spec­tion to con­firm there is no mois­ture, which, if left, could lead to rust.

It can be tempt­ing to moor your boat up and leave the main­te­nance un­til the last minute, but do­ing so can cause its con­di­tion to de­te­ri­o­rate while out of use. Take the time to prop­erly pre­pare your boat for win­ter stor­age in or­der to en­sure you’re good to go when spring ar­rives.

The LP900, part of the Rule LoPro se­ries of bilge pumps

Sub­mersible pump with flow switch

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