The Christmas parties are upon us. They mark the start of a full bill of social get togethers, excessive eating and drinking and time with the family. Some people relish the buzz, the giving and the sharing of good times, but some people prefer to escape the festivities in favour for some ‘peace on earth’.
Not every household will be gathering for roasted turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings during Christmas. Every year a significant number of boat enthusiasts opt for an alternative celebration. Accompanied by a small group of willing family and friends, they will be heading out onto the water with a flask and a turkey roll for sustenance.
All weather gear will replace the traditional Christmas jumper and party hat and you can catch up on the Queen’s Speech another time. On a sunny winter’s morning, what could be more of a treat than heading out onto quiet cruising waters?
With a bit of planning and preparation, you can be ready to make the most of the limited boating hours that are on offer on a bright, calm day.
Winter Boat Preparation
In addition to the usual gear and checks, your boat will benefit from a little extra time and attention if you want to keep it on the water through the coldest months.
• The good news is that with a vessel kept on salt water, it is unlikely that liquids will get frozen. You can however run antifreeze through the raw water system if you have concerns following a particularly cold spell.
• It can make sense to switch gas supplies to propane, as it has a lower freezing point that butane.
• A supply of grit can be useful for helping to keep decks from getting icy and presenting a slip hazard.
• Batteries may need additional charging through the winter months
• It is even more essential that you check all equipment regularly to ensure everything is in good working order.
A reliable supplier of quality branded boat parts can be useful to ensure that replacements and spares are delivered quickly.
The warmer you stay, the easier it is to think clearly and perform well, so wrap up. Cold fingers can make it more challenging to undertake tasks, so you need a good pair of gloves and make every effort to keep ropes out of the water.
The sea temperature drops considerably through the winter months. If anyone falls overboard, they can be paralysed by the shock. It is therefore important to take care on board and always wear life jackets.
Pay close attention to shipping and weather forecasts, along with keeping a close eye on the clock. It’s easy to get carried away and not notice that time is ticking by. You don’t want to be stuck out at sea when the sun goes down.
Finally, enjoy every moment of an exhilarating day on the water, smug in the knowledge that you’ve avoided the terrible cracker jokes!