Coast Guard officials in Seattle are reminding that all vessel owners carefully winterize their boats, to ensure their safety, the longevity of the vessels and to safeguard the maritime community and environment around them.
The reminder was issued this week because of the frequent need for Coast Guard responses to sunken vessels and oil discharges in marinas due to poor winterization.
These winterization chores include removal of excess gear to make way for cleaning and any necessary repairs, entailing an inspection of all safety gear and replacing any defective gear, including life jackets, fire extinguishers and first aid kits.
Bilge water should be properly disposed of and any fresh water tanks, fittings and lines drained.
All boat plugs and seals should be checked to ensure they are properly set and ready for winter, to prevent water lines and tanks from cracking, causing internal water damage, including mold.
Use environmentally friendly chemicals to clean the vessel, and properly dispose of any chemicals, oils and batteries, as need be.
Whether leaving the boat in the water for the winter or taking it out, disconnect batteries, shut and lock all doors and windows and secure all covers.
The Coast Guard also recommends double checking all moorings to ensure they are secure. If the boat is taken out of the water, shrink wrapping is also an option. Sealing the vessel is extremely important in preventing capsizing due to heavy rainfall or icing.