September to November is haul out time for boats in the northern climate. Over the next few weeks, we’ll cover a few winterizing tips that apply to both power and sail; they are all jobs you, the boat owner should perform, as opposed to the winterizing items that would be looked after by the marina.
A part of the boat that many people overlook is the damp, nylon line that’s been stuffed umpteen times into the anchor locker, topped off with a layer of mud. As a result, your 200’ to 300’ of anchor rode is wet, dirty and ripe for mildew and mold, as is the whole anchor locker area.
How to extend the life of your anchor rode
Depending on your location and water source, pull out the whole slimy mess onto the dock, pavement or foredeck, then hose it to rinse out the mud and dirt. Also, hose out the anchor locker chasing all the mud and debris out the scupper.
Make sure the drain is at the lowest point; otherwise, you will have to soak up the excess water with a sponge. If the hose pressure won’t clean either the line or the locker, you can get more serious with an all purpose cleaner or a pressure washer.
Is it turning green or brown?
If your anchor rode is turning green or brown, spread it out on a hard surface like pavement or cement and pressure wash to blast out the slime. This can be done at the same time as you pressure the bottom. Pressure washing rope is easiest with two helpers to hold the rope taut so the pressure washer doesn’t chase it all over the parking lot.
Dry it Thoroughly
Once you’ve got it all clean, leave the rope out until it’s dry--preferably in the sun. If your boat is going to be stored inside, tarped or shrink wrapped, spread the line out on your foredeck in big loops. Leave it there for a few weeks or the whole winter to thoroughly dry
Also, open the anchor locker hatch. Prop open or secure with a bungie cord if necessary, so it also dries thoroughly. This will insure that your anchor rode lasts longer and will greet you next spring clean, dry and ready for the season.
While you’re messing with the anchor rode, check the clevis or knot that secures the line to the boat as well as the clevis that secures the line to the anchor itself. Replace or repair--whatever is necessary. You don’t want to toss your nice clean anchor over at your favorite anchorage next spring and have it separate from the boat. (See "Anchoring Your Boat" for anchoring tips.)
The Bottom Line
When it comes to winterizing, the bottom line is to clean and ventilate!
Note for Boat Buyers
For those who are buying a boat, don’t forget to check this often overlooked space. This and hundreds of other valuable tips are covered in "Buy a Boat With Confidence".
Note for Boat Owners
For those who already own a boat, this job is on the First Mate's list to do or delegate. Hundreds more easy "how-to tips" are covered in "First Mate 101".