In this article, we are assuming that you have hired a marina to haul out your boat. The jobs we discuss are the ones that most marinas don’t necessarily do and that you the owner, can do.
Clean Bottom Plus....
Wash the bottom of the boat as soon as possible after it’s hauled, so that the algae and other growth on the bottom is fresh and soft--not all dried out and stuck like cement. It takes a lot less time and muscle when it is still wet and fresh. A pressure washer is the easiest way to knock it all off. Second best is a long handled brush, a hose and your favorite all purpose soap. Not only scrub the bottom, but also the exterior drive system components, transducers, thru-hulls, the works.
Once clean, inspect the bottom, hull and drive system for needed repairs and make a list; so that you can divide between what you are going to do, and what you are going to hire the marina to do.
Power Boat Jobs
All power boats should be stored bow high, so that the bilge drains. If you are not sure that your bow is high enough, throw a few pails of water in the bilge forward to confirm that it actually drains out the transom drain plug. If it doesn’t, get the marina to raise the bow. If water stays in the bilge over the winter, it will freeze and cause damage. Also, driving snow and rain always has a way of getting into a boat, making its way to the bilge and causing damage, if it doesn't drain out.
On sailboats, besides washing the bottom, you also need to wash your mast and boom and other on-deck equipment. Besides checking your underwater gear, you should make a detailed list of inspection of all your components of the standing and running rigging including turnbuckles, boom, mast, mast boot, chain plates, goose necks, etc. List what items you need to repair or replace, as well as what list you are going to give to the marina.
On the deck of both power and sail, during your washing of the deck and cabin top, check for leaks as well as detail scrubbing/cleaning of anchor rode, dock lines, fenders, canvas, vinyl, sails, etc. Each should be thoroughly cleaned and then well dried before storage, either aboard or at home. The more soft items you take home, the less chance there is for some four-legged critter to make a nest over the winter.
In the bilge of all types of boats, check all the hoses on the motor for cracking and signs of age. All should be double clamped. If they aren’t, get some clamps and double clamp everything. Check and lubricate seacocks, as well as checking and cleaning limber holes and sea strainers. Sometimes, leaves and other debris end up in the bilge below the motor and flow aft clogging the transom drain plug. On sterndrive boats, push a screwdriver or a straightened coat hanger up from the outside to move whatever could be clogging the transom drain hole, so that it drains. Then, reach in under the motor and pull out the culprit.