Winterizing Your Captain

winterizing captain

Dawsons is a regular contributor to Upper Bay Boating Magazine. One of the other contributors wrote a humorous article that we would like to share with you.

Thanks to L. Alan Keene a contributor to Upper Bay Boating Magazine in the Chesapeake, and to Dave Bielecki, Publisher, for allowing us to share this article on our website.

Every fall, there are many articles on winterizing your boat, but we have never seen one before with tongue and cheek that addresses winterizing the Captain. Enjoy.

Winterizing Your Captain, by L. Alan Keene

If you’re one of thousands of upper Bay boaters who haul their boats every winter, you’ve probably read and reread every “check list” article you can put your hands on. You know, the type of article that lists all of the crucial things you need to do to your boat before you leave it high and dry for the winter?

Each Fall, almost every boating magazine in the country runs at least one of these “to do” lists that helps us remember to drain the water tank or remove the batteries or keep the leaves from clogging up the scuppers.

But you know what? While we concentrate so much time and energy reading about how to get our boats ready for the winter, nobody seems to be the slightest bit concerned about the Captain.

What about getting the Captain ready for winter? What about HIS batteries and HIS scuppers?

Well, my fellow boaters, I think it’s time we made a list! What follows are my top 6 recommendations for getting your Captain safely through the Winter. Please note that while some of these simple tasks can be performed by the Captain himself, most are best done by a caring loved one.


    Proper support for the Captain’s bottom while on dry land is critical. While a custom-made support is not necessary, atop brand rocker/recliner that conforms to the Captain’s unique bottom shape is highly recommended. If the captain has an especially broad beam or water line length, other options, including a reclining loveseat or sectional sofa should be considered.


    While protection from the elements is not required 24 hours a day,a permanent pitched-roof structure with a localized heat source is needed. The ideal protective setting would be the den or family room of a residential home that contains a functioning brick fireplace or wood-burning stove nearby. While a centralized heat source alone is adequate, many captains have been shown to benefit from the aroma of burning hardwoods during the months of January and February.


    While some of the Captain’s boating equipment may be used during layup (sunglasses, sailing/fishing cap, windbreaker, rain gear etc.) other equipment such as tank tops, shorts, swim trunks, and other warm weather attire should be removed from the body, washed, and stored. **Great care must be taken with the removal and storage of the “favorite” boat shoes. While the potentially toxic odor of the shoes is rarely harmful to the Captain, crew members often suffer permanent damage. Storage in sealed plastic containers outside of the main structure is highly recommended.


    Since the Captain spends virtually all of his boating hours in control of his craft, serious withdrawal symptoms can and do arise during winter layup. To avoid these complications, it is recommended that a universal remote controller be installed in the Captain’s hand of choice (rarely his beer drinking hand), allowing him to feel in control of his land locked environment. This ability to direct the operation of numerous electronic entertainment devices should prevent the occurence of a serious withdrawal reaction.


    Since winter layup for most captains involves limited physical activity (post game celebrations notwithstanding), it is recommended that the motor/motors be decommissioned for the winter months. A continuous flow of antifreeze (sometimes known by the trade name Bud Light) should prevent any freeze damage to the old block. If rapid movement is required during the layup period, the fully operational motors of family members should provide ample power.


    Since batteries require a low level charge to prevent freezing during winter layup, a continual trickle charge of televised sporting events (NFL football, NBA basketball, NHL Hockey, PGA golf), combined with the ingestion of assorted snack food items, should have the Captain’s batteries fully charged by early March…..just in time to paint the bottom (the BOAT’S, not the Captain’s!)

If you follow these six simple tips, by the beginning of next year’s boating season your Captain will be fresh and ready to strike out on new and exciting boating adventures. From the Bay bridge to Port Deposit, from the Bohemia to the Patapsco, from Rock Hall to Middle River, your captain will feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

As for you, however; you have my sympathies.

L. Alan Keene, Upper Bay Boating Magazine


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