North Star Yacht Service helps boaters prepare vessels for El Niño

Mike Kusler, owner of Kusler Yachts and a longtime North Star Yacht Service customer, provides steps boaters can take to protect their vessels during powerful El Niño storms.

What are the main concerns when expecting a severe El Niño winter like the one that is predicted this year and what types of protective measures would you recommend boat owners take?

Kusler: It is general practice to cover your smaller boat, outboard or dinghy with marine grade material, vinyl or canvas in order to keep moisture and mildew out. Boats that are in a slip, at anchorage or on a mooring usually have covers for consoles, instruments, steering wheels, rigging and handrails. It is imperative that these coverings fit well and are secured properly by professionals.

Although there are many “do it yourself” ideas on the Internet, it is prudent to have a trained professional make a custom cover with stainless steel fasteners, which will ensure preservation of your investment. Sub-standard fasteners or those of dissimilar metal can cause excessive corrosion or damage to the fiberglass.

We have all heard about stinky boats. Interior carpet that gets and stays damp can be a major culprit of the offensive odor. Marine grade flooring and carpeting will help prevent moisture retention.  If your boat has carpet on the swim step, stairs and or walk ways that is stained or damp, it will retain moisture, mold and a foul smell unless the material used is marine grade. If practical, remove all exposed exterior flooring and stow in a safe place when not on the boat.

Moisture in carpet or upholstery inside your boat will cause condensation so it is imperative to have proper ventilation. Due to the increased chance of rain this season, you may want to have any open seams, cracked isinglass or broken zippers attended to.  Although there are fabric guard products on the market, they are a makeshift and short-lived improvement and may result in additional expenditures in the future.

Slant back covers, boom tents, sail covers, dodgers, bimini’s and mainsail covers that are intact and properly installed can aid in preventing deterioration during the wet months.”

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