Prepping the Tender for Winter0
Splash Dance has a 12′ inflatable hanging off a davit mounted to the swim platform. We call her Splashy. She came with the boat and I semi-jokingly tell people that I bought the boat for the tender. When I was a kid, we didn’t have an outboard for our dinghy so I was always rowing while other kids would zoom by with their outboard-powered tenders. The first thing I did when we took ownership of Splash Dance was to launch the tender and zoom around…with a huge grin on my face the entire time.
Splashy came with a full cover plus individual covers for the seats and center console. The seat covers are great for making sure your butt stays dry from the morning dew when you have to make that first dog run while on the hook. The full cover has been doing its job but I did notice a few small holes and tears at the stress points. It wasn’t at the top of my list of things to address but I figured I better do it before winter–otherwise I might end up needing a new cover in a year or two. So, I made some phone calls and ended up talking with Pete from Pac Rim Marine. He specializes in custom canvas and repairs and he was willing to take on my small job of minor repairs to the cover. We arranged a convenient drop-off location and a few weeks later, he called and said it was ready. The price was more than fair in my opinion and the workmanship looked great!
Just this weekend, I was at the boat doing some chores and I knew the tubes on the dinghy were low and needed air. I was running late and was going to skip this chore but when I gave them a squeeze I was shocked at how little air was in there now that its colder out. As the sun was setting, I dug out the foot pump–which, unfortunately, doesn’t reach the ground when the dinghy is on the davit. I had to squeeze the pump against my chest with my forearms. It was quite the upper-body workout but I probably looked like a weirdo doing it over and over–such is the life of a boatnut!
With the tubes fully inflated, I put everything back and put Splashy’s cover back on. That night, I went through a mental checklist of other things I should have done to prep the tender for winter:
- Disconnect the battery and consider removing it.
- Add fuel stabilizer
- Double check that the drain plug is out
- Run the gas out of the motor
We do use our boat year-round but the tender rarely gets used in the cold. Have you prepped your tender for the winter? If so, what else should I add to my list?
Thanks for reading. I hope to see you in the locks or at the docks!