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Toronto Area Sea Ray Dealers Where Land Ends Life Begins
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Ask The Experts

Answers to Your End-of-Season Lay-Up FAQs

With more than 40 years of marine surface care experience, Yacht Brite, Sea Ray's official surface care provider, knows a thing or two about preparing your boat for the barn. Your dealer or boatyard will help you with most of the heavy-lifting winterization and storage issues, but there is much you can do yourself to help put your baby comfortably to bed. Yacht Brite President Laura Jahnz answers your questions about readying your boat for end-of-season lay-up.

How do I keep my boat from smelling foul when I open it back up in the spring?

The key is to banish the "stink fuel" before you close the boat up for winter. What I mean is you need to get rid of all the things that mold, mildew and other smelly organisms need to flourish. Start with the obvious stuff, like empty the refrigerator (and wipe out with Yacht Brite Serious Marine Cleaner), remove all food and liquids, and remove or prop up all cushions to encourage airflow. You should then clean and vacuum everywhere and place dehumidifier bags around the cabin (two to three bags for 36-feet and up). Then, it is time to really attack moisture.

So that means I have to clean out the bilge and plumbing, too, right?

Cleaning the bilge, drains and sump prior to winterization is absolutely crucial to keep odors and bacteria from becoming a problem. The boat can absorb the odors and mildew that grow in a moist, dark environment, and they will spread throughout the boat. Clean the bilge with Serious Marine Cleaner; spray it on and absorb with paper towels or rags, or drain the soapy water in approved drains. Rinse and dry the area. Then, use Yacht Brite Moldaway to clean the drains in sinks, showers, etc. Put a scoop in each drain with a cup of water; let it work for a few minutes, then rinse. Moldaway will clean and deodorize drains without harming the piping. It will also help clean the sump container by oxygenating the sump water, killing mold/mildew spores and other bacteria, safely and without bleach. Depending on the temperature where your boat will be stored, your boatyard may recommend you flush marine antifreeze through the system.

Is there anything special we need to do for our soft surfaces like carpets and canvas?

The cleaner these surfaces are, the better they will look upon spring commissioning. First, vacuum and shampoo your carpet with Serious Marine Cleaner, and let it dry before sealing up the boat. This will reduce the likelihood of any bacteria growing there. Remove cockpit carpet if possible; minimally, roll it up and store in the cabin after it is cleaned. It is best to clean and remove your canvas, and store it in a dry environment if you can, then clean it again in spring with Moldaway or Brite Wash as necessary. Your isenglass should be cleaned with Brite Wash, followed by Pro Polish, and then stored between towels.

What about the cockpit, topsides and the hull?

Clean the cockpit and seating area with Brite Wash and Serious Marine Cleaner. Then, give a topside and hull wash with Brite Wash when you are finished with all other lay-up tasks. A clean bottom and drive gear is also very important, and you should make sure you reference your owner's care guide for drive/propulsion maintenance. Painted bottoms should be washed with a pressure washer and/or plain water used with a soft-to-medium brush. Soaps and detergents are generally not used on painted bottom surfaces. Unpainted bottoms sometimes have attached growth and require professional care by a marine tech for removal. Scum lines, on the other hand, can be cleaned with Brite Wash and/or Serious Marine Cleaner and a soft brush with lots of water for rinsing.

Is that it?

Well, no. There are all of your mechanical, electronic and other systems to be readied for a long winter's nap. You absolutely must consult your owner's manuals and Sea Ray dealer on these crucial tasks, because it can affect your warranty.

If you have additional boat care questions, email them to Products like Yacht Brite's Brite Wash boat soap, spray-on Serious Marine Cleaner and Pro Polish reconditioner provide high-tech solutions to your boat care problems. Purchase them at Sea Ray dealerships nationwide, at fine marine retail outlets or online at

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