As the 2014 marine season comes to a close, many boats are currently being retired to slips, garages and storage units for winter hibernation. Before doing so, there are many things that a mariner can do to prepare the marine electronics on-board for upcoming inactivity. Here are a few tips for doing so:
1. Check Cables/Wiring - Checking any exposed cables or wiring for corrosion or worn spots is important prior to storing your boat to avoid any potential damage done during your boats down-time. Also, any electronic contact points should be covered and dielectric grease can be applied to the ends of the plugs if desired.
2. Cleaning Electronics - Before packing up, it's a great idea to clean your electronics. This isn't difficult, as we recommend a microfibre cloth to clean the screen and go over any buttons that may have some open exposure. If any saltwater has built up on the screen, you can use bottled water to help clean it.
3. Removing Electronics - If possible, remove those electronics. In some boats, this isn't an option but if it is, bring them inside for those winter months. Safely storing your GPS in the home is significantly better than leaving it outside. Although the units are tested to withstand extremely cold temperatures, being in a controlled climate and environment is ideal. Also, it's a good idea to document the wiring so you feel confident about re-installing. Our units are intuitive and use colour-coding for installation, but it's never a bad idea to write it down, just in case.
If your GPS can't be removed, make sure to put the cover over the screen. This sounds trivial but it really is important for preserving your device. This greatly reduces any temperature damage that can be incurred and is easy to do. Any type of soft, anti-abrasive and anti-static padding or insulation can also be used.
4. If the mast is unstepped then remove the MHU if possible and grease the pins of the connector at mast head and fit the supplied waterproof cover over the mast head socket.
Before the mast is unstepped make a note of the colour connections for lights and MHU
Before the mast is stowed in the mast rack ensure the cables from the mast base are coiled and taped-up in a water proof bag to give protection over the winter.
5. In cold climates beware of frost/snow damage. If snow melts and refreezes it will expand and could cause damage, so keep the cockpit or instruments covered with a canvas cover tied to good tie down points. Or remove products.
6. Remove underwater paddle wheel and replace with supplied bung.
7. If possible remove mast head unit to reduce bearing wear.
These are just a few recommended tips for preparing your marine electronics for the long, winter hibernation. Taking a few precautionary steps to ensure that your electronics are safe and in good shape can help you start the 2015 marine season on the right foot.