The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Four Winter Layup Tools

I don’t think any boat owner would argue with the statement:

Moisture is the enemy of boat reliability and gear longevity.

And that goes double when the boat is laid up over the winter.

The above photo shows four useful tools in the battle against damp. Starting from the left:

Davis Air-Dryr 1000

Davis call this a “dehumidifier”, which is stretching the meaning of that word to breaking point. In fact, it’s just a small enclosed heating element.

Nonetheless, we have used these for years and find they make a real difference, but without any moving parts or the need to keep the temperature above about ~7C, which is required for a real dehumidifier to work.

We have three of these on the J/109: aft cabin, salon and head. We used the same three on the McCurdy and Rhodes 56 with good results, so three seems optimal even for bigger boats.

Ceramic Heater

Great to take the edge off when working on the boat on cold days. We don’t leave it on unattended.


We run this hard for several days in the fall, before it gets cold, to really dry the boat out. Makes a big difference. The one in the photo is overkill for the J/109, but sure does get her dried out!

Wet/Dry Vacuum

After the boat is all put away and winterized, we vacuum all the water and spilled antifreeze out of the bilges so it’s dusty dry. Makes a huge difference to how dry the boat stays over the winter.

Heated Storage Not Required

Our J/109 has been in heated storage the last three winters, but only because our boatyard converted all their buildings to heated. Sure, it’s nice, but expensive.

For years before that we laid up the McCurdy and Rhodes 56 in unheated buildings here in Nova Scotia, and in Maine before that, and even so, the above four tools kept her nice and dry.

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