How to get your boat in the best possible shape for the summer season and spend more time on the water
All of us know that power boating and sailing are two different hobbies altogether, but there are some clear similarities that unite all of us, the question that all of us would love to know the answer too is ‘What do I do when my boat is out of the water?’ Now of course not everybody takes their boat out of the water, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to get our boats in the best shape possible for the summer season, that’s why we have put this handy checklist together to spark your memory.
- A deep clean, Cleaning isn’t the most exciting task but I for one take great pride in my boat and feel a great sense of accomplishment when she’s gleaming, Dean & Holland Yacht Brokers always recommend to owners that they keep there yachts in the best shape possible and the cosmetic appeal plays a great part in that, I always think its sensible to give the boat a good clean whilst its out of the water, if you keep your boat on a swinging mooring or in a marina with restricted access to power and water and that can certainly make the whole affair tricky, take the opportunity to get in all the nooks and cranny’s that you can, pressure washers can be great for cleaning out areas that are hard to get to like locker recesses but be careful not to damage deck paint and canvas covers/sprayhoods, I’ve had great success with the August Race products in the past, they are priced on the premium side in my opinion but I have found them to be highly successful. Whilst you’re cleaning away, don’t forget to empty out every locker and review what you need and what you don’t, I was thrilled to find an opened back of bagel buns left in the back of a Galley cupboard from the August Bank Holiday!
- Service your engine, it doesn’t matter if your boat has sails or two big diesel lumps, a reliable engine is essential to smooth sailing, sometimes the wind drops, maybe its on the nose or perhaps you’re trying to tack up the crouch against 3 knots of tide, not only will a good service prepare you for the season ahead but by keeping the invoices you will have a record of your investment which goes a long way when it comes to selling! Its also worth keeping spare parts for your engine, belts, oil, coolant, impellers, filters etc, in my opinion once of the most important things you should carry in your locker is a 20L can of Diesel (or Petrol) my brother and I once bought a Westerly Centaur with a brand spanking new Beta engine, we had a terrific couple of months sailing until one evening whilst on passage from Leigh on Sea to Shotley Marina we ran out of fuel, even though I was certain the tank had at least 50 litres of fuel, it turned out we had developed a leak on the return feed, we would have had a slow journey to Shotley with not much wind if it weren’t for that spare 20 litres, itsalways worth using a dash of Fuel Bug Killer such as Marine 16.
- Check the dates on your safety equipment, Its every boaters worse nightmare to ever have to use there safety equipment in anger and because it is rarely used it is often over looked, check your fire extinguishers for pressure, make sure the pin is intact and if needed it could be used effectively, make sure that your flares are all in date and safely stowed, we should all keep flares on board our boats to use in an emergency situation but if they aren’t respected they can cause more harm than good, make sure they are all in date and stored in an appropriate storage container, make sure that your life raft is secured to its cradle safely and that its in date, unfortunately safety items can be costly to maintain and you don’t often see your money, but just remember it could save your life, if you don’t have a full time requirement for a life raft remember you can hire one for voyages that need one.
- Anodes, Antifouling, Cutlass Bearings and anything else that gets wet! Whilst your boat is out of the water and on the hard, why not take the opportunity to do all of the jobs that cant be done whilst in the water, a good antifoul can improve your hull speed, anodes protects you from corrosion, these jobs along with any other ‘shaft out’ jobs need to be done whilst the boat is out of the water so get them done whilst you can!
- Make sure your Charts and Chartplotter are up to date! Hopefully this season will see you explore new coastlines, perhaps you will test your depth sounder with a trip down a romantic but shallow creek, new adventures require reliable navigation equipment, take a look at the Admiralty ‘Keeping Charts Up To Date’ Document for a handy guide on keeping your paper charts up to date.