Top tips to get your boat ready for the sailing season

Spring is officially on the way and it’s time to get your boat ready for the sailing season – doing boat checks and maintenance early will mean you can make the most out of your time spent on the water.

Here’s our top tips to get your boat ready to set sail this spring. 

  • Give yourself plenty of preparation time

Inspect your boat thoroughly and leave yourself enough time to rectify any problems you spot – you don’t want to turn up on the day to find you’ve got a serious problem. Following the recent storms it’s extra important to check everything is working properly. Making a list during your inspection is a good idea, then you can make a plan as to how you meet all the DIY jobs that need completing before you set sail.

  • Give your boat a good clean

Remove all your boat covers, clean your boat from bow to stern and air it out thoroughly – it will need a good spring clean! Cleaning your boat is a good way to find any issues that may have arisen while your boat was not being used.

  • Complete a full engine service

Either book your engine in for a service, or plan some time to do it yourself. Inspect your boat filters, impeller, air filter and do an oil change in both the engine and gearbox, control cables and linkages. If you have a diesel yacht you will need the glow-plugs testing as they can lose power over time.

  • Check your boat’s electrics

Your boat radio, GPS, logs and depth sounders should all be checked to see if they are working and calibrated properly. Be careful if you’ve removed the log impeller in the autumn – remember to put it back and take care that the boat lift slings are not damaged when re-launching. If you use an electronic chartplotter, make sure it’s up to date (it’s a good idea to use your home wifi to do the update).

  • Refill your water tanks

If you drained down your tanks at the end of the last sailing season, switched off the water pump and left taps in the open position, you will need to reverse the process. If there is water still in your tank, drain it out and refill before drinking, You can purify the system with dilute milton, but be sure to check for any water contamination.

  • Complete a full engine service

Either book your engine in for a service, or plan some time to do it yourself. Inspect your boat filters, impeller, air filter and do an oil change in both the engine and gearbox, control cables and linkages. If you have a diesel yacht you will need the glow-plugs testing as they can lose power over time.

  • Check your boat’s electrics

Your boat radio, GPS, logs and depth sounders should all be checked to see if they are working and calibrated properly. Be careful if you’ve removed the log impeller in the autumn – remember to put it back and take care that the boat lift slings are not damaged when re-launching. If you use an electronic chartplotter, make sure it’s up to date (it’s a good idea to use your home wifi to do the update).

  • Refill your water tanks

If you drained down your tanks at the end of the last sailing season, switched off the water pump and left taps in the open position, you will need to reverse the process. If there is water still in your tank, drain it out and refill before drinking, You can purify the system with dilute milton, but be sure to check for any water contamination.

  • Check boat safety equipment

Lifejackets require proper maintenance – limitations of harness clips and length of safety lines all need to be checked. They should be kept in a safe place and adjusted for your crew and passengers before use. Flares and fire extinguishers need to be in date and sufficient for your cruising range. Your life-raft needs to be serviced and in a secure place ready if it needs to be released. Make sure your carbon monoxide alarm is working, and that you have the right amount of ventilation for your boat.

  • Stock up

Make sure your boat is stocked up with all the supplies you’ll need for a safe and enjoyable trip. Stock up the cupboards and fridge with the necessary items and make sure you have spare boat parts for any future repairs whilst out on the water.  

  • Plan some sailing trips

Once your boat is ready to go, draw up a list of all the places you’d like to sail this year so you can make the most of your time on the water. If you’re berthing at Sutton Harbour Marina we’ve put together a helpful collection of Day Sail ideas from Plymouth that you might like to take a look at for some inspiration.

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