Top Tips for Laying Up
1. Cleaning Up
A good washdown at the end of the season should never be underestimated. It gets rid of any potentially damaging deposits such as salt, oils, and anything else we may spill while topping up the outboard or fuel tank. It also lays the foundations for the steps below. We only sell cleaning products that we have tried and know to work, so let us point you in the direction of some products that will make this job both easier and faster! Many of our products are also optimised for different surfaces, materials and areas of the boat. For example we sell a specific non-skid deck cleaner for areas that you actually don't want to become shiny (and slippery!). Our staff are always happy to advise you on treatments for other areas such as teak decks and canopies/covers too.
Fender covers look fantastic and reduce noise dramatically, but make sure that you rinse them thoroughly with fresh water - any saltwater will evaporate, leaving behind just salt particles which can dull the shine on your lovely gelcoat! See more >
2. Repair any damage...
Now we have a nice clean boat, it's time to repair any damage that a season of sailing inevitably causes. We all collect the odd scratch or dent throughout the season - that's just part of using your boat! We've used all the repair products going over the years, but as with most things there are some that work better than others. It's also best to repair these thing now before any freezing water or frost gets in and potentially makes the situation worse.
Need to repair a dent in wood? Find a bit of wood that is a similar colour, turn it in to sawdust and mix with clear Epoxy. Voila! A waterproof and colour-matched repair. See more >
3. Time to Upgrade...
If you have any upgrades planned, now is the time. We all think "I'll do it over the winter", but every boater knows that the inevitable cold weather makes all these jobs take twice as long. Want to take the stress out of marina berthing? A bowthruster doesn't have to cost as much as you think. Fed up of repeating the exhausting and dirty of of raising your anchor by hand? Fitting a windless can genuinely be a DIY job (and we are here to help with advice as well). Got a coolbox but fed up of always having to take ice packs? A compressor and cooling plate can be easily installed to cool it using your 12v batteries.
Need to run cables around the inside of your boat? An old piece of rigging wire is just perfect for feeding and pulling them through. See more >
4. Protect from the elements...
Now we've done our cleaning and repaired any knocks and scrapes, it's time to think about protecting our work from the elements over the winter. We stock a huge range of products for this, but below are a few highlights we have tried and tested ourselves. We need to think about both the mechanical and exterior aspects here, but our main enemies are water (in the form of rain and what is inside our tanks), temperature, and UV from the sun. Leaky hatch seals and windows can all be cured by a trip to your local branch of Force 4, hopefully before they leave marks over your interior joinery. Temperature, or more accurately freezing temperatures, can have a devastating impact on machinery, so make sure you add antifreeze (we even sell non toxic antifreeze for fresh water systems) and empty tanks where possible. I know we don't think of UV as being a particular problem in the UK winter, but a good quality wax on your gelcoat and a cover over rib tubes can extend their life dramatically.
Make sure you empty any water from calorifiers over the winter, and water left inside will freeze and expand, potentially leaving you with an expensive repair bill at the start of next season! See more >
5. Keep it in good condition...
Keeping your boat nice inside can be a challenge over the winter too. Extreme temperature variations between night and day as well as sub zero temperatures can make a boats interior start to age prematurely and feel less like a home-from-home at the start of next season. Reducing condensation can help significantly, either by warming the boat slightly with a heater or by using a dehumidifier. Boats in warmer climes can also suffer from simply not being used, It's worth giving moving items a spray of a good quality lubricant and putting some de-odouriser in the loo too.
Smelly Loo? Most marine toilets use seawater to flush, which contains all kinds or organisms and biological matter. Try putting some fresh water in the bowl and flushing through if youre going to leave the boat for a period of time. In conjunction with flush additive this should help dramatically! See more >