Preparing your boat

Preparing your boat. (LMS can help)

Before you leave your boat consider doing some, or all, of the following to ensure that your boat is in the best possible condition when you return. (if you are short of time, or want some help, we can do most of these things for you)

Sails and rigging (storage ashore is possible)

Take off, fold and bag your sails, making sure they are clean and dry when you do so. If you can’t do this with all your sails, at least take off the sails that are exposed to the elements.

Take off all unnecessary blocks and shackles, clean and lubricate, stow below decks. Lubricate roller furling bearings.

Make sure your warps are clean and dry, then stow them away from the elements.

If you have exposed halyards, consider replacing these with ‘messenger lines’. Employ frap-lines to exposed halyards.

On-deck, cockpit etc.

Remove any instrument head units or displays that are in the cockpit and stow them in a plastic bag below decks.

Spray any padlocks, sliding door bolts and other fixings, with WD40 or similar.

Secure boom(s) so that they are not swinging and anything else that is capable of repetitive motion, doors, locker doors etc.

Check that all hatches and portholes can be sealed against the elements.

If you have a lot of solar panels, cover most of them up to stop them charging, don’t rely on any regulators as these ‘spill’ excess power through a heat sink with real potential for fire. Also stop your wind generator from turning as you will not need this power for your batteries.

If you are leaving water in your tanks, put about 1 tablespoon, bleach in each tank and cover the breather. Take out and clean any water filters on the fresh water system. Either leave dry or refill filter chamber with treated water and replace the filter.

Below decks

Check all sea cocks are in good working order as these need to be left closed while you are away from the boat.

Flush your fridge/freezer heat exchanger(s) with fresh water, (if applicable)

Flush the heads with fresh water and cooking oil/baby oil then shut off the sea cocks.

Same with sinks and showers that use pumps (rather than gravity) to empty.

Remove all perishable foods from the boat.

Dry and bag your clothes, books, charts etc (even if you are using our airing service.)

Take out batteries from torches, radios etc and store in a plastic container in a cool spot, or through away. (not in the sea)

Make sure that you have left any automatic bilge pumps on, especially if you have a wooden boat or if you know you have a small leak. (Report this to LMS before your departure.)

Leave as many locker hatches/doors open as you can to aid air circulation. (but see above)

Turn your cushions on end, remove, launder and bag any loose covers.

Clean and spray tools with WD40 or similar.

Engines outboard. (storage ashore is possible)

Run your outboard(s) in fresh water until fuel in carburettor runs out (close fuel tap, or disconnect tank), take out the spark plug(s) and squirt a shot of WD40 or similar into the chamber, pull it through a couple of times and replace the plug(s). (if you are going to be away for a long period, it is best to leave all your dinghy fuel tanks empty, you will need new fuel when you return anyway.)

Engines main/ generator.

If you are not having your engine started you should take as many precautions as possible to ensure your engine remains in the best condition while you are away.

Change the engine oil and filter.

Make sure that your fuel tanks are either full, or empty, or have biocide added. (run the treated fuel through the engine so that the pump and filters etc are protected)

Consider using a belt conditioner and slacking off the tension on all belts to reduce sticking and belt ‘memory’.

Flush the raw water system with fresh water for a few minutes to ensure the heat exchanger is fully flushed.

Turn the engine over without starting it, and at the same time spray a little oil into the air intake (take off the filter first). This will coat your cylinder walls. Block the air intake or replace the filter.

Cover the fuel tank breather (to reduce moisture from condensation)

Take out the impeller clean and lubricate with dishwashing liquid. Replace the impeller but leave the plate a little slack. (Make a note to tighten it when you get back!)

Tighten down stuffing box to stop any drips.

Make a comprehensive list of the actions you have taken to avoid missing any of the ‘reversing’ steps upon your return.

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