October 2013

Winter layup

Get a head start on spring

Winter layup


Clean, inspect and organize your anchors, line, chain and locker. Pay close attention to signs of wear and the connections between components.


Electrical connections, metal-to-metal fasteners and non-stainless steel parts need attention to survive the elements. Corroded fasteners present a safety problem. Replace and protect as necessary.


If possible, remove electronics and store them in a dry, climate-controlled environment to prevent condensation and insect invasion. Coat electrical connections with Corrosion Block and spray metal screws with a burst of WD40 or CRC 06007 6-56.

Navigation lights

If your boat has a bicolor light that combines both sidelights, make sure the colors don’t leak to the wrong side. Sidelights must be visible for one nautical mile, and all-around lights should be visible for two. Replace the lights with bulbs whose wattage and brightness conform to these mandates. Check light sockets to ensure that corrosion doesn’t block the electric signal.


Inspect the leading edge of prop blades for gouges, nicks, rough spots and cracks. Blend minor nicks and gouges into the surrounding area with a machinist’s general-purpose file. To achieve a smooth surface, finish blending with fine sandpaper. File and sand parallel, not perpendicular, to the blade. Have an authorized dealer repair larger cracks and extensive damage.

Check for bent prop blades by placing a ruler against the anti-ventilation plate so that it touches one blade’s tip. Slowly turn the propeller while firmly holding the ruler in place. If the blades intersect the plane of the ruler during this rotation, they are bent. They should be straightened or replaced by a dealer.


Periodically check all raw-water strainers for damage. Disassemble the strainer and remove the plastic sight glass. If the component has any cracks or damage, replace it. Rinse the strainer and rub it clean. Next, check the ends of the strainer’s stainless-steel mesh. If compressed, replace the strainer or it won’t function. Inspect and grease all seals if in good shape or replace them if damaged.

Don’t forget ancillary systems such as fresh water, bilge, circuit breakers, fuses and lighting. These items can be forgotten unless you jot them down. Start a maintenance log and record all your decommissioning procedures so that you know where to begin in the spring.



Ship's Store

Mastering Marlinespike

Matthew Walker knot

Named after a sailor, the Matthew Walker knot is relatively easy to tie but difficult to finish.


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