Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Last Updated September 2020
The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. The clocks will soon be going back, creating a false sense of security with our ‘extra hour’… It must be that time of year again.
Time to lay up your boat.
But what is “Laying Up”?
Laying up or “winterisation” is the process of preparing your boat to withstand the winter weather. This is an important part of your boat maintenance. It helps to prevent damage and ensure a smooth, problem-free, and worry-free return to sailing come spring-time.
So, where should you start?
Here at Gael Force, we have a wide range for all your boating winterisation requirements but it can be time-consuming to find all the right products.
To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for laying up your boat:
1. Tetrion Moisture Mate Absorber – £7.99
If moisture is left unattended, it can lead to serious problems such as condensation, damp and mildew. The “Moisture Mate” absorber is a simple and safe way to help reduce moisture in the air on your boat. It is also a much cheaper alternative to buying a dehumidifier. Most effective when placed in the harder to reach places and little nooks and crannies.
2. Starbrite Salt Off Concentrated Protector with Applicator – £55.49
Salt Off removes salt deposits from virtually all marine surfaces and fishing/diving gear. It’s also an incredibly effective way to flush and remove salt deposits from engines at any time, but especially at the end of the season.
Its biodegradable formula contains no harsh solvents or caustic acids and leaves a protective non-slippery polymer coating to repel future salt deposits.
This is a complete kit with an applicator but a spray bottle for surface use is also available.
3. Polygon Eco Bilge Cleaner Sachets – £10.99
Polygon’s bilge wash is an eco-friendly way to clean out the bilges. The polymer powder-filled sachets are water-soluble so they can be pre-dissolved in water. Alternatively, you can simply add them straight to disperse oil and disinfect the bilge.
Everything about it is biodegradable, reducing the need for the usual plastic containers and helping us do our bit for the environment while making this job easier too.
This product is really handy and versatile as you can also use it to clean the decks, superstructure and hulls. While you’re doing this, you should also test out of the bilge pumps to ensure they are working as they should!
4. Starbrite Sail & Canvas Cleaner – £11.49
This handy little product is specially formulated to get rid of dirt, grease, and stains from both natural and synthetic fabrics, including sails, boat covers and bimini tops.
It is easily applied once diluted and the solution does not weaken fabric or thread. It’s the perfect product for ensuring your sail and other fabric on your boat are spotless after a busy season.
You can also follow this up by applying Starbrite’s Waterproofing Treatment to make material watertight and resistant to future soiling, giving you less work to do in the future.
5. Pela Oil Extractors in sizes 2-14L – From £41.49
The Pela Oil Extractors are the perfect solution for quick, easy, powerful, and clean oil extraction from your outboard and inboard engines.
With size options available for most engine sizes, the internal float switch automatically stops extraction when it reaches max capacity so there’s never any concern about it overflowing.
The see-through material and calibrated walls make it easy to see how much oil has been removed.
6. Polyform F-Series Fenders – from £17.49
Fenders are important for taking the hit in bad weather so your boat doesn’t have to, absorbing the kinetic energy of your boat berthing against a jetty and preventing damage to vessels and berthing structures.
This is especially relevant with the stormy conditions we’ve been hit with this year and will stand you in good stead while your boat is unattended over the next 6 months for any other storms forecast.
Polyform’s heavy-duty fenders come in a range of sizes to suit your vessel and have high abrasive resistance and energy absorption. They’re also tested in temperatures ranging from -30 degrees to +60 degrees Celsius so you know they’ll withstand all weathers.
7. Starbrite Non-Toxic Premium Anti-Freeze – £10.99
Starbrite’s anti-freeze is the perfect solution to provide cold weather and corrosion protection for your water systems and engines, preventing them from freezing up while in storage.
Safe and effective to use on aluminium, copper, brass, and all types of plastic without compromising rubber, seals, or hose materials. It is an incredibly versatile and useful product!
This anti-freeze provides burst protection to -46 degrees Celsius and freeze protection ranging from -11 degrees to -9 degrees Celsius. Even better, you can use it immediately – no dilution required!
8. Hylite Slimline Tube Heater with Thermostat – from £26.95
Hylite’s Tube Heater is a great addition to your boat to ensure good air circulation in enclosed spaces and assists with preventing condensation and dampness. This choice is low power at 240v and slimline with an energy-saving thermostat which can be left on the boat.
It can be fitted using the brackets provided, either by mounting them on the wall or on the floor. It is fitted with a UK plug and IP44 rated for water resistance. Available in 3 sizes: 0.5m, 1.0m and 1.5m with a 1.5-metre long cable.
Protect your tube heater with Hylite’s Heater Guard.
9. Gael Force Rubber Mooring Compensator – from £11.49
Also known as “rubber snubbers”, this mooring compensator is designed for use on small boats and can be used with up to 15mm rope. Rubber snubbers reduce boat movement at a mooring or on a marina berth.
It is sturdy, constructed from natural rubber, and resilient to sea-water, sunlight, and weather, meaning it’ll take the strain in bad weather conditions and you won’t have to worry about it when it’s docked for the winter, just like your fenders.
10. CT1 Unique Sealant & Construction Adhesive – From £13.49
Be careful not to let any gradual gaps or flaking old sealant to fester over the winter period – some say it’s cheaper to deal with the problem now rather than let it deteriorate.
You’re in luck though! CT1 Sealant is a unique all-purpose adhesive that can be used in most applications without the need for any additional fixings. It can successfully bond metal, glass, wood, polystyrene, mirrors, and almost any material, making it a must-have for this time of year for any boat maintenance needs.
This sealant is resistant to chemicals, UV, and fungal growth while maintaining environmental compliance. It can be painted, does not shrink and is odourless. Most importantly, it works in wet or dry conditions.
For a further list of products suitable for this process, visit our “Laying Up Your Boat” shop.