Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Last Updated: September 2022
We might not want to admit it but the nights are creeping in earlier and earlier and soon the clocks will be going back, signalling the shift away from those long summer days. It must mean it’s time to lay up your boat.
What does “laying up” your boat mean?
Laying up or “winterisation” is the process of preparing your boat to withstand the winter weather. Whether it’s better kept indoors or outdoors, 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 springtime.
When should you lay up your boat?
The ‘sailing season’ can be subjective and ultimately will depend on your personal circumstances and location. Usually, you would lay up your boat at the end of the summer months when the days start getting shorter and you’re unlikely to be on your boat as frequently as before.
What products should you use for laying up your boat?
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. Hylite Slimline Tube Heater with Thermostat – from £28.00
Hylite’s Tube Heater is a great addition to your boat to ensure good air circulation in enclosed spaces while helping to prevent 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.
BONUS: Protect your tube heater with Hylite’s Heater Guard.
2. Tygris Water Displacing Anti-Rust Agent – £5.95
While your boat is lying dormant for months, make sure to guard your components against corrosion. Tygris’ anti-rust agent has cleaning, lubricating, and degreasing properties securing this all-in-one as a must-have!
It also displaces water which makes driving out moisture an easy task and future upkeep less time intensive as it leaves behind a fine film for longer-term protection.
3. Trem Battery Boxes – from £13.45
A battery box is an essential item that can help contain your batteries and maintain their integrity when left out of use for a long period of time. These battery boxes are suitable for batteries with a maximum of 90 to 140 Ah therefore they should cover most battery storage needs.
4. Gael Force Rubber Mooring Compensator – from £12.45
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 against seawater, 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.
BONUS: It comes in two larger sizes.
5. Starbrite Salt Off Concentrated Protector with Applicator – £43.95
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.
6. Captain Tolley Creeping Crack Cure – £9.45
Spotted some cracks appearing on your boat? Look no further than Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure. It is a penetrating co-polymer sealant that fins its way into fine cracks and sets a clear flexible seal.
It can be used on leaking windows, portlights, decks, cracked planks, and more! Perfect for fixing up those problems that you might have been avoiding this summer.
7. Trem Engine Covers – from £8.45
These great value engine covers from Trem are made of very resistant polyester to guarantee maximum protection from rain and UV rays (the silver colour helping to reflect UV rays). They are made with a rope closure to ensure flexibility in fitting your engine.
Choose between covering the head of the engine or the full engine (including stem) and then check the measurements of your outboard against the dimensions of the outboard cover to ensure you get the right one for you to keep your engine protected!
8. Starbrite Sail & Canvas Cleaner – £12.95
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.
9. WM Smith & Son Sailmaker’s Needles and Palm – from £9.45
Another few products that are useful for your sail, or any other similar material, are the sailmaker’s needles and palm. Fix up any tears easily with these products so you don’t have to worry about it next year.
The needles come in an assortment of sizes, and you have the option of left or right hand for the sailmaker’s palm, made from light quality leather and offering a small, covered needle guide.
10. Trem Stainless Steel Outboard Motor Lock – £20.45
Don’t leave your outboard open to theft over extended unattended periods of time! This stainless-steel motor lock comes complete with a brass padlock.
It features a pipe which fits over the transom clamps and locks into place with the padlock making it an easy to use but highly effective security measure ensuring your peace of mind.
Available in two sizes – 240mm and 320mm in length.
11. CT1 Unique Sealant & Construction Adhesive – £14.95
Be careful not to leave 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 perfect for this time of year for any 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.
12. Starbrite Fogging Oil – £7.45
Excellent for use on marine outboard engines, this fogging oil uses a special formula which makes starting your engine quick and easy after it has been in storage.
It will also protect the cylinder walls, piston rings, and other combustion chamber surfaces from rust and corrosion when it is in storage. It’s also suitable for use on both inboard and outboard engines.
The perfect multi-functional product to keep in your arsenal to ensure the smooth running of your engine.
13. Polygon Eco Bilge Cleaner Sachets – £9.45
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 in 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!
14. Polyform F-Series Fenders – from £19.68
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 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.
15. Pela Oil Extractors in sizes 2-14L – From £46.95
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.
For a further list of products suitable for this process, visit our “Laying Up Your Boat” shop.