Top Products for Laying Up Your Boat

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. The clocks will soon be going back again, lulling us into a false sense of security with our ‘extra hour’ in bed… 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 in order 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 of products for all your boating winterisation requirements but it can be time-consuming to find all the right products for this process.

To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for laying up your boat this year:

1. Tetrion Moisture Mate Absorber – £7.49


The “Moisture Mate” absorber is a simple and safe way to help reduce moisture in the air on your boat. If moisture is left unattended, it can lead to serious problems such as condensation, damp and mildew. This is also a much cheaper alternative to buying a dehumidifier and most effective when placed in the harder to reach places and little nooks and crannies.

2. Polygon Eco Bilge Cleaner Sachets – £9.99


This 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 or simply added straight to disperse oil and disinfect the bilge.

Everything about it is biodegradable so using this product will reduce the need for the usual plastic containers, 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. And while you’re doing this, you should also test out of the bilge pumps to ensure they are working as they should!

3. Alke Mini Catalytic Heater – £184.49


For the last decade, boat owners have been raving to us about this heater!

The minicat Catalytic Heater works off butane or propane gas and comes complete with safety thermocouple. The safety factor is the catalytic element which allows the gas to burn away without a flame at a relatively low temperature, therefore avoiding any possibility of an accidental fire.

It is CE approved and complete with FFD (Flame Failure Device) but you should always maintain permanent ventilation when the heater is being used. Install it free-standing or wall-mounted to keep your cabin warm.

4. Starbrite Sail & Canvas Cleaner – £10.49


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. Polyform F-Series Fenders – from £15.99


Fenders are important for taking the hit in bad weather so your boat doesn’t have to because they absorb the kinetic energy of your boat berthing against a jetty and prevent damage to vessels and berthing structures.

This is especially relevant with the stormy conditions we’ve been hit with recently and will stand you in good stead while your boat is unattended over the next 6 months for any other storms forecast.

These 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.

6. Starbrite Non-Toxic Premium Anti-Freeze – £9.99


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.

It is 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. And even better, it’s ready to use immediately – no dilution required!

7. CT1 Unique Sealant & Construction Adhesive – From £12.49


Be careful not to let any gradual gaps or flaking old sealant to fester over the winter period – some might 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.

It 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.

8. OML Volcano Outboard Motor Lock – £67.99


Don’t leave your outboard open to theft over extended unattended periods of time! Made in the UK and from high grade 316 stainless steel, this bolt lock is one of the best in the marine market.

It is built to resist theft as the smart cone shape design makes it difficult for offenders to strike hard and awkward to grip with a huge wrench. This is what you want from a lock when ensuring your expensive outboard is safe over the winter. Suitable for use with most Suzuki, Honda, and Tohatsu engines.

9. Gael Force Mooring Compensator – from £10.49


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.

Also available in two other sizes.

10. 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.

11. Jabsco Twist N Lock Toilet (Compact Bowl) – £119.95


Depending on when you prefer to kit out your boat, this might just be the perfect time to replace your toilet. The ‘Twist n Lock’ toilet from Jabsco is our best-selling toilet so it won’t leave you wanting for quality.

The white vitreous china bowl and enamelled wooden seat and cover lend themselves to the twist n lock function which is an action handle to seal down the toilet seat and protect against symphonic flooding and waste backflow.

It has also been designed for easy left or right-handed installation and with easy access for maintenance. So, if it’s time for you to upgrade, this is the toilet you want!

For a further list of products suitable for this process, visit our “Laying Up Your Boat” shop.

A quick look at the Gael Force Marine Megastore

Did you know that Gael Force has 3 stores across the UK (with sites in a further 3 locations)?

Our Marine Megastore in Inverness (South Kessock) is one of our biggest sites. Here we stock products from many areas of interests, including leisure marine, commercial fishing, and commercial marine.

We also have a large warehouse adjacent to the store, with 400,000 cubic feet of storage, and between the two, this Summer, we’re filled to the brim with stock and look forward to helping you find what you need!

In addition to Inverness, we have our Marine Centre in Glasgow (Hillington Industrial Estate) which stocks a smaller range of commercial marine and leisure marine products while our Plymouth Marine Centre (Sutton Harbour) focuses largely on products for commercial fishing.

Watch this short snapshot of our Inverness Marine Megastore and pop in to see what’s in store for yourself. Take the chance to get up close and personal with our range of kayaks, dinghies, creel, engines, boat maintenance products, clothing and more!

Inverness Megastore Opening Times:

Mon-Fri: 8am – 5.30pm

Sat: 9am – 5pm.

Sun: Closed.

Glasgow & Plymouth Opening Times:

Mon-Fri: 8.30am – 5pm.

Sat & Sun: Closed.

Get our addresses and contact numbers through our Store Locator.

MCA – What are the minimum compliance requirements for fishing vessels?

At the end of last year, the Maritime and Coastal Agency (MCA) updated their documentation for ensuring fishing vessel compliance with international and UK safety requirements and correct certificates for vessels to operate in territorial waters.

Some of the main changes are:

  • Liferafts are now required on open vessels 7m (L) – 15m (LOA) and decked vessels 7-10m (L) (The type of liferaft required depends on the distance from a safe haven based on operating miles).
  • Emergency drills are mandatory.
  • Radar reflectors must be fitted to all vessels.
  • Bilge Alarms should be added to open vessels 7m (L) – 15m (LOA).
  • Certificates must be issued for Small Fishing Vessels.
  • EPIRBs with built-in GPS receiver are required for all vessels over 10m (L).
  • Vessels under 10m can have PLBs for each crew member or an EPIRB.
  • Carbon Monoxide Monitors should be fitted if the vessel has an enclosed cooking/heating space.

If you have previously registered your vessel, you will not have to meet the new liferaft and EPIRB/PLB requirements right away but you do have to meet them by the end of October 2019. Any vessels newly registering need to comply immediately.

While not mandatory, the Code also strongly recommends that all fishermen wear Personal Flotation Devices.

The products required on board are much the same across the different sizes of vessels (under 7m, 7-12m, 12-15m) however, the larger the vessel, the higher the quantity of the products you will need.

What you need to do now:

The process of ensuring your vessel complies can be time-consuming so to make things easier, Gael Force has pulled together a list of products that are suitable for Open and Decked vessels of various sizes so that our customers can stock up and meet these requirements for inspection.

We’ve also included a guidance document/checklist for each vessel for quantities required for each product which can be found on the individual vessel pages.

These lists are intended as a guide. You should always check your specific requirements directly with the MCA.

Their updated documentation can be read here which includes the full list of changes.


Best Black Friday Chandlery Deals at Gael Force

Although Black Friday isn’t native to the UK, given that Brits don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s still one of the biggest shopping days of the year. This year, it falls on Friday 24th November and is generally regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

Of course, Gael Force couldn’t resist getting involved with offering discounted chandlery products for you to benefit from so let’s take a look at some of the best Black Friday deals we have to offer this year.

This list is by no means exhaustive so make sure you visit our Black Friday shop (link at the bottom) so that you don’t miss out on our other great deals on sailing clothing, marine electronics, and much more!

1. Holebrook Frank JacketRRP £149 NOW £109.95 (Save 26%)


This full-zip windproof sweater is perfect for keeping the chill away in any season. The subtle red contrast stitch on the collar, flat knitted arms and pattern knitted front make this piece fashionable, comfortable, and functional.  It comes in navy or light grey and is unisex so it can be worn by men and women of all ages! Don’t forget to opt for a size up from your normal size to ensure the best fit. You can’t go wrong with Holebrook and its high-quality knitwear. Don’t just take our word for it though, have a look at what our customers say and browse more Holebrook Windproof jumpers.

2. Icom IC-M323G Compact Fixed VHF/DSC RadioRRP £254.99 NOW £199.95 (Save 22%)


The IC-M323G is almost identical to Icom’s best-selling IC-M323 but with the added benefit of an integral GPS receiver. This useful addition allows current position and time to be used for DSC calls with the option of an internal or external GPS data source. The radio menu is easy to navigate and the directional keypad helps you perform various operations without any issues. The built-in DSC watch functions include distress, individual, group, all ships, urgency, safety, DSC test calls, and more. It can even withstand submersion in up to 1m depth of water for 30 minutes, though we wouldn’t recommend you test it out!

3. Gill OS1 Offshore Sailing Jacket – RRP £425 NOW £295.00 (Save 31%)


Gill’s OS1 Offshore Jacket doesn’t compromise on protection for sailing in the toughest ocean conditions so it’s an easy choice to make. This jacket is durable, waterproof, light, and breathable, using a new shell fabric which has been designed to withstand open ocean environments. Its high, wrap-around face guard, hand-warmer pockets and hood offer maximum comfort and protection. The exterior material is 100% nylon, while the interior fleece is 100% polyester. In addition to this, there is a handy D-ring attachment point for marine tools or a kill-cord leash. Choose from graphite (men’s) or red (women’s). This jacket won’t be around for much longer so take advantage while stocks last!

The women’s version is also available on the website with 31% off, along with the matching Offshore Sailing Trousers for men and women which are 28% off.

4. Starbrite Boat Guard 650ml – RRP £18.89 NOW £12.95 (Save 31%)


This Boat Guard Speed Detailer and Protectant uses high-tech polymers that can bond to fibreglass, polished metal, plastics, rubber, and painted surfaces. This spray gently removes dirt and grime while adding shine, enhancing the colour and providing a barrier against UV damage. The bonus of using this product is that you can extend the time between having your boat waxed or polished. To use, simply spray onto the appropriate surface and clean with a cloth before lightly buffing the area.

5. Sealskinz All Season GlovesRRP £47.50 NOW £33.00 (Save 31%)


What more could you want this winter or even all-year round with this pair of All Season Gloves? Available in black or black and purple, these gloves are soft, supple and durable with a goatskin leather palm for comfort, control and a natural feel. They’re 100% waterproof, windproof and breathable – the perfect addition to your gear this winter season. The soft touch Velcro closure allows for a secure fit and the pull on tab means no struggling to put them on. And to make things even easier, they’re touch screen compatible (on the thumb and index finger) meaning you won’t have to brave the cold to use your phone.

The women’s pair is also available on the website at 31% off too.

6. Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro Fishfinder/ChartplotterRRP £545 NOW £429.95 (Save 21%)


The Dragonfly 5 Pro makes it easy to identify fish and underwater objects with its photo-like sonar images. The use of wide spectrum DownVision CHIRP technology allows for more sonar signals to be transmitted into the water across a range of sonar frequencies, giving you more detail, unmatched image clarity and resolution, and the ability to target more fish. Its all-weather 5″ LCD display has high-definition colour and is optically bonded so it’s guaranteed to never fog up. The European C-Map Essentials Cartography is included with the unit (along with the CPT-DVS Transducer) but it is also compatible with Navionics and LightHouse charts. It even comes with built-in Wi-Fi to stream sonar data straight to your smartphone or tablet via the Wi-Fish app.

7. Trem Full Engine CoverRRP £24.99. NOW from £15.99 (Save 36%)


Trem’s engine covers are made from extra strong polyester which is UV resistant making them great value for money. They come in three different sizes – small (140cm x 125cm), medium (160cm x 150cm), and large (180cm x 145cm) – to suit your outboard engine. Make sure you check the measurements of your outboard to find out which size is best for you. The covers are available in silver grey.

Check out the rest of our deals in our Black Friday shop. We’ve split them up across sailing clothing, marine electronics, boat maintenance and all categories to make it easier for you to browse. You’ll be spoiled for choice!

Offers end on Cyber Monday (27th November) so don’t miss out!