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

1.moisture-mate

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

2.polygon-eco-bilge-cleaner

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

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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

5.sail-cleaner

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

6.compensator

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

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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

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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.

How To Remove Antifouling

Disclaimer: This post is intended as a guide.

As we come to the end of the sailing season, it’s time to consider laying up your boat for the winter and one aspect of this is removing the antifoul from your boat if it is in poor condition.

Now, opinions are split on when is best to strip the old antifoul. Some people will wait until next year when they bring their boat out to apply fresh antifoul. However, there is a train of thought that suggests doing it now could save in time and effort in the lead up to the season next year as the old antifoul is still soft and easier to strip.

We briefly covered how to remove antifouling in our Antifouling FAQs post earlier this year but we have now expanded on this topic further with its own dedicated blog post.

Read on to find out how best to remove antifoul from your boat.

1. Prioritise Health & Safety.

It’s extremely important before you begin this type of work to ensure you are wearing the correct protective gear. This includes safety goggles, nitrile rubber gloves, overalls, and a solvent mask (if working in a confined space).

bcf-antifouling-dos-donts

It is also highly recommended that you work in an area that is sufficiently ventilated.

Although it is more focused on applying rather than removing, it is worth keeping in mind this handy leaflet created by The British Coatings Federation (BCF) to “inform and educate boat owners with regard to the hazards associated with antifouling their boats.”

2. Remove loose antifouling.

Whether the boat has just come out of the water or it has just come out of storage, you’ll want to begin by removing any loose antifouling with a high-pressure fresh-water washer.

Make sure that any residue and wash water is contained during this process and disposed of appropriately afterwards. Once this has been completed, mask off all areas that will be stripped.

3. Use an antifouling stripper.

interstrip

To remove old antifouling, you can use a paint stripper like International’s Interstrip AF. These products have been specially formulated to remove antifouling from all substrates and Interstrip, in particular, won’t harm the gelcoat when used on glass fibre.

Application of the paint stripper should be generous and with an old brush. Ensure you follow further application guidelines provided on the product label.

You should leave the product to work for a minimum of 10 minutes, though the time required will depend on the temperature and the amount of old antifouling on the hull.

4. Remove old antifoul.

Once the appropriate amount of time for the stripper has passed, take off the old antifoul with a blunt scraper while it is still soft. Ensure the product does not dry out by working on small areas at a time.

Interstrip is able to remove several coats of antifoul in one go but heavy build-up might require this step to be repeated several times.

Final Note: Remember that you will need to sand and prime the hull before applying fresh antifouling.


N.B. Due to the strict carriage of dangerous goods regulations, Gael Force can only dispatch antifouling and associated products to addresses on the UK Mainland.