Top Tips For Your Annual Marine Fitout

Getting your boat fitted out for the new season requires plenty of planning and the use of a well-experienced fitting out team. The team will come with a full set of tools, silicone grease, petroleum jelly, cans of lubricating oil, penetrating oil, degreaser and some wooden bungs. They will bring engine spares and treatment materials for water and fuel tanks. It is essential that marine fitouts are carried out wherever possible without delay while the fitout team has to go off site to source needed material.

On deck maintenance

The anchor connector will need to be inspected; in particular, the shackles need to be examined closely. Next, turn your attention to the anchor chain, it is advised to mark off your chain every five metres, so that you can accurately measure your cable length. It is possible to use purpose built colour chain markers, but coloured chain cable ties will work perfectly well, alternatively a paint mark will do fine too.

The Windlass


Of all the deck machinery, the windlass is the most exposed and should always be attended to. If you have a manual windless check that it is clean and working correctly. For a powered windlass the gypsy should be removed, the drum greased and the foot switch needs to be checked that it is not storing water. Next, the electrical connections should be checked and greased with petroleum jelly.

Completing the on deck maintenance

The manual bilge pumps are important and they need to be checked. Take the strum box and place it in a bucket of water to make sure that the diaphragm does not have a leak and that the bilge pipe is not blocked. Before the mask is restepped, you should check the sheaves of signs of wear and tear and be particularly attentive to spot any cracking at the rigging terminals. If your mast is stepped, take advantage of this and make sure that the VHF radio is working fine and your masthead lights are functioning too.

Winches need careful attention as salt can build up and oil and grease consequently lose their viscosity, as a result, springs and pawls can get stuck. Strip them down carefully, take particular care with older winches, check for wear and tear, wipe the winches clean and lightly re-grease every piece apart from the springs and pawls, as they require servicing with a light oil. If the pawls are difficult to move, make sure that you replace the springs.

Working below deck

Bilge pump impeller and gaskets should be daubed with grease and replaced if required; it is good practice to have some spare impellers on board too. If you have an automatic bilge pump check that it is working satisfactorily. Clear out all of last season’s debris from to bilge to make sure that the strumboxes are clear.

Check the heads pump, if it sticks run washing up liquid into the bowl. Completely flush and fill the water tank, add purifier, following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you did not fill your fuel tank to full at the end of the previous season to avoid condensation forming there is a risk of water seepage. If it wasn’t full open the drain tap to remove water and treat the fuel with diesel biocide to prevent diesel bug problems.