20 Dec2018

Laying-up afloat

Keep your boat safe this winter

Simple steps for laying-up afloat

A yacht with fenders securely tied to the toe rail at East Cowes Marina

Fenders tied to the toe rail

If you're going to leave your boat in the water over winter, there are some simple precautions you can take to ensure that she is safe and secure whatever the weather.


  • Double-up all mooring lines, and use ropes of appropriate strength
  • Use rubber 'snubbers' to reduce shock loading on cleats
  • Protect mooring lines from chafe where they pass through fairleads or over toerails
  • Use extra fenders - as many as possible
  • Tie fenders to the toe rail or secure points in preference to guardwires


  • Make the cover secure - check all clips, bungees and tie-downs
  • Remove the cover if the fabric is split or heavily worn otherwise the wind will split it further
  • If possible, remove or tie-down spray hoods as these can act like 'sails', putting stress on mooring ropes


  • Unless you are sailing all winter, remove the jib and main sail. Local sailmakers offer a valet service and collect from the marina for a reasonable cost
  • Furl the jib very tightly and tie it in with the sheets and a sail tie to avoid an accidental unfurl
  • Mains stored on the boom should be secured and the cover secured with sail ties or rope
  • In-mast mains should have the clew tied back to the mast to avoid an accidental unfurl


  • If you've removed the sails, replace the halyards with mousing line and take them home for a good wash
  • Tie-back or frap the halyards to stop them banging on the mast
  • Use a luff-saver or rope to secure luff foils which can flap in strong winds
Yacht with the main sail tied down securely and the boom cover secured at East Cowes Marina

Main sail tied down

A yacht with an in-mast furling main sail with the clew secured to stop it blowing out at East Cowes Marina

Furling main secured

A blue yacht with lots of fenders protecting the hull at East Cowes Marina

Lots of fenders

A RIB with a protective fender at East Cowes Marina

RIBs need fenders too!

A blue yacht with lots of shore lines securing again winter storms at East Cowes Marina

Lots of shore lines

Rubber tubing protecting mooring lines on a yacht from chafe at East Cowes Marina

Protect against chafe

Get a quote