Preparing Your Boat for Launch

As a new sailing season approaches, whether your vessel of choice is a dinghy or an ocean going motor yacht, you’ll want to make sure the start to your boating season isn’t interrupted by something you can prevent. 

To help boat owners get off to a good start, we’ve put together a number of handy hints and tips, which may help you avoid some of the most common claims. 

How can you protect your vessel?

Compile a list of pre-launch actions, whether you will be carrying out checks yourself, or giving instructions to your boatyard, having a clear checklist can help avoid costly mistakes. These checks are particularly important after winter where skin fittings, pipes, engines, and water-cooling systems may have suffered damage that is not readily noticeable from a casual inspection.

We also recommend, where possible, that the owner is present when the boat is launched. If this is not possible, then the boatyard should have precise instructions to inspect your boat internally after launching, to make sure it's water tight. Sinking follow a launch, is not unheard of, so it’s important to check all fittings above and below the waterline are secure.  

Insurance should also be a key part of your checklist, so if the unfortunate does happen, you can get back out on the water as quickly as possible. To speak to our team of boat insurance specialists, to make sure you have the protection you need, call 0800 783 8057. 

Pre-launch checks

  • Check all the water-carrying pipes.
  • Have the engine serviced and checked by a marine engineer.
  • Do not start the engine until all the basic checks are complete, including checking the sea cocks are open and have not seized up.
  • Check the fuel and gas systems.
  • Check all hoses are properly attached, preferably double clipped.
  • Check anodes and replace if necessary.
  • Check the rigging by making sure all pins are in place, turned back properly and taped off.
  • We recommend a full rigging check by a professional team; as hairline cracks are very difficult to spot.
  • Ensure that fire extinguishers, flares and life jackets are up-to-date and fully serviced. 
  • If you are using a trailer; check the bearings as failure can often lead to major hull damage if a wheel comes off.

Once afloat

  • Check the stern gland/glands. 
  • Check the engine water pumps.
  • Check skin fittings and seacocks.
  • Give the bilge area a thorough examination.
  • Check the auto bilge pumps.

By following these simple checks, you could help reduce your chances of damaging your vessel ‒ and sail in to the new season pain-free, and hopefully claims-free.