Remove as many items as is practical, focusing on ‘soft’ items such as sails, cushions, curtains, clothes and bedding. If you are out on a swinging mooring then it is often worth heading to a pontoon to cut down on tender trips. If you can’t remove the cushions try and store them on edge, which will help.
Leave lockers, bin lids and sole panels open.
Remove all food (even food with a very long shelf life should be chucked out).
Empty and disinfect the fridge and leave the door wedged open.
Empty water tanks (don’t forget the calorifier if you have hot water) and run the pipes and pumps empty.
Empty and sponge out the bilges.
Clear cockpit and deck drains. Use a grating, or upturned seive to prevent leaves or debris blocking them, risking flooding water below decks.
Burn off any gas in the pipes and turn it off at the bottle.
Disconnect, clean, copper grease and reconnect battery terminals. Disconnect any unnecessary cables to avoid any hidden power drain.
Ventilation is essential if you want to keep the boat free from damp and mildew. If you don’t have all-weather vents on hatches, fitting them will make all the difference. Anything you can do to keep your boat watertight yet able to have some airflow will be a big help.
Take flares and other safety equipment home to dry-store and check replacement or servicing dates.
Pump the toilet dry after flushing with fresh water. Deodorise and clean the holding tank if you have one, then leave it empty and dry.
Check and clean navigation light terminals and grease them with silicone grease to prevent poor connections.
It’s safest to send someone aloft when the boat is still in the water
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