Pre-launch Reminders

27 February 2015

We asked Rob Gaffney, principle of Hamble School of Yachting for his Spring top-tips for those about the re-launch their boats. As well as coming to help run the safety equipment inspections in Las Palmas for the ARC, Rob has a busy life managing the Schools fleet of yachts and many years’ experience as a professional sailor. 

Rob’s Pre-launch Reminders

As the days start to draw out we are reminded that a new sailing season is just around the corner. For most of us this means that having completed the winter refit ashore, with all the associated long cold days in the boatyard, we can look ahead to re-launch day. Having completed all the big jobs, however, it’s easy to forget some of the smaller ones, so here are my top-tips for items you might have overlooked.

  • Check the condition of your batteries. After a long period ashore with little activity they can loose performance. 
  • Check your primary fuel filter for water collection.
  • Do a radio check with the marina or a friend’s yacht. Try to avoid using the Coastguard for this during busy periods. 
  • Have you checked your lifejackets or had them serviced…for example are the lifejacket light batteries in date? Click here for a video of how to inspect and service your jackets.
  • If you have added new equipment that may affect the compass have you re swung it and compiled a new deviation curve?
  • Are you paper and electronic charts up to date? You can download charter corrections from sites such as . And remember if you want to add to your charts or pilots, there is a 10% members discount via the World Cruising Club shop page on Imray products.
  • How’s your first aid kit looking? Are any of your medicines out of date?
  • When’s the last time you checked your fire extinguishers? Do you know how often they need replacing/discharge testing? Take them all off their mounts and give them a good shake. This releases the dry powder than can settle and compact overtime.
  • And finally, do check your engine fluids and gearbox oil; this could save a potentially dangerous at worst, or at best embarrassing engine failure.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it will prompt you to have a little think about some of the more forgotten about items on your boat. It is worth remembering that it tends to be the small things that catch us out once offshore!