Take a look at our checklist of essential fitting-out tips

On deck

Anchor connector

Inspect your anchor connection, in this case two shackles, and seize the shackles if necessary (pictured above).

Anchor chain

Mark your chain every five metres, so you can keep track of your cable length. There are purpose-made chain markers but coloured cable ties are fine, or just paint the appropriate links different colours.


The windlass is always the most exposed piece of deck machinery and needs attention. If manual, check it’s working, then clean, check for wear, grease and tighten. For powered versions, remove the gypsy, grease the drum, check the foot switch for water, clean the electrical connections and smear them with petroleum jelly.

Manual bilge pumps

Sit the strum box in a bucket of water and pump to make sure the diaphragm doesn’t leak and that the hose is clear of blockages.


Before restepping, check sheaves for uneven wear and look for any cracking at rigging terminals. When restepped, take a halyard to each toerail to make sure it’s vertical. Check swages for broken strands, tape split pins and bottlescrews. If your mast remained stepped, check your masthead lights and VHF radio are working. If not, someone’s going up the mast with spare bulbs.


Salt builds up, oil and grease lose viscosity and winches will slip when springs and pawls get stuck. Carefully strip them down – older winches can be tricky – check for wear, soak or wash the components in degreaser, wipe clean and lightly regrease everything except the springs and pawls, which require a light oil (see yachtingmonthly. com for a guide to servicing winches). If the pawls don’t move freely, change the springs.

Click ‘next page’ to see our tips for fitting-out below deck.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. On deck
  3. 3. Below deck
  4. 4. Mechanical
  5. 5. Below the waterline
  6. 6. Safety
Page 2 of 6 - Show Full List