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


Gas system

Inspect the hose for kinking or abrasion and make sure the regulator is tight. Its manufacture or replacement date will be printed on it, replace if it’s five years old. If in any doubt, replace. Check hose clips and tighten.

Harness and tethers

Check stitching and get repairs done by a sailmaker if necessary. Make sure all the clips work properly.

Jackstay and danbuoy lines

Always remove webbing jackstays and stow them in a locker whenever you’re leaving the boat, because ultraviolet light rots them terribly. If they’re wire, check them as you would guardrails and ideally remove any plastic cover – it prevents you inspecting them.


Unpack, noting how it’s been packed, inflate using the mouth piece, inspect for wear and damage, then leave inflated overnight to check for leaks. If it’s automatic, check the firing head is still primed, unscrew the canister and check for wear, smear some silicone grease on the firing cap and replace. Wash with freshwater and repack.

MOB lights

Undoubtedly one of the least reliable items on any yacht, which is unfortunate for a piece of safety kit. Invert to check it works. When it doesn’t, change bulb and the batteries, squirt WD40 on the copper contact strip inside. Use silicone grease on rubber seals when reassembling. Have a look at some LED ones: cheaper to run, lighter, so more likely to stay in the clips, and more durable.


Check stanchion roots for any play. Remove plastic lifeline sheathing to check for corrosion. Check split pins and cover with rigger’s tape. Add a cordage lashing on the lower guardrail for easier MOB recovery.

Leaving your boat?
Don’t forget a thing: click here to download Tom Cunliffe’s leave-your-boat checklist.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. On deck
  3. 3. Below deck
  4. 4. Mechanical
  5. 5. Below the waterline
  6. 6. Safety
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