We’re hauled out this week, having the bottom of the boat repainted with anti-fouling paint and taking care of some other routine maintenance.
And with that comes a brain dump of tips for hauling out your boat, in no particular order:
- Know where the lift points (sling positions) are for your boat. Mark them with tape so that the crane operator can see them or at least have a side picture of your boat in slings so the operator can see the position.
- If at all possible, check out the entrance channel and TravelLift well before the haul out day. Hauling out is stressful enough; knowing the dockage and how you’ll enter the TravelLift makes it a lot easier.
- Most yards want you off the boat while the boat is being lifted and pressure washed. Be prepared to be off the boat for several hours when you step off — grab your shoes, purse, wallet, dog, water bottle, hat, sunglasses and anything else you may need.
- If you’ll be staying on the boat, find out how to enter/exit the yard after hours.
- Know where to get water and power. There may be separate faucets for drinking water and boat washing.
- Is there a key or code for the bathroom and showers?
- Tie the ladder to the boat
- Put an old rug or even a “rag” towel at the base of the ladder and take your shoes off before going aboard — this will keep a lot of dirt from being tracked in. Read more about Surviving Dirty Nasty Boat Projects.
- If you have a larger dog, figure out how to get it on and off the boat (if your dog is small enough to carry under one arm, it’s easy). Best is if the yard has a stairway instead of a ladder to go up and down! Otherwise, you’ll have to rig a harness and lifting mechanism.
- Plan the work ahead of time. What will the yard do and what will you do?
- Know what jobs have to be done before others. If you have a rain day, what work can you still do?
- Think your projects through and get parts and supplies ahead of time. There will still be some surprises, but minimizing the trips to the store makes work go much faster!
- And speaking of surprises, count on a couple. We’ve never had a haul out where we didn’t discover extra work that we needed to do or broke a bolt or something that caused a delay. Accept it as part of the deal.
- If you’re doing any appreciable part of the work yourself, you’re likely to be tired (okay, exhausted) at the end of the day. Plan easy meals and stock up on groceries before hitting the yard. Eating out is also an option but there are days when I’m just so tired I don’t feel like going anywhere.
- Learn the names of the yard employees working on your boat and make a point to exchange pleasantries with them. Offer a cold drink if it’s hot. You’ll be surprised at how much more smoothly your work goes.
- Are you allowed to grill while on the hard? Many yards allow gas grilling but not charcoal due to the fire hazard.
- If you have a watermaker, decide if you’re going to pickle it before hauling out or if you’ll do freshwater flushes. If fresh water flushing, be sure you can de-chlorinate tap water if you have to use it (charcoal block filter will do it).
- In the middle of the night, you’ll appreciate a composting head.
- Right before re-launching (hopefully, just a couple of hours before), wash the deck of the boat one final time. Boatyards are dirty places and you’ll be surprised how much dirt comes off even if you washed it the day before.
Over the course of nearly twelve years of owning cruising boats, we’ve hauled out a number of times, twice living aboard for four months while on the hard. More often, we’ve hauled out for a week to ten days for a bottom job and a few maintenance jobs that couldn’t be done in the water. The shorter ones can be harder, as you’re trying to get everything done quickly. We tend to work from sunlight to sunset, then get up and do it all over again. Despite cruising being active, life during a short haul out generally includes a lot of physical labor. A little planning ahead can make it all go more smoothly.
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