Is it that time again? If your vessel is hauling out for bottom paint and/or out-of-the-water repairs, here are some tips that will help the process run smoothly, prevent confusion, damage and dead batteries.

Have a shore power cable suitable for your boat available on board. We cannot guarantee that the boat will be plugged in while at the yard, but if there is no cordset, the odds get considerably lower. Like zero.

– As written above, there is no guarantee that shore power will be available while the boat is at the yard. Refrigerators, freezers, and icemakers should be turned off from both AC and DC power sources, emptied of all perishables, and defrosted before the boat comes to the yard. All DC systems and the battery switches should be left turned off.

– Boatyards are typically booked out weeks in advance. Make sure your schedule, the yard’s schedule and any vendor schedules are all lined up. Scope out in advance when and where the boat should be dropped off. Typically, the yard wants the boat dropped off first thing on the morning the date the haulout is scheduled, or after hours the evening before.

Make sure the vessel has adequate fenders and docklines on board. Boats get moved around at the yard docks before and after launching so gear is needed for both sides of the vessel. There should be a minimum of four fenders and four docklines (2 each per side). More is better. The docklines should be in good condition and long enough to reach the dock cleats which may be farther away at the yard docks than they are in your slip.

Make sure your fuel tank(s) have adequate fuel in them. This may seem like something that goes without saying, but we have seen multiple incidents where a boat that we are working on at the yard turns out to have no fuel in it. As a matter of standard operating procedure, it is best to keep fuel tanks full anyway. This minimizes air in the tank, which minimizes condensation, which is a common source of water in fuel.

Remove excess gear from the vessel before bringing it to the yard. Kayaks, paddleboards and such on deck, and fishing gear, chairs, coolers etcetera in the cockpit are a theft risk and can even be dangerous for yard personnel. Stuff has to be moved out of the way when technicians are working on the boat. First Watch Marine and the boatyard accept no responsibility for valuables lost or stolen from a vessel at the yard.

Don’t schedule a weekend on the water immediately after the week a haulout is scheduled. There can be delays in haulouts or launches, or discoveries during the process that require additional time out of the water.

Make sure the cabin keys and ignition keys are available. They should either be hidden in an agreed location on board, turned in to the yard office, or given to First Watch Marine for safekeeping. The boat should be left locked to minimize opportunities for thieves or vandals.

-If you are managing the haulout directly with the yard, try not to schedule multiple vendors to work on the vessel at the same time. This can create confusion and cause costly delays. If something can be done in the water it is usually best do it in the slip or at the yard docks. If you do have multiple vendors/projects, make sure the vendors are aware of it so they can communicate to prevent overlap. 

To speak to a First Watch Marine representative call (619) 916-1730 or send us an email at

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