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Oct 10, 2019

For many, an annual haul-out marks the end of the boating season.

Plan it all out first so it doesn't make you crazy.

Here"s an article about the ritual by Mark Corke and Charles Fort IN BOATUS

Many boats will have to be hauled by a boatyard or marina at some point. You might think that all you have to do is show up with your boat to be plucked from the water and deposited safely in the yard, but not so fast. Forward planning ensures things go smoothly for you, your boat, and the yard.

Make Arrangements

f your marina has a travel hoist, hauling at your home port is often the most straightforward option: Your boat will already be at the haul-out location, and the yard staff may be familiar with it. If it's not possible to haul at your marina, there are specific logistical considerations, not least that you will have to move your boat and deliver it to the yard at the appointed time.

Once you've decided where your boat will be hauled, you need to decide when. Give the yard as much notice as possible: Don't wait until the day before and expect them to be able to accommodate you. Keep in mind that the yard's busy season is during late fall when boats are pulled for winter storage and then again in the spring when boats are relaunched. Schedule accordingly. Jay Leszynski, owner of Merri-Mar Yacht Basin in Newburyport, Massachusetts agrees, "Spring and fall are our busiest times by far. Not only do we have a lot of boats to move, but we have to plan where to put them once they come ashore. Letting us know your plans early helps us a lot".

Cost And Scope

Check with the yard on how much you will be charged for haulout service. Most yards charge by the foot and will often have a minimum fee. In many cases, the cost also includes a relaunch, but you need to be sure. Some yards have haulout contracts. If yours does, read it carefully to know what is — or is not — included. If your yard doesn't have a contract, ask questions and take notes so you are clear about the arrangements.

If you expect your boat to be out for a fairly short time for some maintenance, such as a bottom job, anode change, thru-hull or transducer installation, tell the yard this. If your boat is buried at the back of the lot with other boats parked in front, you may not be able to launch when you want. If you are storing ashore for the winter months, let the yard know when you would like to be launched in the spring, as this will have some bearing on where they place your boat.

If you want the yard to do some work on your boat while it's out of the water, talk to them about it up front. If you forget to tell them, it may delay things if they don't have you on the schedule or they don't have the necessary parts in stock.

If you plan to do some or all of the work yourself, talk to the yard about this, too. They may have policies about what you can and can't do yourself. Many marinas prohibit owners from working on their boats, citing insurance or environmental reasons, which is sometimes merely a way of getting more work for their crew. Flexible marinas may allow you to do your own work provided you comply with all rules, such as no hull sanding without a vacuum and laying ground cover under the boat to catch hazards like spilled bottom paint.

Lifting Your Baby

On the actual day of the haul, plan to be there if you can. You'll be able to take a look at just how fouled the bottom is before it's pressure washed and you'll get an idea of how your anti-fouling paint is working. Most yards do this immediately after the boat is hauled so the fouling doesn't set like concrete. "We always pressure wash a boat as soon as it comes out of the water," Leszynski says. "We have a waste-recovery system, and this ensures any bottom paint, dirt, or other contaminants are contained. Pressure washing is included in the fee for hauling, and we won't move a boat into the yard until it has been washed."

It's normal for the owner to drive the boat into the travel hoist pit unless you have made alternative arrangements. Have plenty of fenders on both sides of the boat to protect the topsides should you be blown sideways. Listen carefully to instructions given to you by the yard staff operating the hoist who will have done this maneuver many times before. You probably won't need dock lines because the boat will be going right into the slings, but check with the lift operator. Larger sailboats may have to back in to the pit and even have the back stay removed so the rigging will clear the hoist. The staff won't lift a boat with you or the crew aboard so they'll tell you when to get off and anything else they need you to do before vacating the boat. Don't forget to shut off the engines, air conditioners and other equipment before the boat is hoisted.

All tanks should be as empty as possible, and while it may not be practical to drain fuel tanks, it is relatively easy to drain water and waste tanks. Full tanks add significant weight to the boat, and empty tanks will put less strain on the boat's structure when it is sitting in an unnatural element on land.

Before the boat is hauled out of the water, tell the travel hoist operator about any underwater appendages, such as fin stabilizers or pod drives, transducers, speed wheels and other things not easily seen when the boat is in the water that could be damaged by the travel hoist slings. "We are familiar with most boat designs", says Leszynski, "but it is helpful if owners mention things that may be special about their particular boat".