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Readying your boat for the spring season

As warmer days approach, and the wilds of the winter storms are mainly behind us, now is the time to start readying your boat for the some spring sailing. If your boat has been in storage over winter, then here are our top tips on making it safe and seaworthy for the season ahead. 

Get your boat ready for the spring sailing season

Check your engine

Whether outboard or inboard, your engine may not have seen the light of day for some six months. Use a good light to inspect all elements; you’re looking for leaks, corrosion and any debris that might have found its way in during the winter months. If you removed the battery when you winterised your boat, now is the time to reinstall. 

We recommend paying particular attention to the following:

Stern glands/shaft seals
Engine oil
Filters (both oil and fuel)
Belts and drive wheels
ImpellerReadying your boat for summer

Readying your boat: safety equipment

No-one wants to be caught out with worn or out-of-date safety equipment. When getting your boat ready for summer, safety equipment must be serviceable. 

The following checklist will help you to stay say out on the water:
Lifejacket and life raft servicing should be in date.
Torch and alarm batteries should be tested and replaced.
Check all distress signalling equipment including expiry dates and service and replace as necessary.
Ensure that fire extinguishers and first aid supplies are also in date and replace if expired or running short.

Ready your boat for summer sail shape marine

Ready your boat: lights and electrics

If your boat has stood still this winter, ensure that your lights are in good clean working order and that all fuses and electronic equipment is functioning as it should.

Don’t forget to check:
Navigation lights
Navigation equipment
Fish finders
Electric bilge pump

Highfield boat sail shape marine

How to ready your deck

It’s likely that your boat will need a good clean after winter storage. Rinse off any dust before washing and waxing the hull. If you’re planning on keeping your boat on a mooring then you might want to look at antifouling the underside. 

Make sure the following is working and ready for use

Chain plates
Standing rigging
Cockpit drains
Fresh water system

If you’re not confident in doing any of this work yourself or are in any doubt about your vessels’ seaworthiness, then our experienced engineers can take the worry out of getting your boat ship shaped and ready to launch! Get in touch for a quote.

Stop press!

We are hugely excited to announce that our brand new Highfield and Bayliner showroom will be completed for the beginning of May, giving customers the chance to see these incredible boats up close.

We’ll also be exhibiting at the Royal Cornwall Show from 4th-6th June and Stithians Show on 15th June. Come along to our stand for a chat about all things nautical, we would love to meet you!

How to winterise your boat

Follow our top tips to successfully winterise your engine and your boat will thank you for it at the start of next season!

Winterise your engine with an inspection:

To winterise your engine effectively, begin with a thorough engine inspection. Use ample lighting, mirrors on sticks, or digital cameras to inspect all engine components, including the exhaust. After changing oil, filters and coolant, ensure that the bilges under the engine are completely dry to prevent corrosion. For vessels with inboards, consider painting them white to easily detect and future leaks 

Highfield Sport

Fuel Tank Maintenance:

If your boat is being stored for the winter, fill the fuel tank to the brim to prevent condensation increasing the water content of the fuel and the growth of ‘diesel bug’ on inboard diesel vessels which can be prevented by using a fuel treatment.

Oil Change:

Change the engine oil and replace the oil filter before winter. Leaving old, contaminated oil inside the engine can shorten its lifespan and cause expensive damage.

Gearbox Inspection:

Check the gearbox or outdrive oil before leaving the boat ashore for winter. Replace if it appears cloudy or milky.


Ensure you run the engine with fresh water and an antifreeze agent to protect from freezing over the winter. Water usually drains out from the self-draining water passages, but this is a full-proof plan.


Most diesel engines use a combination of raw water and freshwater cooling, both of which require attention during winterisation. Drain the cooling system before hauling out, then refill it with a strong antifreeze solution. Running the engine will help circulate the new solution and prevent damage from freezing water.

Honda outboard

Air Intake Protection:

Remove the air intake filter in the autumn and stuff the intake with an oily rag to prevent rusting. You can also add a bit of oil and turn over the engine (without starting) to distribute it over the cylinder walls.

Battery Care:

Keep batteries warm and dry over the winter, ensuring they are fully charged or topped up every four to six weeks. Disconnect batteries from the electrical system, clean and grease the terminals to prevent freezing in sub-zero temperatures.

Belt Maintenance:

On belt-driven diesel and petrol inboards, relax or remove all belts and protect the drive wheels to prevent rust, which can damage belts in the new season.

Highfield and a Honda Outboard

Proper Angle:

Ensure the boat is slightly angled bow upwards to facilitate immediate run-off of rainwater from covers, decks, and the cockpit. Use covers that keep water out while allowing air circulation to prevent condensation, dry rot, mould and corrosion.

Interior Care:

Store all linen, clothing, blankets, curtains, etc, ashore after washing and drying. Keep the fridge door open to prevent mould growth. Promote ventilation by leaving cupboards, drawers, and under-berth locker lids open.

Electronics Protection:

Use tight-fitting covers for deck-installed electronics and consider applying water-repellent silicone behind them. Inspect navigation lights for range, bearing, wiring and any damage to their covering. Please remember, Sail Shape Marine’s sister company Sail Shape Ltd manufactures bespoke covers on site.

If you are feeling confident and are mechanically minded, you can winterise an engine yourself. However, if you’re in any doubt, please contact the team at Sail Shape Marine to book in your winterisation.

Boat storage in Cornwall made easy

After making the most of the warmer months out on the water, the time is almost upon us to load our vessels on their trailers and store them safely for the winter. This can be easier said than done, especially if you’re planning to spend time out of the county, or if you don’t have the secure space at home to store your boat. This is exactly why we offer boat storage in Cornwall – to remove the stress and anxiety from clients who need to keep their vessel safe for the duration of the colder months.

Our boat storage in Cornwall

In fact, we offer two winter storage packages – inside and out. Inside storage is charged at £6 per metre, per week, with outside billed at £3 per metre, per week. Both options position your vessel in our boat storage unit and compound, which itself is located on a securely gated industrial estate. Locked from 6pm until 7am and with 15 CCTV cameras operating 24 hours a day, our storage facility is highly secure, leaving you free to relax knowing your vessel is in safe hands.

For those who need their boats collecting, we can help there, too. Even if your boat isn’t already on a trailer, that’s fine. We can hire a trailer and then place your vessel on chocks for the winter season. The only limitation here is that your boat must not weigh more than 3,500kg including your trailer, 2,750kg without. If you do have your own trailer then this is the easiest option, as it can be delivered to us and your boat can be kept on it, ready for an easy collection next summer.

Highfield Sport 700

Other services

As well as storage, we can also provide water and electric servicing if required. The winter months are a good time to ensure all of those key maintenance jobs are completed ahead of another busy boating season, but we understand that they can take up time, and that the weather isn’t always the best for working outside! Even if you do prefer to undertake these jobs yourself, you’ll be able to access your boat between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

We offer full engine servicing for all brands of engine, as well as glass fibre repairs, tube repairs, electronic updates and new equipment installations from Raymarine and Victron, and even trailer servicing. We can also provide engine upgrades, polishing, painting, and the all-important antifouling.

To ensure your boat is ready and in ship-shape for summer use, we always advise that engines are winterised and then fully serviced in the spring. A clean and a polish and maybe new antifoam is always preferable, too, to ensure your boat looks lovely for the summer season. Again, we can help with all of us – simply give us a call to discuss your needs!

Highfield Sport 700

New season, new boat

If, instead of storing your current boat until next season, you’re thinking of trading it in for something new, then we recommend you check out the Highfield Sport range. Available in a choice of sizes, from 3 metres up to 9, and combining Highfield’s renowned design expertise with only the finest interior touches, nothing has been sacrificed in the design of this range. Easy to tow, launch and recover due to their light weight, and promising not to delaminate or absorb water over time, a Highfield Sport will perform as well in ten years’ time as the day you collected it.

We have good stock levels and can source most of the Highfield Sport range quickly, however, if you’re interested in the larger Sport 900, or in anything custom, the lead time can be between two and three months.

To find out more about our winter boat storage, maintenance and servicing packages, or to enquire about purchasing a new vessel, be sure to fill out the contact form below or give us a call for expert advice.

Highfield Sport 700

Launch and recovery service by Sail Shape Marine

Cornwall is a coastal paradise on the southwestern tip of England renowned for its stunning landscapes and pristine waters. For both locals and tourists, boating is an integral part of the Cornish experience. However, the logistics of launching and recovering boats can be a challenging task, especially for those unfamiliar with the area or lacking the necessary equipment. Thankfully, Sail Shape Marine’s launch and recovery is a convenient solution for boat owners across the south west

Hassle-free launching and recovery

Handling the launch and recovery process on your own can be time-consuming and physically demanding. With our professional service at your disposal, we take care of all the details, ensuring a smooth launch and retrieval. With Sail Shape Marine’s launch and recovery service, all you need to do is choose your slip, arrive at the launch site and get straight out on the water.

Safety and expertise

Our experienced professionals are well-versed in the region’s unique maritime characteristics. Their in-depth understanding of the coastline ensures that your boat is launched and recovered with safety in mind, preventing any mishaps or accidents.

Protection of your investment

Boats represent a significant financial investment, and improper handling during launching or recovery can lead to damage or wear and tear. We use specialised equipment and follow proper procedures to safeguard your boat from potential harm. We can also conduct routine inspections to ensure your boat is in optimal condition, detecting and addressing any issues before they become major problems.

Falmouth Harbour

Time and cost efficiency

For boat owners who visit Cornwall occasionally or during peak vacation periods, transporting your boat from home to the region can be a logistical nightmare. Our storage, launch and recovery services eliminate the need for transporting your boat, saving you time, fuel costs, and wear on your vehicle. By opting for these services, you can maximise your time on the water and fully immerse yourself in Cornwall’s natural beauty and activities.

With its rugged coastline, serene estuaries, and charming harbours, Cornwall is a boating enthusiast’s dream destination. Boasting an array of scenic coastline and picturesque locations, this maritime gem offers countless opportunities for unforgettable voyages. Whether you’re an avid sailor or a casual boater, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite launch spots in Cornwall.

Falmouth Harbour

Nestled on Cornwall’s south coast, Falmouth Harbour is a bustling maritime hub and one of Cornwall’s most popular boat launching spots. The deep-water harbour offers easy access to the Carrick Roads, a stunning estuary dotted with charming villages and secluded coves. Sailors will be delighted by the breath-taking scenery and the chance to visit St Mawes, a quaint fishing village known for its historic castle and beautiful beaches. Stop off at the Idle Rocks for a glass of something cold or motor around to Pandora Inn for a seafood lunch. With excellent facilities and numerous marine services, Falmouth Harbour is a gateway to a remarkable boating adventure.

Highfield Ribs

Mylor Yacht Harbour

For those seeking a tranquil escape, Mylor Yacht Harbour offers a serene setting for boat launching. Nestled in a beautiful creek off the Fal Estuary, Mylor provides easy access to secluded sailing destinations like the Helford River and the picturesque village of St Mawes. The marina boasts excellent facilities, including the Castaway’s wine bar and Café Mylor. Mylor’s idyllic surroundings and laid-back ambiance make it a favourite among sailing enthusiasts and families alike.


The picturesque coastal town of Fowey lies on Cornwall’s south coast and offers a launch slip for access to the stunning and safe waters of the Fowey Estuary. For those wanting to venture further afield, explore the bay’s coves and beaches where you’re sure to find a quiet spot to moor up for a picnic. The town itself has plenty of pubs and restaurants for end of day drinks and dinner.


Nestled on the south-eastern coast of Cornwall, Looe is a charming fishing town characterised by its narrow streets and lively harbour. Launch your boat here and explore the scenic Looe River, flanked by lush woodlands and charming villages. The river eventually leads to Looe Island, a sanctuary for wildlife and a fantastic spot for birdwatching.

Cornwall’s diverse coastline offers an abundance of excellent boat launching spots, each providing unique opportunities to explore its maritime wonders. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or the chance to immerse yourself in the region’s rich maritime culture, Cornwall has it all. Each destination offers a gateway to an unforgettable experience and with your boat delivered to your launch spot, readied for the water, you’ll be out on the water in no time at all. 

Call us on 01726 833731 or email for more details

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