August 05, 2022 by Layne Wray

Putting Your Boat to Bed - 7 Tips

Putting your boat to bed at the end of a day of sailing can help keep things tidy and ensure you're ready for another epic day on the water the next morning. In our 35th YouTube episode, Tony covers the seven key steps.


The seven steps are as follows: 

  1. Turn off your instruments
  2. Take out the trash
  3. Change lines from slips to singles 
  4. Change fender knots 
  5. Pack up the sail bag 
  6. Connect to shore power 
  7. Fill up the water tanks

Download Checklist

1. Turn Off Your Instruments 

Images of Tony turning off yacht instruments

Turn off the instruments once you have parked up for the night so you don't drain unnecessary power. If you are at anchor or on a mooring ball don't forget to turn your anchor light on. 

Top tip 💡: If you are going ashore for a few sundowners remember to turn on your anchor light before you leave, even if it is still light.

2. Take Out the Trash 

Image of We Recycle bins in the BVIs

Clear trash off the boat regularly and try to recycle where you can. If you are sailing in the BVIs check out the ‘We Recycle’ initiative to see what and where you can recycle on the islands. 

3.Change Lines From Slips to Singles

Image showing single lines

Now you have finished parking the boat change your lines from slips to singles. This is not only more secure but also prevents the rope from chafing overnight. Slips (also called "doubles") are lines that pass through a dockside cleat and go back to the boat. Singles are just one line from the dockside cleat to the boat.

4. Change Fender Knots 

Gif showing round turn two half hitches knot

Whilst parking, you'll want to use a quick-release knot for your fenders so you can move them quickly. Our preference is the slipped clove hitch. Once parked up, change to a more secure knot such as a round turn & two half hitches.

Struggling to remember all your knots? Check out our blog post on great sailing knots for a refresher. 

5. Pack Up the Sail Bag

Image of Tony with the yachts power cable

At the end of a day of sailing, we recommend packing the sail back into the sail bag. This prevents UV and other damage, prolonging the life of your sail.

6. Connect to Shore Power

Images for Boat to Bed Blog 7

If you are parked up at a dock take the opportunity to juice up your batteries. Remember to always plug into your boat first before plugging into the power. If you plug into the box first the cable is live, accidentally drop this in the water and it is bye-bye fishies (actually a live line in freshwater is far more dangerous than in saltwater, not that you want to be testing this anytime soon).

Gif of Homer and Bart fishing Bye Bye Fishies

7. Fill Up the Water Tanks

Images for Boat to Bed Blog 5-1

If there is an option to fill up on water, take it. Water tanks on most charter boats are small and water makers are often slow and unreliable. Remember to take not just your hose back off the dock but also the little male connector that screws into the faucet on the dock. 

Download Checklist


This blog post and video takes you through 7 steps for putting your boat to bed. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments.

Sailing Virgins is an adventure sailing academy with the belief that the younger crowd want a sailing experience that is more athletic, more exhilarating and more social than your typical sailing course. We run beginner to advanced courses throughout the year in the world's most picturesque destinations. Whatever your level we have something for you. Check out our courses below or Email us to find out more. 

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