Do it now: off-season lay-up
Here’s a basic “don’t wait until spring” jobs list. Top off the fuel tank(s) to prevent condensation. Change engine oil and filter (even if they don’t have many hours on them), change the transmission fluid, maintain the cooling system as per the engine manual, lubricate anything that needs it above and below decks, wipe down all surfaces below decks with a fresh water and mild bleach solution to get rid of salt atmosphere deposits and prevent mildew. Maintain the outboard engine. That’s the bare minimum; then tackle the rest of your much longer lay-up list
Brief and debrief.
Before beginning a maneuver that requires the crew to participate (such as docking, anchoring, reefing or changing a sail, tacking or jibing, coming alongside another boat, etc.), brief everyone who will be involved about what you plan to do and what each person is expected to do. Explain things well in advance of the maneuver so people don’t have to rush around at the last minute to get ready. After completing the maneuver, review what each of you did well and what might have been done better. It’s good for learning and for crew cohesiveness. It’s even good to brief and debrief yourself if you’re single-handing.
Priscilla Travis spends more than 110 days each year on the water, takes photos, and writes about nautical topics.