How to Leave a Boat For Six Months - Decommissioning Agape in Chiapas

In case you didn't know already, boats take a lot of work and require not only blood, sweat and tears but also a huge amount of time. After our first season cruising in Mexico, Agape was ready for some love! Decommissioning a boat is doing a lot of little things, hoping to prevent a lot of "what if's" from happening. Everything from bugs and leaks, to theft and hurricanes, there is a lot to prepare for and preventive maintenance to do.

We started off with a long list, beginning with systems that wouldn't be used until next season.

Mr. Perkins got a whole day of love, where I changed the oil and oil and fuel filters, flushed and refilled the coolant, fresh water flushed the cooling system, flushed and refilled the automatic transmission fluid, and treated and polished the fuel. Then I finished up his spa day with a good wipe down with a degreaser and a light spray of WD-40 making sure that he was nice and clean and ready to fire up when we got back. Also, if there are any leaks we will be able to find them when we get back since the engine was clean when we left it. Ok, who am I kidding? It's a Perkins it will always leak oil haha.

We also changed the oil/filters and cleaned/WD-40'd the Honda generator and our outboard.

Outside there was lots of work to do. The sails needed to come down and were inspected, cleaned, dried and folded to be stored down below. All the lines were washed, dried and stored below as well. The halyards we pulled up to the top of the mast and wrapped and stored in the shade and protection of the sail cover. I also sewed shade covers to shade our decks to help keep the boat cool, since the teak could get over 150 degrees!

  • We removed all the blocks that we could to clean and oil them.

  • Cleaned the dingy and BBQ to store below.

  • Washed and waxed the boat.

  • Cleaned the anchor chain and locker.

  • Went over the teak deck and replaced missing plugs.

  • And Rachel's favorite.... polished all the stainless!!!!!

Inside it was all about smell, mold and bug prevention!!! We started by flushing our holding tank, then washing the bilge and setting out roach traps (purely preventative).

  • We pickled the water maker.

  • Turned off and cleaned the refrigerator and freezer.

  • Closed sea cocks.

  • Sorted all the food, made a list of the provisions we had on board for next season and gave away open items.

  • We sorted, vacuumed and cleaned out almost every locker.

  • Oiled all the interior wood and floors.

  • Cleaned all the fans, the stove, microwave, countertops and headliner.

  • Closed the fuel lines.

  • Emptied and cleaned the water tanks.

  • Turned off the propane tanks.

  • Made sure the bilge pump was working.

  • Disconnected from shore power, since we’d leave nothing running and we had enough solar to keep the batteries topped up.

  • Arranged bottom cleaning, marina payments and a caretaker for while we were gone.

  • And finally we left a note with our contact info and a few little requests for our friends that would be checking on Agape over the next few months for us.


It's ended up being a lot of little jobs crammed into a few days of hard work, but when we left Agape was looking better than 99% of the time we were cruising her. Everything had been wiped down, accounted for, cleaned and organized. We looked at it like our spring cleaning, it helped us to identify anything we needed to get or replace while we were back in the states and it also gave us peace of mind as we said goodbye to her for the next few months. When we come back we hope that she will be just as clean and beautiful as when we left her!