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Maintaining Your Boat’s Windlass

Once you’ve determined the perfect spot to anchor your boat, you will need your windlass system to work quickly and efficiently. There’s nothing worse than your anchor not deploying properly when you’re in a lot of wind or current at a crowded anchorage. These regular and annual checks should have it ready to go, saving your back and hands from having to haul the anchor in with no power.


Regular Maintenance and Checks:
  • When you wash down the boat, be sure to wash down the windlass with fresh water.
  • As you wash down the windlass, make sure that the anchor locker is draining. This will prevent water damage to the motor/gearbox.
  • If your anchor locker fills with water, make sure the motor is dry and that there is no rust.
  • Check the electrical connections to be sure they are not corroded. Clean and lightly grease.
  • Be sure the anchor rode splice is not worn.
  • Check the gypsy (the notched ring that grasps the links of the chain). This part gets some of the most wear and should be inspected often. Be sure that the chain fits in the gypsy properly and is not slipping. If you are re-assembling, add a little grease to the contact area of the gypsy and chain.
  • The first two or three times you use the windlass, check the mounting studs to be sure they are holding properly. After that it can be added to your regular windlass checks.


Annual Checks:
  • Check electrical cables to be sure there is no damage. Repair or replace as necessary.
  • Remove the deck components, clean, and lightly grease them.
  • Check the motor/gearbox to be sure there is no corrosion. Clean and repaint if needed.
  • To remove dust on the motor, take off the electric motor cover and blow the dust away using a pump or an air compressor. (Be careful not to breath in any dust.)