Boating Pre-Departure Checklist
While it may sound fun to have a spontaneous adventure on the water, it is essential to have a boating checklist that you tick off every time for the safety of yourself and everyone on board.
It all begins with getting a recreational skipper’s ticket to ensure you are competent on the water. A recreational skippers ticket proves that you have undertaken the right boat training courses including navigation and safety.
Once you have your recreational skippers ticket, there are many other safety considerations that should be on your boating checklist as well. This guide will help you put together the ultimate boating checklist for your safety on the water.
What to Prepare Before Going Boating
The first step is to check the weather conditions. You don’t want to be caught in a severe storm, so always check with the weather bureau before raising the anchor. Then you will need a list of all the equipment you will need. This equipment should be regularly checked to ensure they work and are not damaged. Your list should include:
- Lifejackets for everyone on board, including a spare
- All safety equipment including fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, pumping or bailing equipment, any life rafts, oars and paddles, flares, compasses and handheld navigation devices
- First aid kit
- Tool kit
- Nautical charts and related publications
The boat itself needs to be seaworthy as well, so you will need a checklist of things to inspect on your vessel before hitting the water including:
- Inspecting the hull for cracks, barnacles and other damage
- The steering and throttle controls
- The electrical system
- Fuel leaks
- The propulsion and cooling systems
- The oil level and any oil leaks
- All filters and spark plugs
- Hoses, fittings and connections
- Drain all water from the engine compartment and that the plug is secure
- That you have enough fuel to safely get to your destination and back
- The battery
Finally, there are some last considerations that need to be ticked off including:
- Checking the weight of all equipment and passengers, ensuring it is correctly balanced and that your vessel is rated to carry that load
- That anyone who will be operating the vessel has a recreational skippers ticket
- That you have checked for any potential hazards on maps, along with tide times
- Leaving a plan with friends or family along with your expected return time
- Let the blowers run for five minutes before leaving and checking that the airflow is good
Haven’t got your recreational skippers ticket? Need a refresher course? Sea Safe Boat School has the best instructors and on-site facilities on the Swan River that will cover everything including safety and your VHF radio licence. You will always feel confident when you complete your training with Sea Safe Boat School.