Home » Tips » Pre Departure Checklist for Boating


Hired or bought a new boat? Can’t wait to sail away from the marina? Well sure, boating is one of the most exciting getaways for families and friends. But it’s certainly not one where you can venture in unplanned or unprepared. One of the foremost things you’ll learn while sailing is the discipline and attention to detail that it requires.

Preparing your boat

While boating is fun, it cannot be taken lightly. Having a checklist in place can help you plan boating trips on short notice as well. So here’s what you need to ensure about your boat before you take it out on the waters:

  • Check the fuel and oil levels
  • Fenders and dock lines have to be ready
  • Disconnect all external power and water lines
  • Ensure that the drain plug is in its place while launching from a trailer
  • Inspect the entire boat for fumes or bad wiring
  • Open seacocks
  • Check the bilges for any leaks or fluids
  • Check the engine gauges
  • Check the engine cooling water out-flow

Preparing yourself

It pays if you are well prepared before you head out the door. Here are a few things you can ensure before leaving home on a boating holiday:

  • Watch the weather keeping tabs on wind and wave conditions
  • Always be prepared onboard for cold rains and wind, and carry sufficient warm clothing
  • Carry the necessary documents and paperwork for your boat
  • Keep someone informed about your plans and locations
  • Chart out your course and have a back up map as well
  • Be aware of local boating laws and regulations

Preparing your guests

If you have companions onboard – friends, family or crew members – you have to brief them on all matters. It’s good to have someone else who can take over from you from time to time. A checklist for them includes:

  • Discussing the responsibilities allocated to each member of the crew
  • Preparing for seasickness
  • Discussing plan of action in case of emergencies
  • Stowing luggage and sporting gear out of the way
  • Making sure everyone knows how to use a radio and safety gear for emergencies

Ensuring safety gear

Preparing for the worst can help overcome difficult situations and sustain till help reaches you should the situation arise. Your safety gear should include:

  • PFDs (Personal Floating Devices) and life jackets for each member onboard
  • Medical kits and blankets
  • Survival kits with plenty of bottled water and energy bars or canned food
  • Tools and spares kit
  • Flares and torches
  • Fire extinguishers


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