A Pre-Departure Checklist For Boaters
ince we live on an island there will be a great number of people who have an interest in or own boats. For those who have them and use them, here is an important checklist to go through before every voyage. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) Have at least one Coast Guardapproved device per passenger and a minimum of two on board. An additional throwable device is required if the vessel is more than 16 feet long. Make sure to explain the location and use of all PFDs to passengers and crew that may be new to the vessel. Lights and Shapes Have all navigation lights as required for your boat. Do regular checkups to ensure all instrument lights are working. If you intend to engage in a recreational boating activity that requires a day-shape, have the required shapes. Never go out on the water without a flashlight and spare batteries. 28
Weather Forecast Always check the weather forecast before boating. Have a radio on board to receive weather updates. The sea is way more unforgiving than the nationâ€™s roads. Rules & Documentation Have the ship's papers, radio license, fishing permit, etc. on board. Plus, have the chart or charts for the area you intend to cruise in, regardless of your level of local knowledge. It is wise to alert someone else of your plans once you hit the watercourse. Tools and Spares Carry a basic toolbox with tools appropriate for your boat. Carry a box of spares including fuel filter, light bulbs, head parts, through-hull plugs, etc. You wouldnâ€™t leave in your car without a spare and tools so why go on the water without the right equipment? Fire Extinguishers Carry at least one fire extinguisher and make sure it is accessible. Check to be sure mounts
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are secure and functional before departure. Before embarking, take the time to point out locations to any additional passengers and crew. Fuel and Oil Top off your fuel tanks. This will keep you from being stranded and increase the longevity of your boat. If you can't, have enough fuel to provide a reasonable margin of safety for your return. Also check the engine oil and coolant levels.
Sound Producing Devices Have a horn capable of producing a four-second blast audible for at least 1/2 mile on board. If you use portable air horns, have a spare can of air or an alternate device. Whistles are also effective. Distress Signals Make flares, day signals, etc., accessible and ensure they are stored in a dry location and carry signals at all times even if not required by the Coast Guard.