Checklist for Safe Summer Boating

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Memorial Day weekend marks the official beginning of summer and the much-awaited start of boating season. Before heading out with the family to enjoy time on the water, make sure you’re ready for anything with this pre-departure checklist from The National Marine Manufacturers Association and Boatsafe.com.

PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES (PFDS)

  • Have onboard one PFD per passenger, minimum of two
  • Have onboard a throwable device (for vessels larger than 16 ft.)
  • Discuss proper use/location of PFDs

SOUND PRODUCING DEVICES

  • Have onboard a horn that can emit a four-second blast audible for 1/2 mile
  • Bring a spare can of air or an alternate device
  • Attach a whistle to each PFD

LIGHTS & SHAPES

  • Test navigation lights
  • Check instrument lights
  • Be sure to use day-shapes (mast-head signals) if your boating activities require day-shapes
  • Bring a flashlight and spare batteries

DISTRESS SIGNALS

  • Ensure that flares, day signals, etc., are accessible and stored in a dry location
  • Discuss location, proper use and safety rules

TOOLS & SPARES

  • Be sure to have a basic toolbox with boat-appropriate tools
  • Be sure to bring a spare fuel filter, light bulbs, head parts, through-hull plugs, etc.

FUEL & OIL

  • Check fuel levels
  • Check the engine oil and coolant levels

FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

  1. Make sure you have a fully charged, accessible fire extinguisher(s) as specified in Coast Guard rules
  2. Ensure mounts are secure and functional
  3. Discuss location with passengers and crew

VENTILATION

  • On any powered vessel or vessels using LPG, check that interior spaces are well ventilated
  • If you smell fuel before ventilating, run blowers for several minutes and re-check before starting
  • If odors persist, shut down the engine and look for the source of the leak

BILGES

  • Ensure bilges are reasonably dry and pumps are not running excessively
  • Clean any spilled oil or waste in bilges to prevent overboard discharge

WEATHER FORECAST

  • Check the weather forecast before departure
  • Have portable radio onboard for weather updates

BATTERY CARE

  • For dual charging systems, check that the selector switch is in the proper position
  • Ensure power is on to the entire vessel
  • Bring spare batteries for handheld radio, flashlight, portable navigational aid, etc.
  • Ensure rechargeable batteries are charged

DOCKING & ANCHORING TIPS

  • Be sure to have one anchor set up and bent-on the anchor line
  • Bring two or three extra dock lines
  • Visually inspect lines for chafe or wear
  • Bring fenders (minimum 2) for docking or towing

RULES & DOCUMENTATION

  • Bring ship’s papers, radio license, fishing permit, etc.
  • Bring chart(s) for the area you intend to cruise

Content provided by BoatSafe.com

Copyright 2011 - Cobb's Marina Inc. All rights reserved
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