Ready, Set, Go Boating

You’ve got your boat ready for the season and you’re itching to get out on the water. Before you go make sure you are ready for the unexpected.

This pre-departure check list can help.

Weather - Check the weather forecast for the area and time-frame during which you will be boating. At this time of year, you never know when the weather might turn on you.

Avoid surprises by checking Is your the condition of your boat.

● Check the hull for cracks or other damage.

● Make sure the steering and throttle controls are operating properly.

● Check the electrical system and that all lights are working properly.

● Check for any fuel leaks from the tank, fuel lines, and carburetor.

● Check the propulsion and cooling systems.

● Check the oil level and inspect the engine compartment for oil leaks.

● Do the oil filter, water filter, and spark plugs need replacing?

● Check hose connections for leaks or cracks, and make sure hose clamps are tight.

● Drain all water from the engine compartment and be sure the drainage plug is replaced and secure.

● Make sure you have enough fuel or know where you can refuel.

Remember that you want ⅓ to go out, ⅓ to return, and ⅓ in reserve.

● Check to be sure you have a fully charged engine battery and fire extinguishers.

What is the state of you onboard equipment?

● Do you have the required number of life-jackets or PFDs and are they in good condition and the proper sizes for the persons on board? Encourage everyone to wear a life-jacket or PFD.

● Check that all required safety equipment is on board, in good working order, and is easy to reach.

● Make sure you have a first-aid kit, basic tools, and spare parts, including plugs for all through-hull fittings.

● If so equipped, make sure the engine shut-offline is in good order.

● Boater checking boat before launching

All aboard - final checks

● Make sure the weight of persons and gear is evenly distributed and balanced, keeping most of the weight low.

● Make sure the boat operators have their Pleasure Craft Operator Card or other proof of competency on board.

● Be sure you know the locations of local hazards and the expected water levels.

● Make sure that you have told someone where you are going and when you plan to return.

● Run the blowers for at least four minutes before starting the engine. Check for airflow.