Boating is more popular today than it has been in a while. People are tired of being stuck inside and in cities all the time. That’s leading people to look for places outdoors to escape the noise and enjoy nature.
Although there is more hassle to get into boating, many people go through the motions to get their own boats and get on the water. Reports show that recreational marine activities reached a record $56.7 billion in 2021.
Do you want to make sure you have everything in working order when planning for your boat trip? Read the boating checklist below to learn what to check for on your boat.
Get a Weather Report
Before you think of going on the water, you need to make sure it will be safe to do so. Not every boat handles well in bad weather. If you have one of those boats, you’ll have trouble if it starts storming.
Check the water report before you go boating to see what the weather will be like. You should have guidance from your boat’s documentation telling you what kind of weather it can handle.
A little rain probably won’t be a big deal. But if you expect bad storms, it may be wise to postpone your boating adventure.
Check the Boat’s Exterior
The next thing to check before taking your boat out is to ensure it stays afloat in the water. Your boat’s exterior hull is what keeps it from sinking. If there are cracks and other issues, it can lead to problems and the possibility of a capsize.
Check your boat’s exterior for issues before you take it out. Examine the entire siding to see if there are cracks. If there are, you need to fix them before you go boating.
Check the Engine
The next thing to check before going on the water and taking advantage of the boating benefits is to check the engine. This isn’t necessary if you’re using a sailboat or something similar. But if you have a boat with an engine, you need to check it every time you take it out.
Here are some standard checks to make:
- Engine oil
- Engine leaks
- Engine ventilation
- Lighting systems
- Power for other systems
Depending on your boat model, there are a few other things to check, so make sure you know what they are all. If you ignore the problem, a bad engine can leave you stranded or cause other accidents.
Check the Safety Equipment
You’re in a lot of danger when your boat has problems on open water. You aren’t near emergency services, which means there may be nobody close to help. And even if you can call for help, it may take some time for someone to arrive to assist everyone.
This is why it’s critical to have safety tools on your boat. These items include emergency kits for injuries, lifejackets when you need to wait in the water, and radios to get help when something goes wrong.
On top of that, it’s required by law to have many of these things on your boat. Examine your local regulations to learn what’s required of you.
Measure Your Weight Load
It’s not surprising if you have a lot of people coming on your boat. You want to offer a great time to as many people as possible. However, you won’t be able to invite too many people.
Boats have weight limits. If you exceed them, you’re putting everyone in danger. Too much weight can cause strain on your boat that damages it.
When that happens, your boat will stop working — and, in the worst-case scenario, go under.
Keep in mind how much weight you have from people and other objects. Consult your boat’s manual to make sure you don’t go over the maximum weight limit.
Check Your Dock Lines
Whether you’re going for a boating day trip or on a late night yacht ride, being able to dock your boat is essential. You don’t want your boat drifting with the current and going off course. This is especially important when people are in the water.
Having the proper anchors will ensure this doesn’t happen. Look at your boat’s proper anchoring procedures and ensure you have everything you need to make them happen.
Depending on the size of your boat, you may need more than one anchor to make things safer. Don’t stop with only one anchor if you need more.
Educate the Passengers
The last thing to do once you finish the rest of your boating checklist is to inform your passengers of what they need to know. Ideally, they won’t need to do anything. But if something goes wrong, people may need to take action to keep everyone safe.
Walk everyone on your boat through the safety procedures. Let them know where to find the safety equipment, lifejackets, and everything else. You should also let them know what to do in case of emergencies.
Taking the right actions can be the difference between a successful outcome during an accident and a disaster, so take education seriously.
Make a Boating Checklist and Follow It
Spending time on a boat is a fantastic experience. You get the space to yourself, can spend time with people you enjoy being around, and can relax while enjoying rocking on the water. However, you’ll need to do some prep work if you want your boat to last on your trip.
You need to create a boating checklist of important tasks to make sure your boat is in great shape. Follow the boating tips above to create a checklist that will help you examine all your boat’s vital functions.
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