Checklists for Boaters


Oh man! The trailer has a flat tire. Wheres the jack? If youve ever experienced this or something similar, you know the frustration that can come from forgetting something vital when you go on a boating trip. You depend on your boat for much of your leisure- time fun and family entertainment, but when you stop to think about it, your boat and trailer are exposed to some pretty harsh surroundings. Its important that you take the time to inspect your watercraft and trailer at regular intervals to have a good chance of avoiding mechanical troubles, which will rob you of time that could be spent on the water. Assuming you gave your boat a complete going over before the first voyage of the season, it should not take much time at all to verify that things are still in good working order before you head to the lake. A boat inspection checklist will provide you with a quick yet thorough way to be sure you have not neglected some aspect of maintaining your craft.
Boat Inspection Checklist Before Each Outing

Engine hoses, belts and connectors free from cracks or fraying?

Fluid levels adequate in all areas including the battery?

Bilge pump, navigation lights and horn functioning?

Trailer brakes and tires ready to roll?

Spare tire, jack, and tools in place?

Lights and turn signals working?

Plenty of fuel and oil for watercraft?

Plenty of fuel for tow vehicle?

Emergency supplies including first aid kit, flares, flashlight, and fire extinguishers on board?

Paddle, bailing bucket, and throw-able life ring or cushion present for emergencies?

Weather forecast free from storm watches and warnings?

Docking and anchoring lines, fenders, and anchors on board?

Drain plug tightly in place?

Dad, did you forget my wakeboard? Boaters often complain that their day at the lake was not quite as perfect as it could have been because they forgot to bring one or more important items with them. Since many boating locations are remote (and isnt that partly why we like them?) you often cannot run out to find a replacement for missing supplies. This is another place where a checklist would come in handy and help you have the best experience possible.
Supply Checklist for a Trip to the Water

PFDs on board for everyone involved including children?

Fishing tackle and license for everyone who needs it?

Trolling motor on board?

Wetsuits or dry suits ready?

Camping spot or docking space reserved if necessary?

Does everyone in your group know how to get to the boating spot?

Does a friend or family member know your float plan?

Plenty of drinking water and other beverages?

Coolers and ice for food and for fish that are caught?

Food and snacks to last all day?

Garbage bags available?

All water toys packed including skis, wakeboards, and inflatables?

Firewood, kindling, and matches or other fire starter for campfire?

Grill, charcoal and lighter fluid for barbequing?

Marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate for smores?

Lawn chairs, blankets, small table and other comforts for those on shore?

Tent, air mattress and other supplies for staying overnight?

Plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent?

Hats and sunglasses for everyone including kids?

AM/FM radio to check weather reports?

Extra clothing for a change in the weather including rain gear?

Camera (still or video)?

Water shoes, sandals, and towels packed?

Pet, pet food and other supplies ready?

Reading material, playing cards or other game in case of bad weather?




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