Taking the time to prepare before you leave the docks will make certain you have a fun and safe time on the seas. This checklist from our friends over at boatmo.com will cover the basics, but miss a few of these and you may find you are helpless on the water where every second can mean the difference between getting back to shore safely or serious troubles.
1. Safety First – Above all other things, safety must be priority one. Many a boat for sale by owner does not have all the safety equipment you might need. Make certain the boat is equipped with enough life jackets for every passenger out on the boat that day. Even experienced swimmers could be in trouble miles from shore in 20 foot wave surges.
2. Working Radio Equipment – Never assume your radio is in working condition, because the one time you really need to call for help it might be dead. Check the radio from shore, and bring a back up just in case you find yourself stranded mile away from the nearest dock.
3. Communicate with Others – Before you leave the safety of the shore, make sure at least one person not on the boat is aware where you are going and for how long. In event of an emergency they could play a vital role in getting help to your location in a timely manner.
4. Fuel Up Now – Don’t assume where you are traveling will have fuel, get gas now before the trip so you are traveling with a full tank. The last thing you need is to be riding on fumes when the gas station you assumed was open is not in service when you arrive.
5. Check the Weather – Just because the skies are clear when you are getting in the boat does not mean a storm could be a few miles offshore and heading your way fast. Take the time to listen to the weather and have a weather radio on board to warn you if trouble is fast approaching.
6. Know the Rules – Just like the highways have speed limits, the water you are traveling on will have certain rules in place. Know the rules of those areas and abide by any signs that are for boaters. Running aground will not only ruin your day, it will be a very costly mistake.
Having a checklist and taking the time to carefully follow each step will ensure your trip on the water in enjoyable. Plan ahead while on shore where it is easier rather than out on the water where your options are limited.