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Home / Resources / Safe Boater's Checklist
Home / Resources / Safe Boater's Checklist

Safe Boater's Checklist




  • Boater Education Card
  • Boat registration (certificate of number) or documentation certificate
  • Life jacket suitable for each person on board, readily accessible, in good condition
  • Throwable floatation aid immediately available
  • Fire extinguishers conveniently placed, fully charged, in good condition
  • Visual distress signals (with current expiration dates for flares)
  • Working horn or whistle
  • Anchor and anchor line appropriate to area, depth, conditions
  • Compass properly adjusted
  • Charts for the area, up to date
  • Boat hook
  • Mooring lines and fenders in good condition
  • Paddles or oars
  • Tool kit and spare parts (including light bulbs, fuses)
  • Flashlight
  • Bucket or bailing device
  • VHF radio (cell phone as backup)
  • First aid kit
  • Weather or AM radio
  • Personal items (drinking water, sunscreen, prescription drugs, etc.)


VESSEL SYSTEMS CHECKLIST                                                                     

  • Bilge free of fuel vapors and excess water
  • Fuel supply full
  • Fuel system free of leaks
  • Engine oil and transmission fluid levels correct
  • Battery fully charged, fluid level full
  • Electronic gear in good condition
  • Engine drive belts tight, in good condition
  • All navigation lights working
  • Steering and shift mechanisms in good condition
  • Outboard motor mountings tight (if appropriate)
  • Grab Rails, life-lines in good condition


DEPARTURE CHECKLIST                                                                               

  • Make sure each person has a properly fitted personal floatation device (PFD) and urge him or her to wear it. Youth 12 and under are required to wear a PFD
  • Show passengers:
    • Location of PFDs, fire extinguishers, visual distress signals, first aid kit, and how to use them
    • Safety procedures for rough weather, man overboard, fire, using VHF radio to signal for help
  • Take in all dock lines and fenders
  • Instruct passengers to stay seated and keep hands, arms, etc. inside the boat
  • Sound proper whistle (horn) signals
  • As you leave the dock area, take in all lines and fenders and keep them clear of the propeller
  • Keep a lookout at all times for other boats, persons, and objects in the water
  • Proceed slowly whenever leaving or returning to a dock
  • Use just enough power to maintain control



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