Boat Check List

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WorldSafety and SurvivalBoat Check List

Boat Check Lists - In the interest of safety for vessel and crew it is vitally important to thoroughly check that the vessel is in a seaworthy condition and ready to sail. It is handy to have a printed list on board to check each and every item thoroughly.

Well In Advance Of Casting Off

  • Organise crew, make sure that they have read the Yacht Crewing Information page.
  • Ensure that there are sufficient PFDs (at least one per crewmember plus spares), and have any inflatable lifejackets and liferaft serviced.
  • Check rigging
  • Check all turnbuckles
  • Check all lifelines
  • Check jacklines
  • Check emergency steering system & special tool

Boat Checklist (before casting off)


  • Check water tank levels - note in logbook
  • Breakfast foods -- high carb, low GI. Muesli or oat/wheat based cereals, milk, fruit juice.
  • Lunch -- make this the main meal on passage -- protein (approx 50g equivalent per person per day), vegetables, starch/complex carbs (bread, potatoes, pasta, biscuits, etc).
  • Dinner -- high protein, low carb, low sugar. Tinned fish, sprouts, crispbreads, 2 minute noodles (for cold evenings), eggs, cheese.
  • Beverages -- tea/coffee/sugar.
  • Snacks -- chocolate & sweet snacks for night watches, dried fruit, nuts, crackers/biscuits, etc.

Engine Checklist

  • Check Engine oil level (Main & Genset)
  • Check Gearbox oil level
  • Check belts (Main & Genset)
  • Check Fuel tank level - note in ship's log
  • Check ALL battery levels
  • Open engine raw-water seacock
  • Start Engine & check cooling water flow
    • Check hoses for leaks
    • Check heat exchangers
    • Check extractor fans

Hull/Boat Checklist

  • Check all other seacocks are closed and each has a wood plug nearby (& location of hammer).
  • Check for manual bilge pump handles
  • Check that the propeller(s) is free to turn. i.e. no lines in the water in the area of the prop and that the same applies internally in the vicinity of the prop shaft(s)
  • Check halyards are secure
  • Check steering/helm/rudder movement
  • Check anchor is secure and ready for deployment
  • Check propane tank and all fittings (close tank valve)
  • Check ALL navigation lights
  • Check compass light
  • Check all potential rust / weak points on deck, especially around the base of samson posts, gunwales, bases of stanchions and loops holding guardrails, etc.
  • Check other possible corrosion points -- climb the mast and check fittings at the masthead as well (possibly take a can of lanolin, inox, and/or plasticote up there to spray any potential points of issue).

On Board Equipment Checklist

  • Check torches & spare batteries
  • Check radios

Safety Checklist

  • Test all EPIRBs and PLBs (briefly use the test mode to ensure the lights come on).
  • Check that "grab-bag" is easily accessible
  • Check that freshwater pump is working.
  • Tie on jacklines. If the webbing looks frayed then replace it -- these are potentially life-saving safety devices so don't try half-cocked repairs.
  • Have a safety briefing with the crew.

Spares Locker

  • Check spare fuel filters
  • Check spare waterpump impellers (Main & Genset)
  • Check spare S/Steel clamps
  • Check spare navigation light globes (and spare compass globe)
  • Check spare cabin light globes
  • Check spare hoses (various sizes)
  • Check spare belts (for all)
  • Spare fuses

Final Last Minute Check

  • Everyone on board? (Yes I left a crewmember shouting and waving at the dock once).
  • All entries to Logbook
  • Check battery voltages, always best to leave home with full batteries.


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