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Boat Safety Checklist



  • Check the weather report and local wind and wave conditions.
  • Create and file a float plan with a family member or friend, which includes where you are headed and when you intend to return.
  • If you will be sailing in cold weather or cold water, dress warmly in layers.



  • Check fuel and oil levels.
  • Check navigation lights.
  • Identify the location of Coast Guard required safety items such as:
    • Life jackets
    • Lifesling
    • Fire extinguishers
    • Visual distress signals
  • Be sure all safety equipment in good working order.
  • Turn on and test all appropriate electronics.
  • Determine what each crew member is in charge of what and brief crew on the launch procedure.
  • Disconnect and stow away shore power cable and water lines.

On the Water


  • Stay updated on current weather conditions.
  • Be conscious of tides and currents.
  • Stay within marked channels.
  • Monitor fuel levels.
  • Remain tuned in to VHF radio Channel 16.
  • Wear your life jacket and be sure each passenger is wearing one as well (especially if traveling in rough waters).

Returning to the Dock

Returning To Dock

  • Moor vessel correctly with bow, stern, spring lines, and fenders.
  • Pump out the holding tank.
  • Reconnect shore power cable.
  • Contact the person you filed your float plan with so they know that you have returned safely.

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Source: West Marine, Safe Boating Checklist

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