What to check before going boating

Author: Stuart Buckingham   Date Posted:5 July 2017 

Going boating should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience with family and friends, however, a lack of preparation can see a nice day planned turn into a shemozzle with your boat never leaving the launching ramp.

Here is my quick and easy checklist for your boat, trailer, motor to ensure your next planned outing on the water goes smoothly.

Boat

  1. 1.  Check your bungs. Do you have them and are they in? It's also a good idea to check the o ring or seal on the bung to make sure it is not torn or perished.
  2. 2.  Navigation lights. If you plan on going out when it's dark make sure your navigation lights are working and that your ‘all round’ anchor light is also functioning.
  3. 3.  Safety Gear. Make sure flares are in date and all safety gear is accounted for. Not only will you be thankful in the case of an emergency, but you'll also be thankful of the fines you'll avoid if checked by marine safety.

Trailer

  1. 1.  Walk around your trailer making sure that the tyres look inflated and that there are no rips or tears in the sidewall of the tyres.
  2. 2.  Plug the trailer into the vehicle and check all lights are working. It's amazing how a bad contact in the trailer plug can cause all sorts of mischief with your trailer lights. Often it will be something as simple as using a small screwdriver to spread the trailer plug pins so they each make better contact with the vehicles plug that does the trick.

Outboard

  1. 1.  Check around the propeller to ensure there is no fishing line wrapped around it and the prop nut is tight.
  2. 2.  At the boat helm, check the trim and tilt is working and also crank your outboard. You don't want to run your outboard but just check that the battery has plenty of life in it to crank over your outboard.
  3. 3.  While you're at the helm check the steering is free and not seized. The amount of boats with seized steering I've seen over the years is mind-boggling; it is something that easily gets overlooked.
  4. 4.  Check your fuel level. Always be sure you have more fuel than you think you need, plans change and the weather can come up in an instant so having a reserve of extra fuel is a safe position to be in.
  5. 5.  Visually check the water trap on filters with a glass bowl to ensure it is free of contaminants (if applicable).


They all seem like such obvious things to check but we can all get complacent and, at times, can have a little too much confidence in our boats. Happy boating!


 


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