Pre-sail checklist before going sailing

Before you go on a sailing day either in a rented or your own boat, we must consider and verify certain details.

We have to pay special attention when going on a rented boat. The idea is to develop our own checklist, our review protocol to ensure a good navigation without incidents. When we go to get the boat, at the check in, we can ask the owner of the company to teach us how it works and how all the elements are programmed.

Related to safety at sea
Weather forecast (wind and tides)
Navigation and government (compass, log, rudder and radar)
The autopilot (operation)
Check rigging and halyards
Communication equipment (VHF-DSC). Do a communication test.
Nautical charts of the area, course and GPS
Sealing and drainage systems (bottom valves, bilges, toilets, sinks, portholes, hatches) Check operation and sea cocks.
Checks for water in the bilge and see if it is salty or sweet. At the end of the navigation check the bilge again and see if anything has changed.
Battery status (level, load, corrosion, charger, connections)
Outlet electricity state (sealing terminals)
Navigation lights (tightness, bulbs, sockets) and spares.
Flashlights and extra batteries
Two plastic sheets (green and red) to build emergency navigation lights with lanterns
Lifejacket for each crew member (where appropriate, wear also size for children) (check: whistle, strips, reflective tape, boat name)
Safety harness and installation of the life line
State of the safety equipment (rafts, flares, smoke signals, signal mirror, hoops)
Fire fighting system
Radar reflector, EPIRB (406 MHz)
Drinking water. Approximately 0.4 galons person/day minimum.
Navigation Plan (deliver/communicate it to the Yacht Club)
Ship’s papers
Anchors and ropes (stevedoring, corrosion, brake windlass) and anchor mechanism.
And the measure of the anchor chain and how far marks are set.
Emergency helm
Confirm the real draft or draught of the boat and from where is measuring the depth instrument.
Emergency propulsion system
Warm suit / waterproof
Medical kit and pills against seasickness
Jackknife, fishing tackle …
User’s manual  of the boat’s electronics
If it is a sailboat, check the correct installation and functioning of the reefs.

Related to marine engine
Fuel for the trip and an extra container loaded on a regular gas station. This will be of help if the engine stops due polluted fuel or failure of the sound emergency system.
Check around the engine for leaks, if there are, confirm what is it and if it is still liking.
Check the oil level, engine and sail drive.
If necessary, check the fresh water level.
Cooling, stuffing box, filters, glow plugs…
And check were the emergency kits are. Belt, oil filter, oil bottle, coolant… And specially the impeller, since it breaks easily
Engine manual and instructions

About to depart
– Inform the harbor or the yatch club of the area you will be sailing and estimated time of arrival.
– Unplug the hose and the electricity.
– Set the battery on the correct position
– Check for any lines in the water
– Open the sea cock of the marine engine and turn it on
– Check the noise it makes and the smoke
– Listen for any sound alarm
– Close the battery which provides the engine
– Check the battery level
– Close the hatches
– Check the direction of the wind to calculate which moor to loose first
– Check the traffic
And enjoy!


This post is also available in: Spanish

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