Pre-Launch Checklist for New and Old Boaters

Boating adventures—fishing, cruising, watersports—allow you to explore the world from a different point of view. It exposes you to new ecosystems, wildlife, and scenery. Before heading out onto the water, no matter your escapade, prep your boat for smooth sailing with this pre-launch checklist designed for new and old boaters.


Inspect Operational Systems

A boat that doesn’t run won’t go very far. Instead of finding out whether your boat functions while stuck in the middle of the ocean, inspect your operational systems before launching. Check the engine, lights, navigation technology, and propulsion systems. When your outboard motor stops working, it’s easier to tend to any problems on land or at the home base with your tools on hand and access to maintenance aid.

Stock Emergency Supplies

Like tending to maintenance issues, handling emergencies offshore vs. on land also significantly differ. When docked, you can access a wider selection of resources, from medical professionals to emergency equipment. Out on the water, you’re limited to the supplies you packed.

Before launching into the water, (re)stock up on emergency supplies to stay prepared for anything. Make sure to pack:

  • Basic first aid kit
  • Water bottles
  • Non-perishable food
  • Flotation devices
  • Flares
  • Torchlights
  • Whistles
  • Glowsticks
  • VHF radio
  • Portable fuel tanks
  • Batteries
  • Portable tool kit
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Sharp survival knife
  • Rope

The more you prepare, the better equipped you’ll be in emergency scenarios.

Double-Check Paperwork

Paper and water don’t always get along well. However, in most places, charting the waters require certain paperwork, from boat registrations to licenses and proof of insurance. Double-checking your required documentation and local rules ensures you don’t get in the harbor patrols’ bad books or end up with hefty fines.

On top of making sure you have the appropriate documentation on hand, look over all paperwork for expirations and outdated terms. Like the tides, many regulations change frequently and out of nowhere.

Stay Up to Date on Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can affect any type of travel plan, whether you are heading out on a car, bike, walk, or flight. Despite today’s modern technology and weather radars, nature still finds a way to catch people off guard.

Checking weather and water conditions a week ahead and then on the day of your outing sometimes leaves you with two very differing reports. Staying up-to-date on boating conditions up to launch ensures you stay properly informed and avoid a choppy sail. Weather reports are one of the crucial essentials for a perfect fishing trip—the more recent the updates, the better.

Investigate Launching Components

Launching a boat is no easy task for beginners or veterans. It requires coordination, car backing skills, and lots of different mechanics. Before getting your hands dirty with the challenges of launching, investigate the various launching components you’ll use.

Make sure the dock is sturdy. Double-check the state of your trailer. Inspect the launch pad for any sharp edges, cracks, or barriers. Making sure your launching conditions are up to adequate standards ensures you lift off successfully. A smooth launch starts your boating adventure on the right foot.

Whether you are a first-time boat owner or an old-timer, a little added preparation makes a massive difference to your boating experience. Enjoy smooth sailing with this pre-launch checklist for new and old boaters.

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