What is a boat checklist?
Before heading out of port, it’s important to check that your boat is prepared. A boat checklist helps skippers ensure that all Coast Guard requirements are met and that the proper emergency safety equipment is on board. This way, you can ensure that your boat, crew, and passengers leave and return to port safely.
The following article addresses the following points:
The importance of a boat checklist
Every skipper knows the situation. You’ve had a nice spin on the water, and halfway home, you wonder if you remembered to do all the necessary tasks. Either you turn back to recheck everything, or you stay restless for the next few days until you get back to the boat. Yet, there is a simple way to avoid such a situation: a boat checklist.
When you need to get something is done that involves multiple steps, it’s easy to forget one or two of them. This overlooking of essential items can have big consequences. Good reasons to have a boot checklist:
- A boot checklist verifies that you’ve done what needs to be done
- You save time when tasks are repetitive.
- A boot checklist provides concrete proof that you haven’t forgotten anything.
- It frees up your mental memory for other things.
Many professionals use checklists to play it safe. In aviation, it’s perfectly common to use multiple checklists just to get the plane from the gate to the runway. Even surgeons use checklists to make sure they don’t forget anything and make mistakes in the operating room. Some checklists were developed specifically after a disaster, accident, or serious oversight to prevent them from happening again.
Checklists for skippers can include everyday pre-departure routines as well as those that help in an emergency, such as what to do if the boat sinks or a guide for winterizing a boat.
The most important aspects of a boat checklist
A boat checklist should be more than just a few things written down on a piece of paper. First, focus on the essential items that are often overlooked and skipped and that could potentially sink your boat or endanger your crew and passengers. Then you should address the engine and electrical equipment, as well as safety equipment. Finally, you can pick up little things that are often forgotten.
Your boat checklist should contain no more than 10 to 15 items and should be completed in a few minutes. Otherwise, the list is often perceived as a distraction, causing people to try to take “shortcuts.” This reduces their effectiveness. If you need more items in your boat checklist, make multiple checklists for different tasks, for example, “Leave port”, “Check safety equipment on the boat”, and “Close the boat”.
You should use each boat checklist a few times, testing it and refining it as needed. If something changes on the boat, change it in your checklist as well. It’s best to follow our four-point guide to check that your boating checklists cover all the critical factors:
1. The physical boot state
For crew and passenger safety, physical condition is the most important thing. Before leaving the port, examine the engine, exterior, and interior parts. If you find any defects, document them and pass them on to a ship’s mechanic so they can respond immediately.
2. Having the right documents on board
Whoever runs a boat needs to carry several documents. Before you go, make sure you have all the necessary documents, certificates, and licenses and that they are up to date. If you want to add more security, you can leave a route plan and give it to a reliable person to alert in case of route changes or emergencies.
3. The safety equipment on board
Law requires several types of equipment to be on a boat. Often, a Coast Guard employee may come aboard to inspect these. A boating safety equipment checklist lists critical items that can be a big help in an emergency.
4. Inform the crew and passengers
When you’re not sailing alone, you need to pay attention to others as well. If you have crew and passengers with you, communicate important safety information to them, explain boat rules, and show them the location of important items on board. This also includes informing them of changing weather conditions during the trip.
The benefits of digital checklists for a boat check
A paper boat checklist can be challenging for skippers. Illegible handwriting, piles of paper documents, and damaged lists due to bad weather make the job more difficult. Relying only on memory then can lead to negligent decisions with significant consequences.
Digital checklists for a boat are the right solution in this case. Lumiform, the innovative and mobile app for checks and audits, gives you the peace of mind you need on the water. The mobile app is easy to use from your smartphone or tablet – you don’t even need to be online. Lumiform gives you the freedom to make boat exams more efficient and offers you the following other benefits:
- Use the boat checklist templates from our template library to get started digitally right away
- Customize your boot checklist with our flexible form builder to meet your needs and the specific security requirements of your state or country.
- Capture photo evidence of physical defects on the boat and immediately alert the marine mechanic via the App.
- Automatically generate reports on your boat inspections and immediately send them to the Coast Guard upon request.
- Analyze your exams on the dashboard and identify recurring boat problems and deficiencies.
- Access a database of all records and avoid stacks of paper.
Try Lumiform for free