Boating Pre-Departure Checklist

277 Dorado

Getting ready to head out on the water? Before you leave the dock, make sure you have everything you need for a safe, fun, and enjoyable ride. This convenient boating pre-departure checklist will help ensure you’re prepared!

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Check the Weather

You don’t want to get stuck in unpleasant weather on the water. Before doing anything else, check a local news outlet to make sure there are no expected storms, rain, or high winds. Do this first so you know whether it’s a good day for boating or if you should stay on land. You can always go another day!

Registration and Legal Documents

Having all the proper documents on your boat is critical. It will be especially important if you are checked by the Coast Guard or a state department. Make sure you have everything you need to prove your boat is registered and legal for operation.

Life Jackets

Safety is crucial on a boat. Before leaving, check to make sure you have the proper number of life jackets. There should be at least one for every passenger on board. There should also be at least one throwable floatation device on every boat. Of all the pre-departure items, this may be the most important.

Emergency Horn

To help signal others in case of trouble, you should have an emergency horn or another sound device. If anything happens and you need to use the device, remember that three is the universal signal for help (e.g. three blasts from an air horn, three light flashes, etc.)

Working Lights

Even if you are not going out at night and you expect to be back well before sundown, you should have working lights. You should also have a bright flashlight or lantern that can be used to signal for help.


A small toolbox with screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, and other basic tools is essential. Keep these tools in your boat so you can make quick repairs if needed.

Plenty of Fuel and Oil

It seems like a no-brainer, but every year people leave the dock without enough gas and become stranded on the water. In most cases, it’s simply embarrassing. But it can also lead to an emergency if you are left adrift for hours on end.

Fire Extinguisher

A working fire extinguisher is an important part of your boat’s safety. Make sure there is a fire extinguisher onboard that is usable and up-to-date.

Ropes, Bumpers, and Anchor

You need ropes and bumpers to tie to docks and other boats. An anchor is also necessary for securing your boat safely and securely to the ocean floor.

Communicate the Boating Plan

Someone on shore should know where you are going and when you plan to return. In case of an emergency, this person can guide rescuers to your likely location. Communicate the plan to another person and stick to this general route.

Purchase a Luxury Craft from Scout Boats

We hope this boating pre-departure checklist assists you. If you want to have an outstanding boating experience, a craft from Scout Boats can thoroughly enhance your time on the water. With refined features and advanced technology that are customizable using our Build Your Scout tool, you can create a craft that suits your exact needs!

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