Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Boaters Use a Checklist Before Getting Underway

By Diane Riggan
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs
Reviewing checklist

Aug. 14, 2012 -- Keeping track of appointments or events has become more complex in a very over scheduled world. A list of reminders added to the calendar on the refrigerator or in the smartphone can help make sure nothing is forgotten. When it comes to leisure time, a checklist is still valuable especially when heading out onto the water.

Create a pre-underway checklist like the Coast Guard Auxiliary has for their boat crews. Each time before an Auxiliary boat leaves the dock, the entire crew reviews a standardized checklist together. Once all the items on the list are checked off, it is time to get underway.

It does not have to be complicated; this is just an example of a pre-underway checklist you could use:
Crew members go over checklist
Crew members review checklist.
  • Driver's license
  • Current registration papers and boating safety course completion card
  • Check fuel supply and oil level
  • Working proper navigation lights for night operations
  • Enough lifejackets, the right size for all
  • Marine radio
  • GPS
  • Float plan left in your vehicle or with a friend
  • Other emergency equipment such as flares, first aid kit, signaling devices and tools

If something does not add up, it is OK not to get underway. It is always better to choose safety than take a risk with your life or the lives of your passengers.

PHOTO: David Elliot, USCG Auxiliary Assistant National Commodore for Response and Prevention, reviews pre-underway checklist with crew member Wayne Johnson before getting underway. Photo by Diane Riggan.