The Safety Checklist For Boats and Trailers


It is a 'switched on' captain that double checks they have everything in place to ensure their boating experience is pleasant and safe. Unfortunately, even the most experienced captains/boaters will sometimes forget, renew or review something. That’s why, having a boating checklist will help to ensure you remember everything prior to heading out on the waters.
It is good to have a checklist for boat and trailer specifics as well as a checklist for fishing related items. This article will provide you with a checklist that can be used for boating and trailer necessities.  

Ensure Safety On The Boat

> At least one type IV  throwable device, this is required for boats 16ft+. 
> Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s) should be available for every member on board. PFDs must be in good condition and the appropriate size for the person wearing it. 
> Visual Distress Signals. These are typically flares and must not have exceeded the expiry date. 
> Marine Specific Fire Extinguisher. This is mandatory for almost all boats. Check guidelines to see if your boat requires it.  
> Sounds Devices. Virtually all boats are required to carry a horn or whistle.
> Navigational Lights. All boats require navigation lights as the weather may change (get darker) at any stage or the boat will use these when being used at night. 

Safety Requirements For Trailers That Are Used To Assist Your Boat In To The Water

> Ensure the trailer lights are connected to the tow vehicle and are 100% in working order. 
> Ensure the safety chains are completely fixed to the tow vehicle. 
> The trailer's service/swivel jack is completely extended and fixed. 
> The spare tire is fixed and secure.
> Tire chocks (if used) are removed from the trailers wheels. 

Boats On Trailers Before Leaving and Returning To Your House 

> Ensure the motor is tilted upwards to help avoid any low collisions.
> Secure the tiedown straps.
> If using a motor support bar, ensure it is fastened and secure.
> Any battery chargers or electric wires/cords are removed and turned off. 
> Any loose items inside the boat are removed or stored away. 

Safety Precautions To Take Before Your Boat Goes Into The Water

> If possible, remove the trailer lights.
> Loosen and remove the tiedown straps.
> Put the transom plug in.
> Make sure the motor is tilted up and the safety bar is removed. 
> When close to the water, remove the safety chain. 
> When close to the water, remove the bow winch strap or cable.
> If the launch ramp is steep, place wheel chocks on the tow vehicle to stop it moving. 

It is a good idea to print the checklist off and laminate it. Everytime you are taking your boat out, tick off each section. Also, if you’re taking your boat out for the first time this year, ensure the boat's registration is valid. If you’re fishing, make sure you have a fishing license before casting those rods. 

Happy Boating & Fishing!

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