The boat is impatiently waiting in the harbour and you are searching your memory for what to check before setting off. Let’s explore the yacht equipment together! You can share our list with your less experienced crew members and we’ve prepared some tips just for them. It’ll save you time explaining things when embarking and it will help the crew will get into the yachting mood.
3 Reasons to Inspect the Boat Thoroughly
- Enjoy the voyage right from the word go. You’ll set sail reassured that everything works and is in its place. When taking over you will refresh your skills and knowledge.
- Avoid any unpleasant surprises when returning the boat or paying any unnecessary fines. All faults will be recorded and detected in advance.
- Sort out any crisis at sea quickly, efficiently and with a clear head. All your energy can be devoted to sorting out the problem and not searching for life jackets, harnesses, pumps or tools.
What gear to check on board?
Check everything thoroughly and always make sure that the piece of equipment is actually on board, in sufficient numbers and in good condition. Check the functionality of all the important equipment yourself. Find all defects or missing items and record them on the checklist. And now to the boat inspection itself!
Dive below Deck
- Switches and circuit breakers (on the main panel on the wall next to the navigation table).
- Battery and water status indicator (on the main panel).
- Anchor windlass, its controls and circuit breaker (usually hidden somewhere).
- Navigation lights, including replacement bulbs.
- Navigation devices and autopilot, echosounder.
What to focus on: View the main panel, which will show you how the switches and circuit breakers are functioning. Turn on the radio, the lights, check the battery recharging and GPS. Try pulling anchor to check the condition of the windlass.
The battery drains quickly, especially draining are the refrigerator and anchor windlass. If you are sailing without a motor, which recharges the battery, or intend on harbouring at places without a connection to the grid, it is best to warn the crew of the limited resources. Show the crew the beauty of wild matted hair! Hairdryers and straighteners should be left at home.
Navigation aids and documents (on the navigation table in the saloon)
- Paper maps, their condition and if they cover the entire route.
- Navigation aids (dividers, pencil, rulers, compass).
- Yachting documents (voyage permits - in Croatia the so-called Prijava, liability insurance, the concession permit required in Croatia, crew list).
Engine and fuel
- Engine and transmission oil.
- V-belt tension, fuel filter.
- Coolant level and check the coolant water inlet valve.
- Check the fuel level in the tank, the fuel tank is usually located under the double bed in the cabin.
What to focus on: Perform a visual inspection of the engine. Can you see anything leaking? You should ask to be shown access to the engine. Start the motor, shift into forward and reverse to determine the condition of the propeller.
- Life jackets.
- Life belts (harnesses).
- Fire extinguishers.
What to focus on: Inspect everything thoroughly and always make sure that each piece of equipment is actually on board, in sufficient numbers and in good condition.
Water, toilet and bathroom
- Water tanks (usually two and under the double bed in the cabin).
- WC (valves), holding tank switching and draining.
- Draining water properly from the shower.
- Shower at the stern.
What to focus on: Check the water status in the tanks (the status indicator is not reliable). Check where their switch is. Typically, only one tank is connected at a time and when the water runs out you need to switch over to the other full tank.
A blocked toilet has inconvenienced many a seasoned sailor and I’m sure you’ve heard a few funny stories. Don’t forget to explain the functioning of the toilet to the crew as soon as possible. A blocked holding tank is not usually covered by insurance. If you intend to avoid marinas, warn the crew about the limited capacity of the water tanks.
- Refrigerator (in summer the refrigerator is the second most important thing on the boat, after the engine).
- Stove (leans to keep pots as level as possible).
- 2 gas cylinders (check how full they are and the reserve).
- Gas tap.
- Bedding (included).
- Storage space.
And On Deck
Sails and controls
Try packing and rolling up the sails, rope tension
- Stoppers, winches, condition of the ropes.
- Rudder (test the play of the steering wheel to the left and right).
- Sails (condition, damage, controls).
- Boat’s deck and the space under the floors (scratches, presence of water, condition around the screws).
- Sides of the hull (can be damaged or scraped if fenders haven’t been used enough).
- Bow (damage might be primarily caused by the anchor).
- Stern (damage from the harbour mooring when manoeuvring).
- Below the waterline (check preferable outside the marina - scrapes, wrapped rope around prop).
What’s in the lockers (storage areas, especially under the benches on deck and in the saloon)?
- Emergency tiller (here it is a good idea to put it on and use it).
- Mooring ropes.
- Reserve anchor.
- Bucket and scrubbing brush.
- Lever for manual bilge pump.
- Paddles, pump for the dinghy (check to make sure it fits in) and paddle hooks for the dinghy.
- Power extension cable, etc.
- Cable cutter.
- Life buoy.
- Rescue buoy with light.
There is also plenty of space in the lockers – e.g., for storing bottles of water, beer, snorkelling equipment.
What is forgotten when checking the boat?
- Bosun’s chair for climbing the mast.
- Spare parts (spare belts for the main engine and rubber impeller for the salt water feed pump for engine cooling).
- Small dinghy and its condition .
- Download a sample inventory list in several languages.
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