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Pre-launch Checklist


Pre-launch Checklist

 
Before launching a boat for the first time each season, do, please complete the following checklist to reduce your chances of an unpleasant boating experience.

Check the boat registration. Check that the boat registration numbers on your bow are in good condition and legible.
 
Check your safety equipment. Look at the required equipment chart to make sure you have all the equipment needed on your boat after it has been stored.
 
Inspect your life jackets. In addition to making sure you have a properly sized wearable life jacket for each passenger, check each life jacket for mildew, rot and tears in the material, seams and straps. Discard and replace any damaged life jackets.
 
Check fire extinguishers. Make sure the fire extinguishers are properly charged or buy new ones. Ensure that the fire extinguishers have not expired.
Check the first-aid kit. Replace any supplies that were used last season or have passed the expiration date.
 
Check fittings. Thru-hull fittings below the waterline should be tight; sea valves should operate freely. Make sure the boat plug is plugged in and in good condition before you launch.
 
Check for winter damage. Inspect non-metallic thru-hulls; they get brittle with age and winter ice can crack or loosen them. Look for hoses that have been forced off or split from freezing. Every spring, boats sink at the dock when these problems go undetected until the first heavy rain.
 
Check the fuel system. Inspect fuel fittings and hoses; replace if cracked or showing other signs of stress. Probably good to replace the fuel filters as well.
 
Check electronic gear. Get fresh batteries for portable electronic gear, radios, handheld GPS and flashlights. Inspect connections on lights and the horn and other equipment wired in to the boat.
 
Inspect dock and anchor lines for chafing. Replace lines if they show signs of wear.
 
Check the boat trailer. Inspect trailer tires for wear and inflate properly. Check the trailer frame for rust spots; inspect the wheel bearings and re-pack if necessary. Test the trailer's lights before towing.
 
Check the oil. Creamy brown or gray engine or drive oil has water in it and a mechanic should find the source of the leak before you start the engine.
 
Examine sailboat rigging. Check for signs of corrosion and wear and for leaks where chain plate mountings come through the deck.
 
Check charts: Do you have a current chart aboard? Channel markers and buoys may be out of position due to ice movements so take extra care.
 
Get a Courtesy Check from a CPS Boating Safety Specialist at your marina or launch ramp and verify that you have all the required safety equipment on board.
 
Intrested in learning more about boating? Register for a CPS Boating Course.