Cruising on your boat is a lot of fun, but it also requires a good amount of planning. You don’t want to realize your forgot something important once you’re underway. Make sure you have what you need by going over this pre-cruise checklist.
The most important equipment you bring onboard are lifejackets. Make sure you have enough for all onboard. Also, throwable devices are required on any vessel over 16 feet.
Check that your boat’s navigational and instrument lights are working properly.
You should have flashlights and/or headlamps along with spare batteries onboard.
You need a sound-producing device onboard. You should have a horn that can produce a four-second blast that can be heard a half-mile away.
Make sure you have distress signals such as flares and day signals onboard and that they are easily accessible.
Have basic tools onboard, plus equipment spares such as light bulbs, a fuel filter and more.
Have a well-stocked first-aid kit.
You should have at least one fire extinguisher and make sure it is easily accessible.
Weather conditions can change rapidly, so even if you’ve been checking the weather forecast, make sure to check again before departing.
Always leave a float plan with someone onshore in case you run into problems.