Boating can be a remarkably fun activity, whether you own a wake boat and are relaxing with your friends to have some adrenaline-fueled fun on a nearby lake, or whether you own a fishing boat and are intent on catching a big haul on the open seas. Nothing feels better than the fresh air breezing past you as your friends, family or coworker’s laugh and enjoy themselves. As the skipper, you are having the time of your life, however, you remember that you ought to have done a quick parts check before setting off, and as the engine sputters, you feel a sense of dread in your heart. The boat motor is now dead, and you slowly come to a halt in the water. Upon inspection it seems that your single engine boat has a completely broken prop. Your friends are looking at you with anticipation. The question is, do you have a spare?
It can be tempting for any boat owner (new and old) to give in to a moment’s impulse and head out for the open water as soon as Poseidon calls, but turning that key comes with a lot of responsibility. Whether out alone or with others in the water, it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that everyone gets home safe to experience the joys of boating another day. Which is why you need to conduct a safety check on the vessel before setting off. This one check can be the difference between a great day with your friends and a bad night trying to fall asleep on the open seas. When conducting a check, you’ll often find that you need to procure spare parts, luckily boat parts has all the information and spare parts you could want for your boating adventures.
Inspect these vital components before setting off.
Engines – Ensure that the motor is operating as it should. Check the props if you can or at least carry some spares with you. Clogged fuel filters is also a common issue. Simply replacing them with a spare would be ideal as fuel filters tend to be cheap, or simply removing them and clearing gunk and detritus should work as well. Switch on the engine and listen for any discrepant noises. Most boat owners know exactly how their engine should sound, so actively listening before setting off can mean the difference between a great day and a day spent fixing a flooded engine.
Navigational Equipment – Doing a simple check of the navigational equipment is important for essentially two reasons. It helps get you where you’re going and helps you get back home. If either one of these reasons isn’t fulfilled, it can mean some rocky seas for you (both literally and figuratively). Regardless of whether you’re using advanced GPS navigations with a cockpit chockful of touch pads and sensors or going old school with a compass. Do a check on them and whether you have them before setting off! Most recreational boaters don’t really know how to navigate manually, which is a problem that can be rectified by learning to do so before heading out next time. If electronics fail (as they tend to do), a sailor trained in the art of plotting a course manually is at a great advantage.
Communication Devices – This goes without saying but having a way to communicate with other vessels or with dry land can be crucial depending on the type of adventure you’re heading out on. So check the system onboard before you leave the harbor or marina.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything a boater needs to check, but it’s the bare minimum to get you home in one piece. Boating can be loads of fun, but it does come with some responsibility. And ensuring that you have spare parts and have done a safety check before setting off can help you ensure that each trip is fun and memorable.