Completing a Pre-Departure Checklist before getting underway is an excellent way to avoid unsuitable operating conditions and reduce the risk of a breakdown. You should always use a Pre-Departure Checklist to ensure that your boat has the right safety equipment onboard. It only takes a few minutes to fill out your checklist and it is time well spent!
To prevent being in an emergency situation, operators are responsible for ensuring they have the boating experience and skill level for the planned trip BEFORE leaving the dock.
Instructing your Passengers
As the boat operator, it is important to talk to your passengers before leaving the dock. Use your pre-departure checklist as a discussion prompt to familiarize passengers with the following procedures:
- How to operate the craft in case of emergency
- The location of the craft’s emergency kit
- How to rescue a person overboard
- How to properly use an approved life jacket or PFD
As the operator, you are responsible for instructing your passengers to:
- Always wear an approved life jacket or PFD
- Be aware that the effects of sunlight, motion, waves, wind and sound can impair their judgment
- Keep close to the centerline of the boat and as low as possible when moving around the boat
- Keep hands and feet inside the craft when departing or returning to the dock
- Refrain from consuming alcohol while onboard
Several boating safety organizations, including the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, offer free courtesy checks for pleasure craft to help operators ensure they have the proper safety equipment onboard. These knowledgeable boating experts can help to identify any potential problems.