How We Get the Boat Ready to Sail


One of the more important things to do when planning a trip is to get the boat ready. There are certain things that need to be done before departure, and we inevitably forget something. We have a checklist that we go through both the day before and the morning of departure. It’s just a reminder of those things that have to be done and things you do not want to forget. Here’s a copy of what we run through:

  • Engine checks
    • Oil
    • Coolant
    • Belt tension
    • Transmission fluid
    • Electrical in engine room
    • Start and run the day before
  • Electrical checks
    • Battery fluid
    • Running lights
    • Clean solar panels
    • Check radios and electronics
    • Charge iPad, phones, and handheld VHF
  • Stow
    • Everything on counters
    • Breakables on shelves and behind settee
    • Radios
  • Prepare cockpit and deck
    • Clear all unneeded items
    • VHF to helm
    • Check and center steering
    • Run sheets back
    • Ensure winch handles are handy
    • Check that skiff is tightly cleated
    • Check and secure items at stern area
    • Remove cover from mainsail
  • Check anchors
    • Check windlass operation
    • Check snubber line
    • Secure rear anchor
  • Draft Float Plan and email it out

Your checklist may be more detailed or a bit different, and if you don’t have one we would recommend it. You’d be surprised at how many times we’ve neglected to stow something away only to find it on the floor after pounding over a few swells!


About Captain

Over 10 years sailing and over 3500 miles under our keel. Was an engineer (EE) for over 30 years, then after moving into management, decided that the corporate world was no longer for me. Ran my wife's law office for 15 years and recently retired. Now we live aboard and sail the California coast, soon to leave for the Sea of Cortez.