Boating is a wonderful pastime for everyone from fishing enthusiasts to families that are simply tired of doing the same old thing on the weekends. Making sure each and every outing is as fun and as safe as possible, however, is an important undertaking when considering this hobby.
The fact is it’s just not smart to buy a boat and expect to be able to turn the key and have a good time. Boating equipment is necessary and making sure it’s in good working order is vital before taking off from the dock.
It doesn’t matter whether the boat purchased is a sleeper that can accommodate a family of four or a simple bass boat, the boating equipment that is used to keep the vessel safe and buoyant must undergo some simple checks each and every time a trip is planned. Just pulling out and not checking the equipment in advance can be a recipe for disaster. There’s nothing fun about getting stranded in the middle of a lake with an engine that won’t run.
Before pulling away from the dock, it’s a good idea to inspect the following pieces of boating equipment for any problems and also to make sure certain items are onboard:
- Engine. Do an engine check before leaving the dock each and every time. Make sure there’s enough gas onboard to handle the planned trip and maybe even a little more just in case. An extra gas can sometimes will be necessary. Having one available is better than not.
- Lights. Even if the planned outing is for the day time only, it’s hard to tell when an emergency will arise. With this in mind, it’s smart to do a quick check of all lights on the boat before pulling out. Make sure they are in good working order, and also check the spotlight just to be safe.
- Safety equipment. A quick run down to make sure life vests are ample for everyone onboard doesn’t hurt. While it’s not likely these will be removed from trip to trip, damage can happen to them, so a cursory once over is a smart thing to do before each outing.
- Food and water. Even a brief trip out into a bay can turn into a longer venture than expected. Making sure there’s enough food and water available to get through a short emergency is never a bad idea.
- Communication equipment check. It’s not a good idea to pull out without making sure this vital class of boat equipment is in good working order.
- Navigation equipment. This equipment, too, should be checked for proper function before leaving the dock. If it’s not working right and the lake is bigger than a pond, fixing it is the smart thing to do.
- Small tools. Always keep the necessary tools to fix boat equipment onboard. It’s amazing how many people have sat in a lake overnight for want of a wrench to fix an engine.
Boating is a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors. The hobby is ideal for almost everyone. There are some things boat owners should do before each and every trip, however, to ensure the fun and safety of all onboard. A quick boating equipment check before pulling away from the docks can save a lot of trouble down the road.