Who Is Responsible For Performing The Pre-Departure Check Of A Recreational Boat?

Before taking your boat out on the water, you need to make sure that it is in excellent condition. Otherwise, it might have a problem and you may not figure it out until it is too late. With that being said, it is wise to perform a comprehensive pre-departure check of the recreational boat before heading out onto the water. Doing so will put your mind at ease so you can enjoy your trip. So, who is responsible for performing the pre-departure check of a recreational boat? In most cases, it will be the operator or the skipper.

Who Is Responsible For Performing The Pre-Departure Check Of A Recreational Boat?

Who Is Responsible For Performing The Pre-Departure Check Of A Recreational Boat?

Below, you’ll learn more about the pre-departure check and the one responsible for performing it.

What Is Included On A Pre-Departure Check?

Before taking your boat out on the water, you need to make sure it has everything you need. Plus, you’ll want to make sure that the boat is in excellent condition. If something is missing or something is wrong, you’ll want to find out as soon as possible.

Wait too long and you won’t discover the problem until you’re on the water and it’ll be too late. Below, you’ll discover things you should check.

Check Your Life Jackets

First and foremost, you’ll need to check your life jackets. Ultimately, this is one of the most important things of all. It is pertinent to make sure that everyone on the boat has access to a life jacket. You never know when something is going to go bad, so be prepared.

You’ll need a life jacket for each passenger. Furthermore, you’ll want to make sure that your life jackets are approved by the United States Coast Guard.

Each recreational vessel should have at least two jackets. You’ll also want to consider bringing a personal flotation device.

It is a good idea for boats that are longer than 16 feet. Before departing, make sure everyone knows where the life jackets can be found.

Read Also: How Does Having A Pre-Departure Checklist Help You?

Whistles And Horns

Once you’ve finalized the life jackets, you’ll need to focus on other safety gear. In particular, you need to make sure that you have enough whistles and air horns. If you get stranded on the water, you’ll want to make sure that you can communicate with other boats.

An air horn can help since it’ll produce a loud sound that can be heard from half a mile away from your boat. If you’re using a portable air horn, be sure to bring a replacement air can. As for whistles, it is wise to ensure that every life jacket has one.

Read Also: Who Is Responsible For Reviewing A Pre-Departure Checklist Before A Boat Outing?

Flares And Signals

Next, you need to make sure that everyone can access distress signals and flares. Problems could occur in the blink of an eye, so you need to be ready for everything. Make sure that you bring flares and distress signals. Once you’ve brought them on board, they should be stored in a dry location that everyone can easily access.

Be sure to tell everyone where they can find these items because you never know who will need them. It is also a good idea to give your guests a demonstration so they’ll know how to use them.

Fire Extinguisher

A fire on your boat could be devastating. If you don’t put it out immediately, the risks will be massive. To prepare for such issues, bring a fire extinguisher. Each boat should have at least one. However, a bigger boat can have multiple fire extinguishers to make everyone feel safe.

Again, passengers should know where it is stored and how to use it. If you have a larger vessel, you should check the Coast Guard rules so you’ll know how many fire extinguishers are needed.

Also, make sure that the fire extinguisher is properly mounted.


Boats are similar to other automobiles. Their components are going to wear down when used for a long period. With that being said, you need to be ready to change components whenever possible. If you’re going to be boating during the day, you need to bring a toolbox and spare tools.

Make sure that your toolbox has enough tools to make emergency repairs. In addition to that, you’ll need basic necessities such as fuses and bulbs. Don’t forget the fuel filter. Another item you’ll want to bring is a flashlight.

If you don’t leave the toolbox on your boat, make sure you take it with you every time you decide to go boating.

First Aid Kit

Unfortunately, an accident can happen in the blink of an eye. If you haven’t properly prepared for one, a minor accident could quickly spiral out of control. Addressing the problem quickly can help minimize the risks involved. As a result, you cannot ignore the importance of bringing a first aid kit.

Before departing, it is pertinent to make sure that your boat has a full first aid kit. Make sure that the kit is accessible to everyone.

In addition to this, it should contain bandages, antiseptics, antibiotics, painkillers, and more. Bring everything you could need and you’ll be ready for all potential issues.

Inspect The Battery

Can you imagine what is going to happen if your battery dies while you’re out on the water? It would be crippling and you likely wouldn’t be able to return to shore. You can’t let this happen. Before leaving, you need to check the batteries on your boat to make sure that they’re all working correctly.

It is also a good idea to bring one or two replacement batteries. Also, don’t forget to check the batteries for all of your accessories, including your radios and GPS systems.

Are you going to be using rechargeable batteries? If so, make sure that they’re properly charged before departing. Be cautious and prepare for everything. Charge your batteries to avoid being stranded.

Oil And Fuel

You wouldn’t drive an automobile that didn’t have gasoline. Well, you have to remember that your boat uses fuel and oil as well. You have to check the fuel and oil levels before leaving. Make sure that you have plenty of gas.

In addition to this, you need to check the coolants and engine oils. It is a good idea to bring a few bottles of oil and coolant with you. Then, you can always add more when needed.


There is a chance that you’re going to be boating after dark. If so, be sure that others can see your boat. To be safe, check your lights before leaving. The skipper or operator should also check the instruments on the console.

They should be in excellent condition and working properly. If they’re not, you’ll want to get them fixed before moving away from shore.

Dock Lines

Remember to bring everything you need to properly dock your boat. Check all of the boat’s dock lines to ensure they’re in excellent shape. Bring a few along and spare fenders just in case.


Your boat may have an LPG stove or oven. If this is the case, you’ll need to make sure that it is properly ventilated. Don’t forget to check the carbon monoxide detector too. If you don’t check these things, you might expose yourself to high levels of carbon monoxide without realizing it.


Finally, keep an eye on the weather. Getting stuck on the water during a storm is never a good idea.

Read Also: Where Would A Boat Produce The Highest Concentration Of Carbon Monoxide?

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