Pre-launch safety basics
Despite the many things that can go wrong on the water, many boaters cast off without attending to some pre-launch safety basics.
Although it takes little time, a verbal safety briefing is especially important when you have guests aboard. During a safety briefing, the skipper provides vessel safety information to everyone before departure.
Even if you don’t have guests aboard, it’s a good idea to give your vessel’s safety checklist a quick mental review.
Each vessel is unique, so you’ll need to customize a safety checklist for the needs of your vessel. If you don’t already have a safety checklist, now is a great time to develop one.
Basic safety checklist
When I have guests aboard, I use the following basic safety checklist to review safety plans and procedures and show the location and use of safety equipment:
- Ensure everyone is wearing a life jacket.
- Review basic sailing plan (destination, time estimate, etc.).
- Review weather forecast.
- Review man-overboard procedure and duties.
- Review use of throw rope and life jackets.
- Review use of VHF radio, including emergency protocol.
- Show location and review use of fire extinguishers.
- Review use of engine compartment emergency fire control port.
- Show location and proper use of handle for manual bilge pump.
- Show location and demonstrate use of emergency tiller.
- Verify that someone aboard can start the engine and maneuver the vessel if the skipper is incapacitated.
- Show location of flares and signaling devices.
- Show location of sound-warning devices.
- Show location of first-aid kits.
— Greg Allen
Prepare for any crisis
Learn how to handle any emergency while underway by taking our Emergencies Onboard seminar.