It’s December and if you haven’t already taken your boat out, you’re most likely planning to. Whatever your chosen activities – fishing, scuba diving, water skiing or just cruising the shoreline – you can enjoy the good times more if you know that you, your family and friends are safe. Here’s a short checklist you should run through before setting out.
Before the Holiday
- Service the engine
An annual service should be part of your routine. This should include cleaning out any old fuel from the previous season.
- Check the battery
Always get the boat’s battery professionally checked after a seasonal break. It needs to both start the engine and operate a range of equipment. Remember that although it may start the engine once or twice, a low battery may still fail after doing so.
- Do a visual check
Check absolutely everything and make sure it’s in working order. Did you notice last season that something was a bit worn or tired? If so, replace it or repair it. Aim for A1 standards if you don’t want mechanics or equipment to let you down when you need them.
- Check the emergency gear
How many lifejackets do you have, and are they the right type for what you’re planning to do? If your passengers include children, make sure you have the right sizes. If you have an inflatable life raft, check that it’s still in good working order and ideally have it serviced. How are the flares and extinguishers? Check their use-by dates and replace them if necessary. Finally, make sure your distress beacon’s registration is up to date.
- Do you have an emergency plan? If not, get one.
The worst time to start thinking about it is when you need it. Check where everything is so that it’s fresh in your mind. Prepare an emergency bag to grab if the worst comes to worst, and make sure it floats. Boats do capsize! Even better, run through a couple of scenarios, so you’re mentally prepared.
- Check communication devices
Check your communications are working, especially a handheld, waterproof marine VHF radio for emergencies. Don’t rely on your mobile phones, as you may find yourself out of range. Always have a means of communication close to hand, with lifejackets where they can be reached – by everyone. Keep mobile phones inside sealed plastic bags.
- Fill the fuel tank
The rule of thumb is 1/3 for the way out, 1/3 to get back, and 1/3 in reserve, for dealing with the unexpected.
On the Day
- What is the outlook?
Check the maritime forecast before leaving and keep checking it throughout the day if you’re heading away from the shoreline.
- Plan the route
Plan your trip and let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
- Drink responsibly!
Finally, although it’s the holiday and time to kick back, don’t go over the top with alcohol while you’re on the water! It affects your reactions as well as your judgement. If something does happen, you should always be clear-headed enough to deal with it. Remember, nobody ever planned to have an accident, so save most of the beers for when you’re back onshore, barbecuing the catch.
Does your boat need replacing or upgrading? Boat finance from 1800Approved can help you to find the best purchase rates and options in the region. We can help you with a list of first rate dealers, too.
Finance from 1800Approved can enable you to visit a reputable dealer, helping you to find the best purchase rates and options in the region. We can help you with a list of first rate dealers, too.
1800Approved works with over 30 independent lenders – a major advantage in finding the best deals, lowest interest rates and a greater chance of being approved for a loan than with most banks or direct financial institutions.
Call us today on 1800 277 768