Boat Pre-Cruise Preparation

Boat Pre-Cruise Preparation:

by Jim Healy


  1. Prepare a Float Plan; communicate plan to an independent, non-crew safety contact.
  2. Ensure that navigation charts are onboard and, optionally, cruising guides for entire range of the float plan.
  3. Prepare Chart Plotter waypoints and eRoutes, if desired.
  4. Assess, repair or replace as necessary:
    • Water tank status; top off if necessary.
    • Fuel stores; top off if necessary.
    • Propane stores; top off if necessary.
    • Holding tank status; pump out if necessary.
    • Dock lines and fenders.
    • Fire extinguishers.
    • Stores of non-rechargeable batteries for self-contained devices; i.e., smoke and CO detectors, PLB (SPOT), GPS, portable VHF, cameras, flashlights, etc.
  5. Secure for sea: personal belongings, vessel equipment and stores:
    • Galley.
    • Engine room (including tools and spare parts).
    • Forward and aft berths.
    • Lockers, lazarette.
    • Decks.
    • Flybridge.
    • Dinghy, dinghy motor, motor davit.
  6. Check systems for proper condition/operation:
    • Bilge status; inspect packing gland and rudder stock for visible leaks.
    • Bilge Pump: automatic and manual operation; “high bilge” alarm operation
    • Condition and charge status of ship’s batteries.
    • Charge status of rechargeable batteries; cell phones, computers, cameras, bluetooth GPS, etc.
    • Navigation and anchor lights operational.
    • Propulsion engine serpentine belt condition (NAPA 25-080530).
    • Propulsion engine air filter (Duralite ECB08-5001, Fleet AH1136, NAPA 6634).
    • Thruster system hydraulic pump drive belts (Gates #9530, NAPA #25-9530).
    • Windlass, chain snubber, primary and backup ground tackle.
    • Washdown system.
    • Steering system.
    • Generator operation.
    • Throttle and gear shift controls.
    • Magnetic Compass, fluxgate compass, radio(s) and instruments.
    • Charge status of fire extinguishers.
    • Serviceable PFDs available for all crew/personnel.
    • Thru-hulls in “sea” mode.
    • Hose connections, hose clamps; for leaks, tightness, corrosion.
    • Hoses, for cracks, kinks, damage.
  7. Check all fluid levels:
    • Check battery electrolyte, if appropriate.
    • Check Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) level of thruster hydraulic fluid reservoir; top off with Dexron III automotive ATF, if necessary.
    • Check ATF level of marine gear weekly; top off with Dexron III automotive ATF, if necessary.
    • Check oil level in propulsion engine.
    • Check oil level in generator engine.
    • Check coolant level and condition in propulsion and genset engines.
    • Check for and correct leaks of fuel, engine oil, marine gear fluid, thruster fluid and/or engine coolant.
    • Ensure that “Engine Room” light switch is “off” when engine room activity is completed.

By Jim Healy from his Blog Travels of the Monk 36 Trawler, Sanctuary

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