Basic Boating Checklist | Boat Safety Euipment List | OCM Boats
Law Enforcement RHIB Boats

Ready, Get Set, Sail – The Boating Checklist

August 20, 2019

Heading out on a rescue mission? Off on a top-secret special ops mission? Transporting personnel and equipment offshore? Or taking guests on a scenic tour of a remote island? Before you do, there are a few things that you should check, a few things that you should pack, and a few precautions that you should take before you set out. Doing so ensures that you are geared for anything that the sea throws at you. We’ve divided them into pre and post underway lists. Here there are!

Boat Steering Console


Play inspector – always give your boat a once over to check for any damage or malfunctions before you leave on your mission.

  • Perform a full inspection of the boat and engine
  • De-energize, unplug and stow the shore power cord
  • Turn the battery switches and circuit breakers to the ON position
  • Inflate the tube set as required
  • Manually engage the bilge pump and check for any discharge
  • Check all the electrical components onboard – including
    • Navigation, search, side ‘take down, ’rear scene’ and deck lights
    • VHF Radio and Tactical Radio
    • Chart Plotter, FLIR Camera , Radar and Depth Sounder
    • Horn & Siren and Loud Hailer
Police Patrol Rigid Inflatable Boats

Power up – ensure that your engines are in shape-shape before you get out on the water.

  • Lower the engine(s) fully, turn on the ignition and listen to the fuel pumps
  • Check your oil and fuel levels and add oil as needed
  • Place the engine(s) in neutral and start it / them to check for
    • Cooling water overboard discharge
    • Oil pressure
    • Voltage output
    • Any active engine alarms
  • Allow the engine(s) to warm up
  • Test the KILL SWITCH and restart the engine(s)
  • Check the steering to make sure that it operates freely
Inboard Outboard Boat Motor

Life Safety first – always have this boat safety equipment stowed on your boat in case of an emergency

  • A fire extinguisher (that you know how to use) onboard
  • Atleast one life Coast Guard-approved life jacket per passenger (and a minimum of two) onboard
  • A throwable ring buoy and distress signal kit, stowed safely in a dry location
  • A standard First Aid kit, with all its contents within the expiration date
  • A basic tool kit and spares appropriate for your boat
  • A pair of binoculars
  • All the necessary PFDs and EPIRBs for your boat

Weather the elements – don’t let the weather ruin your ride

  • Make sure to check the weather forecast before taking to the water
  • If bad weather is predicted, ensure that you’re geared for it
  • Have a radio on board to get updates
  • Dress appropriately for the season


Anchors aweigh – Once you’ve made sure everything is working as it should be, you’re ready for the water. Here are a few things that you should do as you set out

  • Secure all dock lines and equipment brought onboard
  • Remove the engines from neutral
  • Attach the Kill Switch lanyard to the operator’s PF
  • Secure the boat fully in the slip
  • Secure the engines and flush them with fresh water at 50% pressure
  • Remove all the thrash onboard and clean it with fresh water if necessary
  • Secure the circuit breakers and battery switches
  • Reconnect and energize the shore power
  • Visually confirm that the Battery charger is in working order
  • Set the Bilge Pump to AUTO

So there you have it – a few Dos to remember before you head out, so you have the best experience on the water.