Boat Plug- Safety Checks – Boater Safety
The first thing I recommend to check when I get to the boat ramp is the plug. Make sure it’s good and tight. Don’t be that guy that sinks his boat at the ramp on a busy Saturday morning.
Bilge Area- Safety Checks – Boater Safety
If you’re not trailering it’s the bilge area. Always climb in and listen quietly. I once had a pin hole leak coming through the transom on a 65 Hatteras enclosed bridge. It was caused by someone screwing a bilge pump hose on a clamp to the transom. The screw was too long and when it rusted out and broke the boat was taking on water through a pin hole. (Boat was half under water when I arrived that morning) Thankfully I had my crash pumps handy on my SeaTow vessel and we were able to stop further damage. Small things like this can and will sink a boat. Check rudders and shaft packing. Make sure you’re not leaking. Once you have secured the bilge it’s on tho the engine room.
Check engines – Engine room or remove cowlings
Check oil and transmission fluid if applicable. Check for signs of water leaks and salt build up especially around impellar housings and thermostats if outboards.
Safety Equipment – coast guard requirements – boat safety kit
Once you have done all of this it’s on to safety equipment. Check flares and fire extinguishers and make sure they are up to date. Check life-raft and dingy to make sure they have proper tie downs and or are filled properly. These two minutes can save your life. Check your radio? VHF or handheld. And make sure your EPIRB is functioning proper. Use your local radio check station. Palm Beach, Broward and Miami it’s Channel 26/27. Don’t be that guy calling the coast guard on 16 for radio check. Bridges are all channel 9 for those who are still confused. 22A is coast guards communication channel. Please do not use this channel to tell your friends what you’re wearing today. Only use this station if directed by the Coast Guard.
Check in with family or friends – Safety Checks – Boater Safety
Next make a call to a friend or loved one quickly and just send them your intended destination or approximate location that you will be fishing or traveling. Things can unravel fast out there and it’s always a good thing to let someone know where you were headed.
Second Engine check running – Safety Checks – Boater Safety
Next fire up the engines. One more quick check for leaks and proper water flow and you’re off.
These safety checks can and will save your life.
I hope some of you find this useful. And don’t forget your Seatow or Boat US memberships. Those guys will be there when you need them most.
Captain Darren Diaz