Always Check the Weather
There are so many things to remember when you are going out on the water. First thing that I always check is the weather. There are so many ways to check the weather forecasts these days.
- I first check the Bureau of Meteorology website:
- Then I check Seabreeze which can give you an area specific forecast.
- Then I use Willy Weather.
All of these sites give you a 7 day forecast so you can start planning your trip well in advance. Once you have selected the day that is going to suit your boats capability for where you want to go, you can then start getting your boat ready.
Inspection and Checklist to Prepare Your Boat
If your boat is on a trailer at home, you can go slowly through all your checks to make sure you do not forget to do something. I find that as I am the skipper, I am responsible, so I do not rely on anyone else to get my boat ready. You can make yourself up a check list if that will help you remember everything.
Have Plenty of Fuel
The first thing I do is get my fuel on the day it is cheapest, for example the 98 fuel that I use is at least 20 cents cheaper on Tuesdays, So I fill up my jerry cans and bring them home as it is easier than trying to tow a boat through a busy service station.
Check Your Safety Gear
Now that you know that you have enough fuel for the trip, start checking your safety gear. Good condition life jackets for everyone that is going to be onboard. Flares and EPIRB are in date and where they can be grabbed in the case of an emergency. I have my EPERB, flares, water and some packaged food in a grab bag that floats at the back of my where it will float out of the boat should it tip over.
I always wear my life jacket which is a self-inflating jacket so if I get knocked out the jacket will keep me afloat. Every now and then, pull out your anchor and check that the rope is not tangled and place it back neatly. Check your radio is working simply by switching it on and call out for a radio check. Quite often the local rescue group will respond.
Final Boat Checks
Now that you have all your safety equipment checked and where it can be accessed you can check your boat. Check that the boat navigation lights are working, check that the bilge pump is working, make sure that your bungs are in, check that your navigation system is operational.
Many unexpected things can happen while boating, so always be ready to respond. In April 2021 alone there were 82 reported incidents involving domestic commercial vessels. Read about them it at the link below.