Preparation for Sea

Before making any ocean voyage or delivery, I provide the following check list to my customers. This list is based on my “experiences” as well as those of my students. I must also give credit to PCC Hal Spolestra, SN who gave me his list which I used as the foundation from which I built my list.

By PC Mark S. Anderson, N – Compass and Navigation Instrument Repairman-Adjuster and Navigation Instructor

  • Fuel, oil and water tanks topped off.
  • Spare oil filters, oil & fuel elements on board.
  • NEW filter elements in fuel filters.
  • Compass adjustment within two years with deviation card aboard.
  • Speed curve calibrated and table aboard.
  • Fuel consumption curve calibrated and table aboard.
  • All electronics tested and operable.
  • All navigation lights tested. Spare bulbs aboard.
  • Bow lights effectively screened from shining on deck or rails.
  • PFD’s, rafts, and/or survival suits checked.
  • Anchor winch tested. Anchor securely fastened down. Rode (especially if chain,) untangled in locker.
  • New windshield wiper blades installed. Windshield clean and cleaning devices aboard.
  • Suitable helmsman’s seat,well secured.
  • All furniture and loose articles secured.
  • Radar reflector mounted.
  • First aid kit aboard.
  • Distress signaling kit aboard. Check expiration dates.
  • Several flashlights with fresh batteries and red filters aboard. 
    • Red filters for all lights near helm aboard.
  • Check bilges pumps, back-flow preventer valves and filters. Clean screens.
  • Pump bilges dry.
  • Hose clamps tightened on engine and through hulls fittings.
  • Correct size plugs, (Bungs,) aboard. (Wax toilet rings make excellent emergency leak plugs.)
  • Adequate mooring lines, fenders & towing lines aboard.
  • Engine spares, I.E.: belts, coil, condenser, plugs, heat exchangers etc.,with proper tools aboard.
  • Dinghy stowed aboard and well secured.
  • Throwable PFD with light or strobe aboard.
  • All documents and manuals aboard. Radio license posted next to radio. Required labels posted in bilge and in galley.
  • Jack lines well secured and harnesses for each person on deck aboard. Crossed lines secured at bow for emergency personal support use.
  • Spare batteries for all battery operated navigation equipment such as GPS, Calculators and flashlights aboard.
  • Up-To-Date Charts, Light List, Coast Pilot, Tide and Current books aboard.
  • Navigation and plotting tools aboard.
  • Spare GPS aboard.