As an avid fisherwoman, when things are quiet with one-on-one training and certification for Gold Coast boat licences, I love heading out on the local waterways to catch whatever is in season. But after spending many years captaining vessels, both large and small, here in Queensland, greater Australia and abroad, I understand firsthand the importance of following good boat safety procedures before being involved in any watersports. This is why I created a daily boating checklist to ensure both myself and my passengers stay safe whenever we leave the shore for a day on the water.
Inspect your fuel system for leaks or damage,
including your fuel hoses, connections and tank surfaces, paying careful
attention to any softness, brittleness or cracking of the hoses.
Check to see that all fittings and clamps are
properly secured and replace any components if necessary
Ensure that the engine, exhaust and ventilation
systems are functioning correctly
An important tip, don’t fill your tank with fuel
containing 10% ethanol (E10), as this will damage your engine.
Belts, Cables & Hoses
Check belts, cables and hoses because they can
become brittle and crack if vessel isn’t being used regularly
Always make sure belts fit tightly around
pulleys to prevent slipping
A worn belt may leave a black residue near the
pulley and will fit loosely
Cracks or swells on the outer jacket of
throttle, shift and steering control cables may indicate internal corrosion and
result in engine failure.
Inspect all electrical connections for clean,
tight, corrosion free connections, as corroded connections can be dangerous
Remove corroded terminals and use a wire brush
to clean them, along with all cable ends
Charge your battery and have it tested to
ensure it can hold a charge
You should also have your electrical systems
regularly inspected by a qualified technician.
Bilge Alarm System
Check automatic bilge alarm system by manual
check of float switch.
Check all fluid levels including engine oil,
power steering, power trim reservoirs and coolant
Be sure to change the engine oil, oil filter
and drive lubricants on a regular basis.
Propellers & Hulls
Inspect propellers for dings, pitting, cracks
and distortion, as damaged propellers can result in vibration and damage to
your drive train
Ensure the propeller is secured properly and
replace bearings when required
When inspecting the hull, look for blisters,
distortions and cracks
Always clean the hull, deck, and topsides
using an environmentally safe cleaning solution
Check that the bung is securely in place
before every launch.
It’s the Owners and Masters responsibility to have the required safety
equipment onboard for your area of operation.
Check to see that your life jackets are in
good condition and there are enough on board for all potential passengers
Ensure each individual has the correct type
and size life jacket for their body weight
Assess all onboard fire extinguishers to see
if these are the correct class for your vessel
Make sure all fire extinguishers are fully
charged and stowed in the proper place
For any enclosed or semi-enclosed area, ensure
you have at least one properly installed and working carbon monoxide detector
Check that you have an EPIRB for situations of
distress when more than 2nm offshore
It’s a good idea to become a member of either
the Coastguard or Volunteer Marine Rescue in the event you may require a tow.
When it comes to boat safety, I always advise mariners undertaking my Gold Coast boat licences and training classes to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, as these can vary, depending on the vessel, engine and type of componentry. If you would like further training on how to manage your vessel and tips for staying safe on the water, contact Nautical Training & Marine Services on 0412 550 570.