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Create a Pre-Departure Checklist Before Boating - Johnston & Associates InsuranceWhen you own a boat, it is your responsibility to make sure all aspects of the boat are functioning properly before you go out on the water. You must also verify that important safety equipment is provided for all passengers. Boating enthusiasts often suggest having a pre-departure checklist so nothing important is overlooked. Consider the following items when creating your personal pre-departure checklist.

Safety Items

Verify one coast guard approved life jacket per passenger is on board. Each life jacket should have a whistle attached.
Make sure all passengers know where the life jackets are located and how to put them on.
Have a horn that can produce a blast that will be heard for at least a half mile.
Verify you have flares and that they are kept in a dry location. In addition, make sure you have a flashlight and spare batteries. Let passengers know of their location.
Make sure you have a fire extinguisher (or the number required by the Coast Guard based on the size of your boat) and it is easily accessible. Point it out to passengers.
Check the weather forecast before departing and make sure you bring along a weather radio so you can receive weather updates.  

Boat Maintenance

Make sure your fuel tank is full.
Check engine oil and coolant levels.
Verify all instrument lights are working
Carry a toolbox with tools for your boat and any important spare parts you might need.
Check for unusual smells, such as fuel smells, before you depart.  
When you start the boat up, listen for unusual noises and address them before leaving the dock.
Verify you have all documentation with you, such as fishing permits, radio license and paperwork for the boat.

Running through a pre-departure checklist will only take a few minutes but could be the difference between a safe outing and disaster. The checklist will help you identify any potential issues before you head out on the water. In addition, you will verify all safety equipment is on board and all passengers are aware of the location so if you run into trouble, anyone on the boat can respond quickly and appropriately. Enjoy a fun and safe summer on your boat!
Don’t forget to ensure that your coverage is current. Call Johnston & Associates at (615) 716-2123 for more information on Brentwood boat insurance.
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