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Yacht Departure Pre-check List

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Similar to a pilot at the start of the runway will perform a pre-check before take-off, so should you perform a pre-check on your yacht before departure.

The most obvious check but often overlooked, make sure the hull is solid and does not show any sign of damage or cracks. Check for any water ingress in the bilge, engine room and any other watertight compartment. You do not want to discover this once you’re at open sea.

Next, start up the engines and do a quick scan of the following items:

Oil pressure - Check the oil pressure and temperature on the dashboard, take a quick look in the engine compartment for any leakages.

Cooling - Ask the service crew if they checked cool water is running, when outlet is above waterline check for discharge.

Emission - A quick look at the colour of the exhaust gas can be indication on the condition of the engine.

Controls - Make sure steering and throttle controls are operating properly.

Fuel - Make sure you have enough fuel or know where you can refuel. Remember that you want ⅓ to go out, ⅓ to return, and ⅓ in reserve.

Electrical systems - up and running, battery pack fully charged and all lights are working properly.

Charts - Make sure the nautical charts are up to date and check for any alarms and system conditions on the dashboard.

Personal safety - PFD short for Personal Flotation Device, check numbers and location. You must have one aboard for each crew member.

Fire extinguisher(s) - Any powerboat is required to carry one or several extinguisher, located at a convenient and accessible location. (Probably the yacht has an automatic/manual fire system installed in the engine compartment. The heat-sensitive spray nozzles will activate or trigger an alarm when temperature gets too high.) Check if all is inspected periodically.

Last, but not least important, tell a friend, relative or a complete stranger sitting on a bench at the marina where you are going and when you plan to return. In the most extreme cases, this will prove to be crucial information.

Some boring items to check but nevertheless essential information, and it shows you know what you’re doing.

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