Let’s say you are helping someone with a few day coastal move. You are not the captain or owner but since we are all ultimately responsible for our own safety you figure it would be prudent to do a quick check before taking off in an unknown boat even if only coastal.
A full survey would be great but probably not likely to happen.
The following is a list of stuff I would check:
1. Walk around the boat slowly and just look at everything.
The idea is to see if something is just not right and to just get a feel for the boat.
2. Check the bilge, ideally dry the bilge completely, and shut off the bilge pump.
The idea is to do this first as the checkout will probably take at least a half hour and we want to see if the boat is leaking at the dock. At the end of the check-out check the bilge again and make sure it is not leaking and that the pump works.
3. Ground tackle size and length.
4. Standing rigging
5. Running rigging, Winches, handles, blocks
Just trying to see if the boat is in good enough shape to sail and has all the parts.
6. Dock lines and boat hook
7. Hoist sails if possible at dock
Checking for unusual play
10. Horn, lights, PFD’s, flares, Insurance, Registration, BoatUS membership card
11. Through hulls
12. Battery(s) 12.6 volts
13. Start engine
15. Fuel tank size (full)
16. Battery 14+ volts with engine running
17. Chain plates
18. Head (Tank empty)
23. Fresh Water
25. Clothing appropriate for everyone
26. First aid kit
This is just my first pass. What would you add?
The goal is not to ascertain the value of the boat like a full survey. The goal is to do what is prudent.
In most cases there will be things that are not perfect but at least you have an idea of the chance that the boat will survive a short trip.
I'm inclined to make it much simpler than that.
At first glance, is the boat clean, or is it a moss farm? If the boat looks like hell from 50 feet, don't waste your time. Turn around and walk back up the dock.
Boat looks good.. what next?
MOB gear on deck? Last serviced (a la MOM 8 or a life raft)? Safety gear easy to locate? Up to date? Radio check... vhf/ssb work? 2 high capacity manual bilge pumps? One operable from the cockpit? Location of thru hulls... is every nook and cranny in the boat full of crap so you can't even locate them yet alone get to one and close it? Operable? Hoses double clamped? Look under the floor boards... is it a petri dish of horrors, or clean? Visible plumbing look well maintained? Open up electrical panel... is it a rat's nest, or is it done to industry standards? Are the batteries properly strapped down? Are the leads clean? How old? Engine/boat maintenance log... is there one? Is it in order? Maybe a quick wipe with a rag under the engine... smoke when starting? Are basic spares on the boat (impeller, belts, oil filter(s), engine oil)? Is there a good set of tools on the boat including a multi-meter? Running rigging.. new, or old? Even if new, has the owner bothered to whip the ends? (sometimes the small stuff really shows an owner's attitude toward the boat) Are splices clean and the right lengths? Are lines and hardware appropriately sized for the boat? Condition and age of sails... first glance, any mildew? loose threads or threads that break with the pass of a finger nail? (You probably won't get to see them until the shake down) What else is in the inventory? Age? Are there jack lines ready to rig?
In general, a well cared for boat will be pretty easy to see in short order. Trip and maintenance logs exist, and can be reviewed. A good boat will want the delivery crew to do a shake down before heading out.
If the boat's in good working order, buy charts if they aren't already on the boat, provision, fuel, water up, and go.
I'd bring my own handheld GPS and VHF and batteries for the trip as well.
reefing lines for main sail
if not roller furling genny are there multiple sized jibs?
stuffing box dripping at rest?
Are the batteries accessable and do you have the tools to quickly disconnect them in case of an electrical short/fire. If disconnection is not an option, just pour baking soda in them :eek:
Actually DO a VHF radio check. I was able to receive with great clarity with mine when I bought the boat. Couldn't transmit at all. I also like to take a handheld VHF with me on trips like that.
Got some spare shackles/carabiners and some line or webbing that you can use to improvise jacklines/teathers?
+1 on stuffing box. Run the engine in gear at the dock if possible and check for dripage after.
inspect throttle and gear linkages.
Inspect diesel fuel filter bowl. (looking in diesel tank through insepection port would be much better) If it sat and they cruised inland and you go coastal with bad fuel you may get filter clogging from contamination.
Manual bilge pump would be nice....
Good stuff Med and Caleb thanks.
The only thing on your list that made me laugh was the BoatUS membership.
I recommend you check the engine oil and coolant before starting it up, same for transmission oil. As for fuel, that's easy to come by. What you need are spare fuel filters.
My own boats have never been inspected as thoroughly as the list accumulated on this thread. Well, not all at once anyway.
I see what you mean about the list. Where do you stop.
As as far as your boat goes that is the point. On your boat that you have been on for months or years you just know what is going on. At least you have a chance.
What you check is determined by what boat you're talking about. If it is a boat that you or someone you know well normally uses, then the need for a thorough walk through is far lower. For instance, later this month I'll be helping deliver a catamaran my friend owns from the Bahamas, but I don't think a thorough walk through is necessary, since it is a boat I know fairly well and that I know the owner of and know how he maintains it.
A couple of years ago I helped a friend move a new boat to her home harbor, and I went over that boat with a fine-toothed comb, since she and I were both new to the boat, and had little true idea of what shape she was really in. A good place to start when dealing with an unknown boat is the Boat Inspection Trip Tips list I wrote. Since you'll be sailing on the boat, you'll want to add things like checking for the proper tools, spares, emergency supplies in addition to what is on that list.
Tools—do you have a proper toolset aboard that will allow you to make basic repairs and replace important spares, like the engine raw water impeller?
Spares—do you have the proper spares, like fuel filters, engine raw water impellers, etc.
Emergency Gear—do you have the required flares, PFDs, etc. Do you have wooden plugs for the various through hulls and know where the through hulls are all located.
Miscellaneous—Do you know where the fire extinguishers are? Do you know where the main battery switch is? Do you know where the propane tanks are? Do you know where the emergency tiller is kept and how it mounts?
How is the boat wired? Is there an echo charger? is the bilge pump wired directly.
How is the pressure water setup? Automatic switch? Will it burn out if left on?
Is the depth finder calibrated for water depth of clearance under keel?
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