Basic Boating Checklist

A basic guide for our valued customers – Be sure to reference your owner’s manuals for complete information.

BEFORE LEAVING STORAGE AREA WITH BOAT ALWAYS VERIFY THE MOTOR STARTS AND RUNS. THIS WILL ALSO INSURE YOU HAVE THE BOAT KEYS.

TRAILERING 

Never trailer your boat with the cover on.
Back vehicle to boat trailer and align where ball is under coupler:

  • Connect coupler to ball – BE SURE LATCH IS UNDER BALL not on top of it and LATCH IS LOCKED & BOLTED SECURELY.
  • Connect safety chains and cross below ball.
  • Connect wiring for lights.
  • If your trailer has brakes – be sure to connect safety cable to vehicle.
  • Crank up tongue jack.
  • Check winch is tight and locked.
  • Check tire pressure and condition.
  • Check trailer lights before each trip.
  • Check tie down straps.


FUELING

  • Shut engine off prior to fueling.
  • Remove all passengers from boat.
  • Do not smoke!
  • Turn off electronics.
  • Be certain you are putting fuel in fuel tank, not water tank or rod holder!
  • Always fuel a new boat slowly.


LAUNCHING

     PRIOR TO LAUNCH

  • Always check for favorable weather prior to boating.
  • Check that DRAIN PLUG IS INSTALLED in bottom of boat.
  • Leave trailer completely connected to car prior to backing down boat ramp.
  • Disconnect trailer lights.
  • Remove any trailer to boat tie downs.
  • Verify ample safety equipment is aboard.

    WHEN LAUNCHING

  • Choose “Leeward” side of ramp. (side where wind is blowing away from dock)
  • Tie bow and stern lines to boat for handler.
  • Back trailer down ramp until stern of boat begins to float.
  • Put vehicle in PARK and engage PARK BRAKE.
  • Walk on dock to boat – be careful, ramps and docks can be slippery.
  • Small Boats – Release winch from inside boat. Be CAREFUL of handle spinning out of control!
  • Float boat off trailer and tie to dock.
  • Large boats – Have handler release winch and guide boat as you float boat off trailer.
  • Slowly drive vehicle forward and park. LOCK vehicle and trailer coupler to prevent theft.


STARTING ENGINE

  • Large Boats – Open sea cocks, except overboard waste, close sea cocks if leaving boat unattended.
  • Visually inspect engine and bilge for leaks, loose items, etc.
  • Close engine/bilge hatch and run blower for 5 minutes prior to starting.
  • Lower engine or out drive.
  • Two stroke owners check oil in tank.
  • Verify safety lanyard in proper position.
  • Check that shifter is in neutral and throttle in correct position.
  • Start engine. (see owner’s manual)
  • Check for oil pressure, volts and engine temperature.


UNDERWAY

  • Keep a copy of sales agreement on board until vessel registrations are completed.
  • Children under 6 years of age must wear a USCG approve PFD while underway in vessels under 26 feet.
  • 3 miles offshore or at the edge of the gulf stream, children 13 and under must wear a USCG approve PFD on all recreational vessels unless except when below deck.
  • Anyone being towed behind a vessel must wear a USCG approved PFD.
  • Once underway, tidy up loose lines and gear.
  • Operate in shallow water with drive tilted up.
  • When water depth  in unknown proceed slowly and with caution.
  • Observe all speed and rule signs.
  • Inform crew of speed and direction changes prior to making them.
  • Always look behind and to the sides prior to direction or speed changes.
  • The person at the helm is responsible for all passengers and wake made by the vessel.
  • Stow safety equipment in an easily accessible location.
  • Use Navigation Lights 30 minutes before sunset and after sunrise.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • On the Indian River, Red Squares are on the mainland side, Green Squares are on the ocean side and all markers are numbered.
  • Stay to the right of the channel when underway – never anchor in a channel.
  • Sailboats have the right of way while under sail only.
  • Always check the weather and leave a float plan behind.


RETRIEVING BOAT

  • Tie bow and stern lines for handler – Hang fenders if necessary.
  • Have handler stand on dock and steady boat.
  • Back trailer down ramp slowly – roll vehicle window down so you can hear instructions.
  • Submerge the trailer completely.
  • Float or drive boat on trailer.
  • Attach winch strap and tighten until boat touches winch stop / roller.
  • SLOWLY but steadily pull boat up the ramp stopping only if boat is not on trailer properly.
  • Continue to parking area so ramp area stays clear.
  • Remove boat drain plug.
  • Stow gear, cushions, tables etc. so they CAN NOT FLY OUT of boat while trailering.
  • FOLD DOWN & SECURE BIMINI TOP if trailering speed exceeds 30 MPH.
  • Install trailer to boat tie downs.


CLEANING  BOAT AND TRAILER

  • Flush engine per owner’s manual instructions.
  • Remove electronics if not inside cabin.
  • Remove personal items, food and gear.
  • Stowe any gear remaining on boat.
  • Wash down boat, motor and trailer with biodegradable boat soap and fresh water.
  • Allow to air dry before covering boat.
  • Treat vinyl with dressing to promote long life.
  • Store under cover – be sure air circulates underneath.


SUGGESTED BASIC EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR BOAT

  • Appropriate safety gear – PFD’s, flares, horn, fire extinguisher, EPIRB etc.
  • VHF Radio and CELL phone
  • Inexpensive Binoculars
  • Charts and maps
  • Boat hook
  • Fenders (2 to 4)
  • Extra lines (dock and anchor)
  • Extra hull plug.
  • Extra set of keys.
  • Spare tire and bearing set for trailer.
  • Engine oil
  • Tool Kit
  • Flash light
  • Duct tape
  • Boat brush
  • Trailer coupler lock
  • Boat cover
  • Sun screen


SPARE PARTS LIST

alternator Belt (pre-installed)
spark plugs
engine oil
gear lube
water pump kit (if vacationing)
spare prop and hardware
spare drain plug
spare tire for trailer
bearing / hub set


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Please store Top Notch Marine phone number in your cell phones for use if a question arises.
  • Fort Pierce 772 466-3119    Melbourne 321 253-4050


RESOURCES