Safe Boating

Every year hundreds of people die from boating related simple mistakes or accidents. In most cases, these injuries and deaths could easily have been prevented by following a few simple steps on a safety checklist or simply making sure a life jacket is worn when out on the water.


We hope you’ll take the time to review our Boating Safety Checklists here. Be sure to pack a safety kit before you venture out onto the water or head off into the wilderness.


Make your fishing trip a safe one. Especially when you’re out on the water.


We suggest including a satellite phone for remote trips and include clothing for various weather conditions or even take all-weather sealed food rations.

Life Jackets

  • Ensure everyone is wearing or has a life jacket

Boat checklist

  • Make sure drains and scuppers are clear
  • Check spare parts and tools and replace as necessary
  • Make sure registration is current and onboard
  • Check and replace wiper blades if necessary


  • Check for hull abrasions, scratches, gouges, etc. and repair
  • Check swim platform and/or ladder
  • Inspect and test trim tabs
  • Check shaft, cutlass bearing, strut and prop
  • Check rudder and fittings
  • Touch up or replace antifouling paint

Decks and Safety Equipment

  • Check stanchion, pulpits and lifelines for integrity
  • Check hull/deck joint
  • Check deck, windows, and port lights for leaks
  • Inspect anchor windlass and lubricate
  • Clean and grease winches
  • Check and lubricate blocks, pad eyes, etc.
  • Check dinghy, and life raft
  • Check life vests

Below Deck

  • Check condition of hoses and clamps
  • Make sure below waterline hoses are double clamped
  • Check bilges pumps for automatic and manual operation
  • Check for oil in bilges
  • Check limber holes and make sure they are clear of debris


  • Check for current registration
  • Check rollers and pads
  • Check and lubricate wheel bearings
  • Clean and lubricate winch
  • Lubricate tongue jack and wheel
  • Test lights and electrical connections
  • Check tire pressure and condition
  • Check brakes (if equipped)
  • Check safety chains
  • Check tongue lock

Electrical Systems

  • Check battery water level
  • Check/recharge batteries
  • Check terminals for corrosion, clean and lubricate
  • Check bonding system
  • Test all gauges for operability
  • Check for spare fuses
  • Check all lighting fixtures (including navigation lights) and make sure you have spare bulbs
  • Check all electronics for proper operation
  • Inspect antennas
  • Check distress signals and expiration date
  • Check PFDs and inspect life rings and cushions
  • Check fire extinguishers and recharge if necessary
  • Check and adjust compass, navigation lights
  • Check charts and replace as necessary
  • Check radar reflector, and replace first aid supplies
  • Check bailer and hand pump


  • Change oil & filters – have spare onboard
  • Check and change fuel filters – have spares onboard
  • Check and change engine zincs
  • Check cooling system change coolant as necessary – have extra onboard
  • Record engine maintenance log, especially date & hours of last oil changes
  • Check belts for tension and check transmission fluid
  • Check and clean backfire flame arrestor and impeller
  • Check and clean water strainer and bilge blower
  • Replace spark plugs and check plug wires for wear
  • Check prop for nicks and bends and change/fill gear lube
  • Inspect fuel lines, primer bulb and tank for leaks
  • Lubricate and spray moveable parts

Water Systems

  • Flush water tank and check the water system and pump for leaks and proper operation
  • Check hot water tank working on both AC and engines
  • Check for tank cap keys on board
  • Check and clean shower sump pump screens

The Last Word on Boating Safety


This is an extensive list, but is by no means a complete list of things to check. At the beginning of the year review the complete checklist. You may want to break down this checklist into 3 different checklists. Spring checklist, The Big Trip and the Small Trip. These checklists are not a simple academic activity or we would not dedicate an entire page to it. These checklists save lives, especially in remote areas.


In addition to the checklists provided here, there are various state, provincial and federal legal requirements that must be followed.


Bass Fishing Gurus (BFG) is a proud sponsor of safe boating.