So you finally made it to the weekend and now it's time to cruise with the family. Us at AAA Marine Parts Wholesale are just as excited as you are but before you leave the dock there are a few things you should check in order to keep your boat operating safely and efficiently.
Life Jackets - Always make sure there are more than enough life jackets onboard. All life jackets should be checked to make sure they fit who every will be out with you. Children often need smaller jackets so make sure if children are accompanying you, you have enough and they fit. In addition, wear them. A life jacket is useless if it's not being worn. Safety is the number one priority. It’s too late when you’re in the water!
Sound Devices - Most boats have a horn which can be heard from over ½ a mile away but if not make sure you have an air horn on board in case of emergencies. It is also a good idea to attach whistles to life jackets.
Lights - Even if you don’t plan to be boating at night, lights are a very important safety feature. Also check all instrument lighting to assure working order. Flashlights are also a small and easy device to bring aboard that can be very useful. Remember, the USCG or local sheriff is watching you.
Engine - It is always a good idea to run the engine at the dock for a few minutes to ensure everything is working properly. Check oil and coolant levels. Make sure there are no leaks from the engine or its components. This is a good time to also check the bilges. Ensure they aren’t flooding and there are no fuel or oil leaks which could be ejected with the bilge. Also it is recommended to have tools onboard should maintenance be necessary.
Fuel - Always make sure you have a sufficient margin of safety to return back to the dock. Have an idea of other fuel docks in the area that are available to use in case one is needed quickly.
Weather - Always have an idea of the forecast before you leave. On the water, weather can change quickly. We suggest bringing along a radio for weather updates as often times cell phones lose service far away from shore.
Last but not least is of course to enjoy your time out on the water and stay safe. When properly prepared there is not much better than spending some quality time on your boat with friends and family. We hope you enjoy your time and would love to hear about it.
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