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Bareboat Check-Out List

This bareboat check-out list is based on our personal experience and study. As our experience grows and we get additional feedback from our readers, we will periodically revise and update the list.

Our hope is that this list will provide a guide for your next charter. If you have developed your own list, perhaps you will find something on our list that you had not considered.

If you have any comments or think we have missed some important items, please Contact Us.

Our typical approach to check-out is to let the charter company go through their list first and then we use our list to uncover or review anything that was missed or that we feel is important.

Maybe something on the list will help you eliminate or reduce some of the headaches that typically happen after you leave the dock.

Safety
  • First Aid Kit (open and make sure it contains fresh unused supplies)
  • Horn (Does it really work?)
  • Flares (check expiration dates)
  • VHF radio (make sure you understand how it works and what channels are used locally. What is the weather channel?)
  • Emergency or Spare Anchor (How much rode does it have?)
  • Fire extinguishers (Where are they and what is their condition?)
  • Whistle
  • PFD’s (Do you have enough and are they the right sizes for your crew and guests?)
  • Life sling (Is the bitter end tied off?)
  • Pole (Will it extend and/or float?)
  • Fenders (hopefully six, but usually not)
  • Dock lines (Are they in good shape?)
  • Safety harness
  • Manual Bilge Pump & Handle (make sure it works)
  • Emergency tiller (make sure you understand how to access and operate)
  • Location of Thru-hull fittings & plugs (Is there a location drawing on board?)
  • Propane tank and cutoffs (How do these operate? Is there a lighter? Is there a spare tank? Are they full?)
  • How do you start stove, oven and/or BBQ?
  • Bucket (for rinsing deck and bailing just in case)
  • Flash Light (Is there a spare battery/bulb or a second flashlight?)
Dingy
  • Oars (make sure they are same length and fit the boat well if you plan to row)
  • Dingy Anchor
  • Operation of Motor (including how to lift/tilt the motor when beaching or towing)
  • Start Motor
  • Fuel for Motor (Is it a 4-cycle gasoline engine or 2-cycle gasoline/oil?)
  • Spare shear pin?
  • Safety line for motor (or a lock for transom clamps)
  • Air Pump for Dingy (when it loses air)
  • Bailer/Bilge pump for Dingy (make sure it is secured)
  • Where does the charter company suggest towing the dingy when sailing or docking?
On Deck
  • Anchor (Is the bitter end secured? Are there depth markings on the rode? How much rode and chain is there?)
  • Windlass (How is this operated? Is there a separate switch on the electrical panel?)
  • Extra rode (Is there any?)
  • Location & Use of Swim Ladder
  • Reefing Lines/equipment (Make sure you know have the reefing system works.)
  • Condition of Hull (Are there any obvious dings or marks? Make notes in writing.)
  • Steering cables (Are they in good condition and not frayed or have fish hooks?)
  • Rub rail and all standing rigging (Are there any fish hooks that will tear sails?)
  • Condition of sails and running rigging (including operation of winches and jib and/or main furling. If possible host sails to check.)
  • Whisker pole (Is there one on board?)
  • Bimini and Dodger condition and operation (Can they be collapsed/folded when sailing? On one boat we found we could not tack unless the bimini was folded. Surprise!)
  • Strength and security of all stanchions, pulpits, and lifelines
  • Number of winch handles (Are they floating? Where are the spares?)
  • Operation of Wheel Lock.
  • Depth Gage Alarm Set @ _______
  • Fresh water fill cap. (Is there a special tool to remove?)
  • Fresh Water Tank Gallons = ______ (How do you check the level?)
  • Diesel fill (Is there a special tool to remove?)
  • Diesel Tank Gallons = _______ (How do you check the level?)
  • Diesel Tank vent pipe (in case a dock hand overfills)
  • Black Liquor Tank Pump-out Location. (Is there a special tool to remove?)
  • Black Liquor Tank Level. (How do you check?)
Engine
  • Check Oil (Is there an extra quart on-board?)
  • Check Transmission fluid (Is there an extra quart on-board?)
  • Check coolant level
  • Battery (Water, connection, corrosion, etc.)
  • Raw Water Seacock, Filter & Cleaning
  • Check Belt Tension
  • Fuel Filter
  • Temp Gauge/Alarm (Is this monitored?)
  • Oil Pressure Gauge
  • Location of Glow Plug preheat button (How long does this need to be held?)
  • Operation of Engine Controls (Forward/Reverse/Throttle)
  • Start Engine (don’t forget to check for lines in water)
  • Check for cooling flow when running
  • Check Stuffing Box (What is normal leakage?)
  • Transmission in Reverse while sailing?
Navigation & Piloting
  • GPS Operation (make sure it is set to your native language)
  • Charts & Guides (determine depth reference if applicable, particularly on lakes)
  • Boat documentations: registration & papers (in case you are stopped by local authorities)
  • Boat/Motor Manuals and check list
  • Compass (what is the deviation if known)
  • Depth Gauge (Location of sensor. How is it calibrated? Does in read on the low side?)
  • Masthead fly (Does it work? Is it bent?)
  • Speedo (Where is the sensor? Can it be cleaned?)
  • Electrical & Mechanical
  • Operation of Battery Switch (Are both batteries being charged regardless of which battery is being used?)
  • Refrigerator Cutoff (Is there a power cutoff based on voltage so you will not totally discharge the battery?)
  • 12 Volt Socket (Is there a socket for cell phone or other chargers?)
  • Other Switches and gauges
  • Operation of Navigation Lights
  • Operation of Anchor Light
  • Bilge Pump (check float switch with power off and make sure it actually pumps)
  • Cleaning of Bilge Pump Filter
  • Location of Y valve for head
  • Location of shore power receptacle.
  • Shore Power Cord (Don’t forget the cord when you leave.)
Miscellaneous
  • Emergency Contact Numbers at Charter Company ______________
  • Breakdown Procedure (what is the procedure the company wants you to follow)
  • Emergency Contacts for towing ______________
  • Inventory List from Charter Company
  • Toolbox (where is it located on the boat?)
  • WD40/Track Lube (just in case)
  • Sail Tape or Duct Tape
  • Lock and key for Cabin
  • Wind Scoop (Is there one and where is it?)
  • Location and installation of Window Screens
  • Operation of tables
  • Operation of Head
  • Operation of Shower
  • What is missing from Inventory List provided? (Make notes in writing.)

NOTE: Be sure to make any notes regarding the condition of the boat including the hull and sails as well as any equipment or inventory that is missing or not operating properly and share this list with the charter company before you depart.

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