Pre-cruise check list


It's annoying to get to the boat and find something has been left behind and potentially dangerous to find something is unavailable, breaking or broken when at sea - imagine having to abandon ship and finding that the life raft is still locked in its storage. 

The use of check lists both call and response and single person, have proved themselves in flying and is certainly best practice sailing as well. To be honest, although I wrote one when I got Sancerre, I don't use a check list every day of a cruise largely because I essentially keep the boat ready for sea at all times short of securing lose items, turning on the instruments, etc. Perhaps I should as I frequently forget to switch on the IridiumGo tracker until I want to download a weather forecast,

Make sure you have up to date information in
This is copied from the spreadsheet which I use as a check list, ticking off things as they are done. 

A more general checklist, including availability of items I leave on the boat and not listed here, is available on RYA's Safetrx. This replaced the Coastguard's CG66 system a few years ago, go there and register your boat and fill in as much as you can about the boat, safety equipment, contact details, preferably a picture and optionally details about your proposed trip. 

The coastguard has access so can find out a lot about you and the boat from your name, call sign, MMSI and / or boat name (the last 3 being available to them through AIS if you have a transceiver) that can save a lot of time in an emergency or save an unnecessary call out of emergency services, for instance having you mobile number they can phone to clarify something if they can't get you on VHF.

Load to the boat in advance

  • Sails
  • Upholstery.
  • Charts & books.
  • Non perishable food.
  • Wetsuit, fins etc.
  • Fishing tackle.
  • Lamp oil.
  • Diesel.
  • Petrol.
  • Camping Gaz.
  • WATER (tank, bottled and emergency).

Before departure day

  • Update charts.
  • Check consumables, food etc. on board and update the shopping list.
  • Get cash, including £ coins if necessary (for showers & washing machines).
  • Put notice on Achilles web site and Flickr about possible moderation delays.
  • Switch on NavTex.
  • Recharge and upgrade IridiumGo if required (take new SIM in case) .
  • Check for Garmin updates - sync updates.
  • Check for Memorymap updates.
  • Update PC.
  • Check main apps on laptop(s) are working & current. 
  • Check for SeaPro software updates.
  • Check for Predictwind Offshore PC updates
  • Clear old GRIBS c 4 days before departure then download daily for the trends.
  • Check iPad & phone updates
  • Check iPads and phone backed up and fully charged
  • Check PC backup OK
  • Recharge all camera Batteries
  • Recharge clippers
  • Refuel Outboard just before last trip.
  • Check / change batteries in strobes, lamps etc.
  • Check sufficient spare batteries.
  • Check diesel in heater tank
  • Check redirect from John@sv-sancerre to Sancerre@oxforditm 
  • Check train and bus times (from Southampton Central)
  • Print of walking route to bus stop.
  • Take down anything on eBay.
  • Select, document and install new Iridium card.
  • If Iridium from day one:
    • Activate card and test voice & download.
    • Set up email redirect.
    • Set up for Iridium emergency call.
    • Ask PredictWind to set up tracking.
  • Check expiry dates etc
    • Insurance renews 19/6/23
    • RAF Blue ensign permit #26132 expires 7/7/27
    • Next Life jacket check 12/3/2024
    • Safetrx updated  12/2/2023
    • Log paddle wheel replaced Jul 2022, replace 2026 or likely 2024
    • GHIC (Heath card) #nnnnnnnnnnnn expires 5/5/26
    • SSR # 61243 expires 7/7/27
    • Ships radio licence MAR0010035/8
    • SeaGo Liferaft #Lii04437S Service & flare replacement due Nov
    • Memory Map through Oct 2023.
    • Total Tide 28 Feb 2024.
    • Admiralty and Antares raster Charts - 2023 editions.
    • PLB ref 078/18, Battery expires 2/24
    • AIS SART ref ??? Battery expires 2026???
    • EDF1 Flare battery expires 3/29
    • EPIRB1 registration ref 6787/19,  Battery expires 31/7/29
    • Carbon Monoxide detector end of life c Sept 2031.

Take on or before last trip to the boat:

  • Nav & safety:
    • Grab bag.
    • Pelli transport case (return with car).
    • Reeds, Pilots and loose charts.
  • Food:
    • See standard shopping list.
    • Rest of non perishable food.
    • Fresh food etc.
  • Clothes bags:
    • Trousers.
    • Shirts.
    • Socks.
    • Underwear including thermals.
    • Shorts & swim ware.
    • Fleeces.
    • Gloves, scarves.
    • Boots and onboard shoes, flip flops.
  • Bedding:
    • All 3 sleeping bags.
    • Blanket.
    • Sleeping bag liners.
    • Pillow + spare pillow case.
  • Misc:
    • Towels.
    • Hand towels, etc.
    • Clippers.
    • Covid test kit.
    • Passport if likely to be required.
    • Ships documents.
  • Power dinghy pump.
  • Reading & VDU glasses.
  • Tech:
    • iPads.
    • Phone.
    • PC.
    • Dongle.
    • Memory stick.
    • Cameras + battery charger.
    • Spare memory cards.
    • Change Camera memory cards.
    • Spare Camera batteries & grip.
    • IridiumGo + sim card.
  • Bring Back with car
    • Peli transport case
    • Heaters
    • Desiccant holders

Before 1st cruise of the year

  • Engine Service, general maintenance, etc.
  • Change water filter.
  • Change batteries in house smoke alarm and intruder alarm sensors.
  • Check seizing (replace plastic?).
  • Check anchor rode & connections.
  • Redo chaff protection.
  • Refit:
    • Genoa, mainsail if off.
    • Running rigging ex spinnaker sheet & guys.
    • Jack stays incl seizing.
    • Emergency ladders.
    • Dodgers.
    • Tiller.
  • Reset trip on Plotter.

On board before every cruise.

  • Having AIS on the laptop and iPad is a good backup
    to the plotter and useful in their own right, making
    good changes to the configurations etc. is best done
    before leaving.
    Test AIS to iPads via wi-fi and to PC via wi-fi and cable.
  • Engine checks.
  • Change PC default wi-fi network to iphone.
  • Change default wi-fi network on old iPad to new iPad.
  • Set destination on Marine Traffic (Oncourse App).
  • Set Outlook to download headers only (under send/ Receive).
  • Re-charge:
    • Work lamp.
    • pencil torches.
    • Headband light.
    • Lighters.
  • Unlock life raft cover.
  • Lock outboard to rail.
  • Stow outboard davit.
  • Rig Barbour haulers.
  • Rig spinnaker sheets and guys.
  • Check navigation lights, low level anchor light & floodlight.
  • Check standing rigging as far as possible.
  • Check bilge pumps and toilet.
  • Lubricate furling gear.
  • Tension backstay and then jib halyard.
  • Check running rigging, drogue bridle, jackstays, guard lines.
  • Fit SeaFeather servo blade and vane, lubricate.
  • Tiller extension to radar mast.
  • Clean and set speed transducer.
  • Rig tiller pilot and test.
  • Check instruments working.
  • Save track on plotter and reset.
  • Switch on hand held VHF for GPS to download almanac.
  • Check EPIRB, emergency knife, pencil torches, lamps, harness, spare safety lines, first aid kits, grab bag, survival suit are in position.
  • Hoist burgees.
  • Secure moveable items and box under table.
  • Lamp chimney to it's box.

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