Keeping track of appointments or events has become more complex in a very over-scheduled world. A list of reminders added to the calendar on the refrigerator or in the smartphone can help make sure nothing is forgotten. When it comes to leisure time, a checklist is still valuable, especially when heading out on the water.
Create a pre-underway checklist like the Coast Guard Auxiliary has for their boat crews. Each time before a boat leaves the dock the entire crew reviews a standardized checklist together. Once all the items on the list are checked off it is time to get underway.
It does not have to be complicated; this is just an example of a pre-underway checklist you could use:
Current registration papers and boating safety course completion card
Check fuel supply and oil level
Working proper navigation lights for night operations
Enough life jackets, the right size forvall
Float plan left in your vehicle or with a friend
Other emergency equipment such as flares, first aid kit, signaling devices and tools
If something does not add up it is okay not to get underway. It is always better to choose safety than take a risk with your life or the lives of your passengers.