Sailing Preparation Checklist Before Setting Sail

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The safety and enjoyment of your sailing vacation require some preparation. Use this checklist before setting sail and determine in advance what the sailing charter company will supply and what will be necessary to provision.

Checklist Before Setting Sail – What You’ll Need:

Travel & Charter Documents

  • Sailing Certification
  • VHF Radio License
  • Ship’s Registration
  • Fishing Permit
  • Scuba License
  • Passport & Visa
  • Vaccination Documents
enjoying sunset on a boat

Safety & Navigation Equipment

The charter company should supply required(*) safety equipment. However, before leaving port, it is necessary to double-check that all required and recommended equipment is present and in working order. Additional items provide an additional level of preparation for the unexpected.

  • Fire Extinguisher*
  • Flare*
  • Horn*
  • Wearable Floatation Devices*
  • Throwable Floatation Device*
  • Working Running Lights*
  • GPS
  • VHF Radio
  • Distress Radio Beacon
  • Navigational Charts
  • Emergency Raft
  • Bilge Pump
  • Flashlight & Batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Flags
  • Mobile Phone/Satellite Phone
  • Air Horn (back up)
  • Oars/Paddles

Tool & Repair Kit

While your vessel should be in good general working order, unforeseen issues may occur. An on-board tool kit can save time and frustration, by allowing onsite repairs versus returning to port for repairs. Portable marine tool kits can be found online. Here’s the list of the most important tools you should not miss from your checklist before setting sail:

  • Socket & Ratchet Sets
  • Utility Knife
  • Work Gloves
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches
  • Pliers
  • Hacksaw
  • Wire Stripper
  • Copper Brush
  • Grips
  • Tape Measure
  • Sharpie Pen
  • Electrical Tape
  • Glue
  • Matches
  • Bucket
sailing preparation checklist

First Aid Kit

All sailors should bring first aid kits in preparation for both minor and major injuries. Pre-made kits can be purchased online. When choosing a kit, determine the number of people on board, the length of journey, and distance from medical care. Examples of such kits typically include the following items:

  • Adhesive Bandage
  • Gauze
  • Dressing
  • Eye Pad
  • Gloves
  • Aloe Vera Gel with Lidocaine
  • Moleskin
  • CPR Face Shield
  • Cold Pack
  • SAM Splint
  • Safety Pins
  • Bandage Scissors with Blunt Tip
  • Splinter Picker/Tick Remover Forceps
  • Book/Guide to Marine Medicine
  • Acetaminophen
  • After Bite Wipe
  • Antihistamine
  • Aspirin
  • Eye Wash
  • Ibuprofen
  • Meclizine
  • Antiseptic Wipe
  • Cotton Tip Applicator
  • Iodine
  • Irrigation Syringe
  • Bandage Tape
  • Benzoin Topical Adhesive
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • Wound Closure Strips
Sailing holidays Croatia yacht

Final Walkthrough

When inspecting the charter, be sure to examine the boat’s standing and running rigging – including the lines, sails, forestay, backstay, shrouds and mast. Check the gasoline motor, to ensure functionality, fuel levels, and ventilation. Check Engine oil and coolant level, look at the condition and number of anchors, docklines and fenders. Inspect the overall cleanliness of the boat, ensuring clean towels, bedding, and heads. Give the charter company an idea of your itinerary and when you plan to return to port. Check out everything about the marina check-in and check-out processes before setting sail.

Follow the given instructions and you’re all set! Happy and safe sailing! Check out the Sailing Etiquette guide for more information and read the 3 simple steps for setting sail. If you still don’t know what to expect on a sailing trip, check out the guide to sailing for beginners where you can find all the useful information.

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