6 Boat-safety checklist essentials

Your boat-safety checklist is a crucial part of getting ready for warm weather and the good times out on the water that come with it. Now that summer is here, getting your boat ready will help minimize potential headaches when you’d rather just be enjoying time with friends and family. It’s also an excellent way to get a head start on any maintenance that might be required to get the ball rolling this season.

To make sure you’re ready for a summer at the tiller, check out these six boat-safety checklist essentials.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Duration: 30-45 minutes
  • How often: Each season

1. Basic Safety Gear

It’s a given that your boat-safety checklist will include life jackets for your entire crew, but there’s more to safety than just flotation devices. Stock your boat with a loud horn for signalling emergencies, a box of flares, a fire extinguisher, a first-aid kit and a flashlight. These items should see you through most of the situations you’re likely to encounter on the water.

2. Lighting System

No matter how many lights your boat has, springtime means inspecting each bulb to make sure it works and that it’s bright enough for summer duty. That includes internal and external lights, as well as any spotlights you may have installed.

3. Backup Plan

Things can break in the middle of an afternoon, and you don’t want to be left stranded because of a fouled spark plug or low engine oil. Spare oil, coolant, spark plugs and light bulbs should be stowed somewhere on board.

4. Bilge Pump

Your boat-safety checklist needs to cover inspecting your boat’s bilge pump, if it’s so equipped. Start it up and make sure it’s running properly. Then check for any irregular noises or unusual smells that could indicate the machinery is wearing out.

5. Fluid Levels, Hoses and Wiring

Checking oil level

Basic maintenance is also an important factor on your boat-safety checklist every summer. Topping off fluids such as coolant, fuel and gas is a must. Additionally, take the time to inspect any rubber lines for signs of rot or tearing before you set out on your maiden voyage. Finally, give your boat’s wiring a once-over to check for shorts, bad fuses or potential trouble spots.

6. Electrical

Clean terminals of your battery for better performance and durability

Start off your electrical inspection at the source. Test and charge your battery to make sure it’s in good condition. If it isn’t, replace it. Also, clean off any corrosion that’s built up around the terminals with a wire brush, and then inspect all electrical connections throughout the boat to make sure they’re tight and free of corrosion.


Check out all the marine and boat products available on napacanada.com for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on building a boat-safety checklist, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA Auto Parts store.

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