Prepare your boat
- Service your engine regularly
- Check the hull for damage
- Ensure the bilges are clean and dry
- Charge your batteries
- Test your steering
- Check your electrical equipment and navigation lights work
- Ensure the bung is in.
Check your gear
- Life jackets – suitably sized for each person on board
If you are on a vessel six metres and under, you must wear your life jacket when you’re underway and if there is heightened risk
- Fuel – have a third to get there, a third to return and a third in reserve
- Communication devices – take two ways to call for assistance: a waterproof cellphone, VHF EPIRB, PLB or flares
- Navigation – chart, GPS, plotter, depth sounder and navigation lights
- Anchor – suitable for vessel with chain and non-floating rope
- Bailing system – bucket, bailer or bilge pump
- Fire extinguisher – store in appropriate case
- First aid kit – for minor accidents or injuries
- Torch – with spare batteries
- Throw line – in case of person overboard
- Alternative means of propulsion – oars or spare engine.
Know the rules
- Skipper responsibility – The skipper is responsible for the safety of the vessel and passengers
- Take a day skippers’ course with Coastguard boating education
You must be aged over 15 to operate a vessel capable of going 10 knots or more
- Learn the ‘rules of the road’ at sea
- Keep a good look out
- Know the speed rules
- When towing, you need an additional person to observe – look out for the access lanes
- Check the marine weather forecast before you go out - if in doubt, don’t go out
- Don’t overload your vessel
- Don’t drink alcohol and go boating
- Anchor carefully - so your boat doesn’t drag or swing around and damage other craft
- Know what side of the buoys and beacons you should pass
- Plan your safe route before departure.
All vessels must proceed at a safe speed. The safe speed must take into account vessel traffic, weather and visibility. Five knots (9.25 km/h or quick walking pace).
Keep to the speed limit
- within 50 metres of a person in the water and another boat or structure All boats must keep to 5 knots:
- within 200 metres of the shore and from a dive flag.