It’s a great time of year to head off on boating adventures with family and friends. The Deckee crew share some advice to help you plan and prepare your boat for a short trip away.

Many of us love taking our boats out for short trips away. Whether you’re going out to camp, cruise, fish, race, or anchor out, you will need to prepare properly for each trip

1.Inspect the boat for damage Thoroughly inspect the boat to make sure it’s safe. Examine the hull(s) and all other structures, such as stanchions, for damage. Make sure the bilge pumps work. Check over the tender. Look at the thru-hulls. Examine the propeller.

2.Check and test your gear Look over and test all the gear on board. Perform a VHF radio check, turn on all the instruments, try out the engine in both forward and reverse, inspect life jackets, batteries, look at the expiry date of your flares and fire extinguishers, and more.

3.Pack light but smart Most boats don’t have a huge amount of storage, so it pays to pack light. Be prepared for sun, rain, cold, and wind. Always bring a waterproof jacket, and don’t forget sunscreen, a sun hat, and sunglasses.

4.Provision and fill up the tanks Take the time to fill up on water and fuel – you can never carry too much of either. Make sure you have enough food on board for the duration of the trip. 5.Create a float plan Let family or friends know where you’re going, when to expect to hear from you, and your vessel’s details. A float plan will turn out to be extremely useful in an emergency situation.

6.Check the forecast Carefully look at the marine weather forecast. Pay close attention to wind strength, tide times, and swell height. Don’t head out if you’re not comfortable with the conditions.

7.Plan your route and plot your course The weather and tides will dictate where you can head. Spend some time planning your route. Then plot your course to calculate distance, time, and fuel needs. Make a note of any reefs and shallow points on your route, so you know when to expect them.


Deckee is the free boating app for local information, trip logging, weather, navigational aids and official alerts and notices.

Check out the February-March issue of Nautilus Marine Magazine for more expert advice and subscribe to Nautilus Marine Magazine here.