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Cruising Tips: the Definitive Sailing Preparation Checklist for Charter

The safety and enjoyment of your sailing vacation requires some preparation. Use the sailing preparation checklist below, and determine in advance what the sailing charter company will supply and what will be necessary to provision.

Travel & Charter Documents:

  • Sailing Certification
  • VHF Radio License
  • Ship’s Registration
  • Fishing Permit
  • Scuba License
  • Passport & Visa
  • Vaccination Documents
sailing preparation checklist
Jumping into the crystal clear waters of Cala Santa Maria, Sardinia, Italy

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 as well as spare marine batteries
sailing preparation checklist

Tool & Repair Kit:

While your vessel should be in good general working order, unforeseen issues may occur. If you know that there are repairs that need doing before you take the boat out on the water, it is not safe for you to set sail. Consider materials like polyurethane foam core if there are big repairs that need doing on the surface of the boat, as this material builds considerable thickness. An on-board tool kit can save time and frustration, by allowing onsite repairs versus returning to port for repairs. Here’s the list of the most important tools:

  • 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 sailing with orca

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.

  • 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

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, dock lines 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.

Thanks to Zizoo for this checklist.

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