Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Annapolis, MD

I should have named this post "Checklist of Things Learned the Hard Way," which seems to be the way we learn everything. This dog-eared list, usually taped beside the companionway, has served us well as a reminder of everything that needs to be done before moving the boat. It has grown over our three years of living aboard and obviously needs a rewrite.

Here it is in a more organized format.


  • Check oil
  • Look at Racor clarity
  • Check fuel level
  • Look around in engine compartment to make sure nothing's amiss
  • Check raw water filter
  • Make sure engine intake seacock is open
  • Check engine coolant level
  • Turn on engine battery
  • Check transmission -- before pulling out, engage both forward and reverse
  • Monitor packing gland (once underway)

  • Close hatches (definitely learned the hard way with boarding waves in the Tongue of the Ocean)
  • Double-check hatches (see above)
  • Lock drawers
  • Stow
  • Turn on VHF to 16
  • Turn on electronics switch
  • Toilet bowl dry
  • Check battery charge
  • Stow companionway boards (unless leaving them in place)

  • Binoculars at hand
  • Handheld VHF in place and on 16
  • Covers off helm electronics and stowed
  • Covers off dodger
  • Life jackets in place
  • Make sure plug is out of dinghy
  • Check dinghy securing
  • Charts in place as needed
  • Route pulled up on GPS
  • Gates closed and locked

  • Turn on windlass power
  • Check chain in locker/pull back to make room as needed

  • Turn off AC main and unplug from shore power
  • Stow shore power cord.
  • Stow water hose if out
  • Discuss undocking plan

  • Remove main sail cover
  • Unlock jib
  • Untie boom (secured to keep from moving)
  • Remove forward dorade horn (gets caught in staysail lines)
  • Attach main halyard
  • Sailing gloves 

  • Offshore jackets on
  • Tethers in place
  • Heavy duty stowing
  • Check that cockpit lockers, gear clear of autohelm and life raft accessible
  • Pray ;-)

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