It seems that my boat checklist never ends. The checklist is a valuable tool for me which I use religiously. I always keep it handy. If you are like me, and don’t write down what you’re thinking, it most likely will be forgotten. During any given week, my mate and I work off of a checklist that is continuously updated. The list consists of everything, such as supplies needed, metal that needs waxed or repairs that need to be made. One would think that you could run out of things for a checklist, but if you keep a top-notch boat and stay up with all the systems that should not happen.
I highly recommend every captain have some sort of punch list which most of you do. Some of the tasks listed are repetitious. However, when you are preparing for a trip some of the tasks will change. Also, while away on a trip you will find it advantageous to keep the list handy so when you return you will be able to perform the needed service and repairs in a timely manner. I also recommend when looking over a list it’s helpful to prioritize the tasks as A, B & C. A being top priority and C being the least.
Obviously, you will want to knock out the A list first. Another helpful suggestion is to not look at the list as a daily work schedule but rather begin the week by setting goals with your crew for the entire week. My experience has proven that schedules change, especially when hiring service people like mechanics or electricians. When they are delayed, having some flexibility in your list keeps productivity flowing looking at the big picture (the week) versus a single day. Your time management becomes key.
Here are a few things that you might add to your checklist: service and update your life raft, update and check batteries in your E.P.I.R.B., update all your flares, check your fire system and all your extinguishers, check fire alarm or install one if you don’t have one, check your carbon monoxide alarm, or install one if you don’t have one, check and be sure that all seacocks are operating properly, check all air conditioner filters, check water in all your batteries, drain water out of your compressor, check the fluid and air charge in your steering system and check all rudder stuffing boxes. That’s just this week’s checklist, and you can be sure that there is plenty more where that came from. So keep your pen and paper handy, and your boat will stay in top condition. Your preventative maintenance will always pay off in the long run, not just mechanically, but also financially.
That’s my two-minute warning.