Every time we got underway, it seemed we forgot something. And then we'd have a surprise as a locker would open and cans fall out. A simple checklist solved the problem -- download a template and make your own!

Before Moving Boat Checklist

As you get ready to leave the marina slip or weigh anchor, do you find yourself wondering what you’ve forgotten to do?  Whether it’s double-checking that all lockers are latched (so no cans will become missiles), or closing all the hatches and portholes, it seemed that Dave and I usually managed to miss something.

Tired of drying dishes sliding off the counter, cans falling out of lockers, dragging a bag of clams and more, Dave and I developed a “Before Moving the Boat” checklist.  Now, this is just the stuff to prep the boat in general — not the things like checking the engine coolant and oil, which are also important.

If you want such a list for yourself, I’ve made mine into a downloadable Word doc (below).  But you’ll have to customize it for your own boat — you may not have to move a rug or get the dog’s leash out, for example.  And over time, we changed some items and added others — initially, it seemed that we added items almost every time we went anywhere!

There are lots of columns so that I don’t need to print one off each time we leave an anchorage/marina.  My way of using it is to check everything off as I do it — or if it doesn’t apply.  Then, literally immediately before hoisting the anchor or casting off the dock lines, I double-check the list to make sure there is a check mark in every box in today’s column.

We taped it inside the cover of our log . . . and yes, you’ll see that I wasn’t always perfect about checking off the items that didn’t apply!

Every time we got underway, it seemed we forgot something. And then we'd have a surprise as a locker would open and cans fall out. A simple checklist solved the problem -- download a template and make your own!

Get the .doc template here — just open and edit in any word processing program and then print as needed.

Every time we got underway, it seemed we forgot something. A simple checklist solved the problem -- download a template and make your own!

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33 Comments
  • Gretchen Hannsz Witzgall on Facebook
    Posted at 08 July 2013 Reply

    Thank you and very timely…I was just discussing w/ Chris how having to stow everything to get going is bogging me down on wanting to pull anchor and go…this should help! Thanks!

  • James Giard
    Posted at 11 July 2013 Reply

    I can see the need for a list like what you made up. For the most part if one has been doing this for a while the check list is in your mind and you check each item mentally before you leave the slip or mooring. I have a 26′ cabin cruiser tied at a marina slip.As I secured items in the lower cabin bring up the right amount of preservers one for each person that is going out on the boat. Do a final inspections of all systems and turn on bilge blower and finally turn start the engine.What has happen to me twice and it was very embarrassing between the time that I started mental check off list to undoing the ropes from the dock cleats someone would ask a question about my method of leaving the slip and or what they could do to help. and I will forget 1 very important thing, or thought I all ready took care of It….was to undo the shore power cord from the boat. I would have powered the boat 2 to 4 feet down the slip and someone on another dock boat would point out the shore power cord was still attach to the boat. I would stop the boat and unhook the shore power cord from the boat and thank the person for pointing it out and be on our way.I am sure the marina owner would not have been very impress if I pull the electrical tower off the dock and into the water.

    After the last time it happen when I got home I went to the West Marine Web site and copied & pasted two pictures of 50′ yellow shore power cords and enlarge them to fill out one page and my wife brought it to an UPS store and had them laminated. I than place laminated picture on top of the cockpit gages and would not remove it until I had the shore power cord unplug from the boat at the electrical tower storage hook on the dock if it was a day trip, or unplug from the tower and all the cord brought on the boat if an overnight trip to another marina. I never had another incident like that again.

  • Kerri
    Posted at 05 August 2013 Reply

    We have friends who laminated their list so that they can use a whiteboard marker then rub it off for next time. But whatever works!

  • Mili Cook
    Posted at 03 May 2014 Reply

    Wait! You’re gonna love catamaran life. You may be able to chuck the list overboard. 😉

  • Peter Shomers
    Posted at 03 May 2014 Reply

    Ted has got his own lists I’m sure

  • Carla Adwell Webb
    Posted at 04 May 2014 Reply

    Wild I had just asked on WWS if anyone had started one and yes as cat owners many of these apply. Thanks for getting me started!

  • Mili Cook
    Posted at 04 May 2014 Reply

    Lol, I woke up at 0400, thinking, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say…let’s change it to “your list may get a lot shorter”.

  • Paula Spence, M/Y Sea Eagle
    Posted at 26 August 2014 Reply

    We keep our “Moving the Boat” checklist in our smartphone. Works very well for us.

  • Kathy Belanger-Barber
    Posted at 15 March 2015 Reply

    We institute a 20 minute rule everything is stow able in 20 minutes it helps us stay organized

  • Sherri Brenner
    Posted at 15 March 2015 Reply

    We use checklists also. We have one for setting off, leaving the boat (used when we are leaving for an extended time), guest crew orientation, and heavy weather.

  • SV Matilda
    Posted at 15 March 2015 Reply

    Nice to see the wine glass safety is first on the list!

  • Skylar Walker
    Posted at 16 March 2015 Reply

    Cool, thank you!

  • Skylar Walker
    Posted at 16 March 2015 Reply

    Cool, thank you!

  • Jan Bogart
    Posted at 01 March 2016 Reply

    Reggie Botkin…….wheel!!

  • Beth Hipp Tyler
    Posted at 01 March 2016 Reply

    Not bringing in the swim leader gets us a lot

  • Terry Michael
    Posted at 01 March 2016 Reply

    I guess I don’t have the right kind of boat.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 01 March 2016 Reply

      Any boat is the right boat!

    • Terry Michael
      Posted at 01 March 2016 Reply

      Well mine doesn’t have wine glasses or rugs. However we are pontooning!!!

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 01 March 2016 Reply

      Nothing wrong with that — I grew up with one! And the good news is that your list is probably a lot shorter!

    • Terry Michael
      Posted at 01 March 2016 Reply

      A lot shorter.

  • Joysealife.com
    Posted at 02 March 2016 Reply

    Auto pilot not on. First time we used our boat was after we had been out on the ocean trial right after we bought it, and the auto pilot was left on. My husband had no idea why he couldn’t control the boat. What a nightmare! We were lucky to get some help to get it back in the slip.

  • Donna Cantwell
    Posted at 02 March 2016 Reply

    Rich

  • Connie McMartin
    Posted at 02 March 2016 Reply

    Wow, thank you for this! Looks very helpful.

  • Shirley Russell
    Posted at 02 March 2016 Reply

    Drain Plug

  • Cindy Williams Lowrie
    Posted at 02 March 2016 Reply

    Agreed….always something will slide or fall out….will make one!!

  • Roger Danley
    Posted at 25 December 2016 Reply

    I’m writing procedures for everything I can thin of we need to know, but hadn’t made any checklists. Great idea! Thanks so much.

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