Cruisers need a daily checklist. Especially when you’re just starting out.
Life on land, in many ways, is pretty simple: power and water are basically unlimited, the toilet rarely overflows, and you’re used to checking the gas as you get into the car.
Boats, particularly at anchor, encompass self-contained systems. And you have to check on things daily to make sure everything is working as expected. With time, knowing the status of all the systems is almost automatic. But initially?? It’s hard to remember what you need to keep an eye on.
Hence the Daily Checklist.
Suggested Daily Checklist
- Bilge. Is water collecting in the bilge? Or any sign of fuel or oil?
- Batteries. If you have a battery monitor, how many amp-hours are you down (morning and evening)? If not, what’s the voltage? If voltage goes below 12.0, you need to charge!
- Water. How much water do you have? When will you need to get more?
- Head: if it’s a holding tank, how full? If a composting toilet, do you need to empty the urine container? With time, you’ll know how long you can generally go with either . . . but a daily check isn’t a bad idea!
- Anchor light: is it working? Check both when you turn it on at night and off in the morning – assuming you’re not at a dock.
- Line condition: dock lines, mooring lines, or snubber lines. Any problems? Is the chafe gear in the proper places?
- Dinghy: what’s the fuel level? If it’s an inflatable, do you need to pump it up? If you add air more than once every three days, start looking for the leak – if less often, the leak will be very hard to find. Was there rain recently? Then do you need to bail it out?
Hopefully this helps you start your daily checklist. In a short time it will be second nature.