A boat on a trailer about to be launched into a lake

Boating Checklist – Launching, Fueling, Trailering Guide & Necessities

Beyond having fun on the water with your boat, there is always a checklist that should be followed before launching, fueling, or trailering your boat before and after your day in the sun. In this article, we will cover the necessary equipment and supplies you will need to have on your boat for launching, fueling, and trailering, along with any spare parts you may need just in case of an emergency.

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Boat Launching Checklist

Before launching your boat, there are important tips and tricks to remember for boating preparation. It is important to follow a proper boat launch checklist before and while launching your boat. Based on whether you are preparing to launch or in the process of doing it, here are a few key items to remember:

Prior to Launching Your Boat

  • Make sure to keep an eye on upcoming weather prior to getting on the boat just incase if there are any unexpected changes.
  • Do last-minute checks on the drain plug to make sure it is properly installed, which is located on the bottom of the boat.
  • It is important to leave the trailer completely connected to your car prior to backing down onto the boat ramp, to prevent any emergencies.
  • Disconnect trailer lights before launching to prevent any electrical issues.
  • Remove any boat tie downs to separate the boat from the trailer.
  • Double check to ensure there is an ample amount of safety equipment aboard, just in case of an emergency.

While Launching Your Boat

  • Make sure to select the “Leeward” side of the ramp, which is where wind will be blowing away from the dock. This will make your launching process smoother.
  • Confirm that all bow and stern lines are tied and secured to the boat for the handler.
  • To make sure your launching went successfully, back the trailer down the ramp until the stern of the boat begins to float on the water.
  • Engage your park brake once your vehicle is placed in park.
  • Rather than swimming to your boat from the launch ramp, board your boat from the dock.
  • For our small boat owners, make sure to release the winch from inside the boat and keep an eye out for the handle to prevent it from spinning out of control.
  • Once the boat is floating on the water, tie and secure its lines to the dock before leaving.
  • For our large boat owners, make sure to have a handler release winch and guide as your boat floats off the trailer.
  • To prevent theft, slowly drive your vehicle, park, and lock both the vehicle and trailer coupler.


Boat Fueling Guide

A gas nozzle placed into the fuel tank of a boat filling up the boat with gasoline

Like fueling your car, you want to make sure your boat gets the right amount and type of fuel that will give it optimal speed for a fun day out on the water. Here are some key tips to incorporate when fueling your boat:

  • Make sure that the engine is off before you begin fueling to prevent any mechanical issues.
  • Make sure all passengers leave the boat while it is fueling, as this would be a good time to grab a snack before boarding.
  • Do not smoke on or near the boat while it is fueling!
  • Just like turning off your engine, shut down all electronics to prevent any mechanical issues.
  • This is important: make sure you are putting fuel into the fuel tank instead of the water tank or rod holder; If you are unsure, ask a handler for help.
  • If your boat is newer, it is better to fuel it slowly so it can power on properly.


Boat Trailering Guide

Two men getting their boat out of the water and onto their boat trailer

Knowing how to properly trailer your boat will help prevent damage, provide safer hauling, and ensure a faster loading process. Boat trailer guides attach to your trailer and help you navigate safely while loading or unloading your boat. Although they are simple tools, it is important to remember these reminders:

  • Covering your boat while trailering is not recommended because any pieces of the cover can cause damage the finish of the boat, damaging the cover in the process.
  • Slowly back your vehicle to the boat trailer so the hitch ball can align with the coupler.
  • When the coupler is connected to the ball, it is critical to make sure the latch is under the ball instead of on top of it; Then, make sure the latch is locked and bolted securely.
  • Make sure to fasten the chains to the vehicle to prevent any loss of control while in motion.
  • Secure all necessary lights to the trailer to ensure all circuits are installed properly.
  • If your trailer has brakes – be sure to connect safety cable to vehicle.
  • Manually crank up the tongue jack to smoothly raise or lower the front of the trailer.
  • Double check the winch is fastened and secured to the trailer.
  • Check the trailer’s tire pressure and condition before you trailer your boat.
  • Double check the trailer lights to make sure all wires are working properly.
  • Ensure that all tie down straps are tight and locked.


Necessary Equipment & Supplies to Have on Your Boat

Safety equipment and flotation devices hanging on the rail of a boat

Whether you are using your boat on the water for fishing, water skiing, or simply cruising, make sure you pack essential boat safety preparation equipment and supplies in case of an emergency.

  • Proper safety gear including PFDs or life jackets, flares, horns, fire extinguishers, EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon), throwable flotation devices, and visual and sound signaling devices.
  • VHF Radio and a cell phone to call for help in case you need to get in touch with emergency response.
  • Binoculars, charts, and maps just in case if your navigation system stops working.
  • Basic boat supplies including flashlights, tool kits, duct tape, and sunscreen.
  • Boat hooks to help with docking and undocking.
  • 2 to 4 Fenders to prevent damage from rubbing or colliding with a dock.
  • Extra dock and anchor lines, hull plugs, and keys if you must replace one.
  • A spare boat tire and bearing set for your trailer.
  • Engine oil to lubricate any moving parts of the boat engine.
  • A boat brush and boat cover to protect it from dirt, leaves, insects, or scratches.
  • A lock for your trailer coupler to make sure your boat is secured when trailered.


Spare Parts to Always Have on Your Boat

As one may know, you never fully expect for when an emergency might happen. Along with the necessary parts you would want to have on your boat, you can never go wrong with these additional spare parts just in case if you ever find yourself needing it.

  • Pre-installed Alternator Belts.
  • Extra spark plugs.
  • Spare engine oil.
  • Gear lubes.
  • Water pump kits.
  • Spare props and hardware.
  • Spare drain plugs.
  • Bearing and hub sets.

Even if you do not use them except a couple of times per year, it is always better to be over prepared, just in case if an emergency were to ever happen.


Sardine Marine is a Premium Supplier of Marine-Grade 316 Stainless Steel Boat Parts

As a leading expert in boat launching and boat safety, Sardine Marine is a go-to provider when it comes to knowing how to properly prepare your boat for use and safely navigate any body of water. Our team is here as a resource for important information, guidelines, and tips for your boat launching, fueling, and trailering needs. As a premium supplier of marine-grade, corrosion, resistant, 316 stainless steel boat parts and supplies, we manufacture our own inventory of premium boats that are guaranteed to have a smooth day on the water, no matter the weather.

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