Print the page
-A +A

Preparing for Your Trip


Before setting out you should

  • check the weather forecast and stay ashore if warnings are current or the weather appears doubtful. Consult the Bureau of Meteorology on
  • check that a responsible person knows
    • the description of your boat
    • the number of passengers
    • where you are going
    • your expected time of return or arrival
  • check your boat to make sure it is seaworthy and drain plugs are tightly inserted.
  • check the motor is running properly. Do not set out until any engine trouble has been fixed. The engine might clear itself, but the chances are problems will only get worse.
  • check that all the required safety equipment is
    • on board
    • in good condition
    • within easy reach

In an emergency these essential items will drastically increase your chances of survival.

  • check that you have enough fuel for the return trip plus a margin of at least 50%. It may be calm when you set out but if you return into a head wind or sea, your fuel consumption could double.
  • check fuel lines and connections for leaks. Wipe up any petrol spilt during fuelling and make sure there are no fumes before starting the engine.


Going ahead

  • Load the boat within its design limitations and allow for rough conditions. Distribute the load evenly and keep it as low as possible to reduce the boat's centre of gravity.
  • Step aboard as near to the centreline of the boat as possible and hold on to something. Never jump into a boat or pause with one foot on the boat and other ashore.
  • Do not let anyone sit on the bow, especially children. They could easily lose their balance, fall overboard and be seriously injured or killed by the propeller.
  • Avoid standing up in a small boat. If you have to change places with someone, carefully move around opposite sides of the boat so that balance is maintained.

    While underway

  • Maintain a good lookout and continually assess the relative position, speed and direction of other vessels in the vicinity
  • Make sure you know all the navigation rules and take action in plenty of time to avoid a collision. Keep clear of larger vessels that cannot manoeuvre as quickly as you
  • Travel at a safe speed, particularly when visibility is reduced by sun glare, fog or rain and during the hours of drakness. Remember your boat has no brakes
  • Keep a cosntant watch on the weather, and if conditions start to deteriorate make sure that everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket. It is very difficult to put on a lifejacket in rough conditions or while treading water.
  • Don't throw your rubbish over the side - stow it and take it home
  • Don't mix alcohol and boating


Acknowledgement: Preparing for Your Trip Source - Government of South Australia, Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure