The 10 points to check before setting sail

Make sure you're ready before you cast off

Here's a checklist, a list of things to check before casting off. Whether it's for a long offshore trip or for a day trip, it is important to validate these 10 points so that the navigation goes smoothly.

  1. Communication equipment

    Communication equipment must be in good working order. Starting with the VHF which must transmit and receive. To check this, you can call a land station (semaphore) on channel 16 "for a radio test". It must answer you.
    Also remember to charge your mobile phone batteries. Smartphones can help you in tricky situations, provided you have battery power... You can also create a list of useful numbers (CROSS, gendarmerie...) that will be fixed in an accessible area of the boat.
    Check-list avant de prendre la mer
    Checklist before setting sail
  2. The engine(s)

    Before starting, the levels must be checked: fuel, oil, cooling... In any case, the engine must start as soon as the first load is applied, even on a sailboat where it is considered as auxiliary propulsion.
  3. Navigation lights

    Maybe you're not planning on sailing at night. But the lights must still be operational. And often, it's when you don't use them often that they oxidize and let you down.
  4. Life jackets

    Legally you must have one life jacket for each person on board. The lifejackets must be adapted to each person's build. Think of the children... If they are inflatable lifejackets, we will make sure that the cartridges and pellets are operational.
    Check-list avant de prendre la mer
    Checklist before setting sail
  5. All safety equipment

    The buoy must be in position with its reversing light in good condition, the flares must be accessible and valid, the headlamps must have batteries in good condition..
    Check-list avant de prendre la mer
    Checklist before setting sail
  6. Fire extinguishers

    Fire extinguishers must be stationed near the risk areas (engine, kitchen...). They must be checked. Remember to look at the way they work to react quickly in case of fire.
  7. The anchorage

    If there's one important safety equipment, it's anchoring. The anchor must be in position ready to be anchored with its chain and cable. Check that the end of the anchor is properly struck at the anchor ring.
    Check-list avant de prendre la mer
    Checklist before setting sail
  8. Administrative documents

    All important documents must be on board before setting sail. We think of the act of francization, but also the insurance or the different permits (navigation, radiocommunication...).
    Check-list avant de prendre la mer
    Checklist before setting sail
  9. Bunkering and water

    Never go out to sea without a minimum to survive. Always remember to take drinking water. You know when you're leaving, but damage can prolong the trip.
  10. Prepare for navigation

    Prepare your navigation. Take the weather forecast, check the tides, study the chart, the harbour exit... In the rush of departure, when you have to manage the manoeuvre and the crew, it will be too late to look at the chart..
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