Before you leave the house... The quick and dirty guide

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Before you leave the house... The quick and dirty guide

In this quick post, we give you some tips & tricks for making sure you are ready to hit the water.

July 5, 2018
Cover image for the post Before you leave the house... The quick and dirty guide

We all know, or soon to know, the struggles of quickly packing up the boat before heading out on a fun-filled day on the water. Here are some of our suggestions on what to do before you leave the house!

Trailer Safety Check

After hooking up the boat to your truck, double check that your safety chain, your boat straps are in place and finally, trailers light harness is properly plugged in and operational (a quick walk around should do the trick). Do a final inspection on tire pressure, just to be safe.

Licenses and Registration

Make sure you have your boat bag loaded with all your proper boat registration and licenses, if needed. It just makes life easier when you have all of your documents in one place.

Drain Plugs

The fastest way to find yourself in a pickle at the boat landing is to realize you forgot your plug at home. Before you leave the driveway, let’s make it a habit to check that the plug is secure.

Life Jackets

Safety first! Always make sure you have the correct USCC approved type, size and number of life jackets for your party. Nothing can end your day faster than meeting friends at the boat landing only to realize you don’t have enough life jackets in the boat.


What’s a day on the water without a couple of cold drinks in the cooler? *Pro Tip: Ice down the cooler the night before to bring the core temperature of the box down. This will allow the ice to last longer and keep your solids away so that you don’t eat soggy sandwiches all day.


This is an easy one. Just fill it up! Better safe than sorry. The old “Rule of Thirds” will work. Calculate the amount of fuel needed to get to a destination and make sure that amount equals no more than one-third of your tank’s capacity. Reserve another third for your ride home and the remaining third is for any unplanned circumstances (bad weather).

Boat shoes

A good pair of boat shoes can help out in slippery situations. When you’re on the bow throwing the anchor it’s always good to make sure you have a solid footing.


Always a hot summer day necessity. Just make sure you spray the sunscreen down wind and keep off any upholstery. The chemical compounds in the sunscreen can cause damage to the upholstered material.


For a comfortable day on the water you want to make sure you have a quality pair of polarized sunglasses. These sunglasses will cut the glare off the water which will help you see better on those long summer days.


The proper size anchor is a must have for a boat. You’ll want to make sure you have the appropriate amount of chain and rope for your area. Typically, a 3ft anchor chain should be a sufficient amount of chain to keep the anchor tight to the bottom so it will set.

Bow Lines

You can never have too many. Make sure you have the right lines for your boat size. A good rule of thumb is to have a rope for each cleat.

Here at Sportsman Boats believe that safe boating is the right kind of boating. The best way to be a safe boater is to be prepared and ready with a great checklist. Boat U.S. Foundation has a great official downloadable boating checklist. These checklists can be great tools to use as you are loading up.

Boating Equipment Checklist (PDF)

Boating Departure Checklist (PDF)

Island Series discontinued