What to check when taking over a boat?

What to check when taking over a boat?

If you want your voyage to go without a hitch, taking over the boat before departure is one of the most important tasks. Why? Because boats have no always been prepared as they should be. Unfortunately, this means it is entirely up to us, the captains and the crew, to fully inspect the boat and find out what needs to be repaired/replenished or replaced before leaving the charter company. And often there is no shortage of issues that need to be sorted out before departure. Taking over the boat, or check-in, is also vital to prevent the charter company asking you to pay for scratches or damages caused by the previous crews.  


If you had to check absolutely everything, you’d probably never manage to set sail, so it is best to focus on key items and equipment that you would definitely miss or are crucial to sailing. 


After several voyages as captain, most will have established their own procedure for taking over a boat. Whereas no single procedure is absolutely perfect, we are going to share the procedure proposed by our very own captain Petr Bartoš. 


Check-in can be divided into 2 main parts - external and internal inspection. Before you start check-in, turn on all the switches on the dashboard in the saloon (the ones that make sense to do so and won’t trigger unwanted operations, such as running the pump idle, etc.). 

Checking the outside 

1) Hull and deck 

After turning on the switches, continue with a visual inspection of the deck, sides, stern and bow. Take a smartphone or camera with you and go around the entire outside of the boat, taking photos of any visible scratches (if you do not have a brand new boat, there will always be damage). Take a closer look at the edges of the boat at the stern and sides (these are prone to impact/abrasion from jetties due to insufficient use of fenders), the bow (charters look at bows a lot because they are relatively expensive to replace) and the bow area near the anchor (the bow can get damaged by the anchor).

2) Engine - running and shifting 

Start the engine. Make sure it starts up without any problems. Shift to forward, try to accelerate, shift to neutral, shift to reverse and try accelerating again. Shifting gears should be smooth and you should always feel the transition between neutral, forward and reverse. Check that you can rev the engine in neutral to charge the batteries and make sure the engine is cooling down (the engine blows water from the exhaust).

3) Anchor and anchor windlass 

Leave the engine running and check the bow anchor. Check the connection of the anchor to the chain, the anchor itself and its placement in the mount (check the condition of the anchor, whether it is correctly mounted, the condition of the anchor mount and whether the end of the chain is securely attached to the anchor). Check the anchor controls and try lowering and raising the anchor.


4) Rigging (sails, lines and other sailing items) 

Weather permitting, hoist the sails one at a time. If the conditions don’t allow it, agree with the charter company that you will check the sails when they are first hoisted and if damaged, you’ll return to the marina. Or if the damage is minor and doesn’t impede sailing, you’ll provide photos (here it is up to the individual charter company to decide). If the sails are damaged, insist on their repair or replacement. 


Check the lines (if they are frayed, insist they are replaced), winches (whether they are damaged and whether they operate smoothly), stoppers (whether they open/close well, whether they properly hold the lines), the boom mast attachment (whether there is a missing bolt nut or cotter pin). Visually inspect the mast, boom, side vents and the fore and aft shrouds for damage. 


5) Onboard equipment 

Check the instruments on board: the marine plotter, depth indicating instruments (check whether depth is measured from the waterline or from the bottom of the keel), wind direction and speed, and autopilot data. Check the lifebuoy and rescue light buoy (that everything is properly packed, that the line is properly attached to the buoy and boat, that the light turns on when lowered). Find out where the life raft is located (mandatory boat equipment for navigation in the area B - 200 NM from the coast). Check the onboard lights (position lights, engine light, stern light, deck light shining from the mast to the front of the deck).

6) Rudder and autopilot 

Check the operation of the steering wheel(s) and check the autopilot controls the rudders (try setting 10° to the right and left, and check the rudders rotate). Perform a visual inspection of the rudder blade(s), if you can see them from the jetty.

7) Outboard engine

If you are renting an outboard engine, check that it is firmly attached to the railing and that there is a kill cord. Test it briefly on the mount by starting it, giving it some throttle and killing it.

8) Dinghy

Check that the dinghy is not damaged and that it is sufficiently inflated (no air leaks). If it is not inflated enough, try to inflate it and watch for leaks.


9) Cockpit lockers 

Check the equipment in the cockpit lockers, including the storage space under the cockpit/rudder floors. In the storage compartments you should find a reserve tiller, reserve anchor, lines - especially a long anchor line (approx. 50m) for mooring to the shore, a lever for the hand bilge pump (often attached to the bottom of the locker lid), a bucket, a scrubbing brush, water hose, paddles, a pump for the boat (try out the pump!), and a life raft.

10) Gas cylinders 

Check the condition of the gas cylinders (whether they are full - try to weigh the cylinders in your hand, check the hose is not worn and that the valve works - turn on the valve and then test the stove and oven).

Checking the inside 

1) Cooking

Switch on the gas to the stove (usually you need to turn on the gas cylinder valve first and then under the stove/near the stove). Using a lighter or matches to light the flame. Gradually test that all hobs and ovens work. Check the galley cooking equipment.

2) Refrigerator 

Check that the refrigerator is cooling and that the temperature can be regulated (if the fridge has the option). It is said that during summer, the refrigerator is the second most important thing on the boat after the engine.

3) Safety equipment 

Check the number, location and condition of life jackets and harnesses. If you are sailing with children, check that there are enough children's lifejackets or whether they can use universal life jackets designed for adults, and check the lifejackets are large enough for the heavier crew members. The number of lifejackets on board should be the same as the capacity of the boat (one spare lifejacket may be needed). There is not usually enough harnesses on board for the entire crew (depending on the type and difficulty of the voyage, harnesses may be required for the entire crew). 


Find out about the location of fire extinguishers, fire axes and stay/shroud cutters. Check the signal equipment - flares and day shapes (cone and sphere). Find out where the first aid kit is and check its contents. Find out where the bosun’s chair is (if it isn’t is not on the boat, request it). 

4) Navigation equipment 

Check the navigation equipment - maps, navigation aids (compass/dividers, ruler, pencil, eraser), pilot/guide for the area.


5) Toilets 

Check that the toilets flush properly and that there is no water leakage around the toilet. Find out if there is a fecal tank on board and where the cock is to drain it.

6) Water and tanks 

Make sure that water flows and drains well everywhere in sinks and showers. Find out where to turn off water and waste pipes. Ask about the location of the water tanks. How and where to switch water tanks (if there are multiple water tanks on the boat). Find out where the tank filler is. Ask if the tanks have been topped up (topping them up can help you determine if they are full).  

7) VHF a ostatní elektrické vybavení

Zkontrolujte funkčnost vysílačky – zapnutí/vypnutí, ladění kanálů/ zkouška funkce squelch. Zkontrolujte funkčnost wifi na palubě (pokud ji máte zaplacenou). Zkontrolujte funkčnost zásuvek. Zkontrolujte ukazatele paliva a vody a jejich stav. Zkontrolujte lodní vypínače – zda fungují, zda drží v polohách zapnuto/vypnuto. Informujte se na vypínače, u kterých nevíte jejich funkci. Informujte se na umístění hlavních jističů - vypínačů baterií, kotevního vrátku a hlavního vypínače elektrického proudu na lodi. Zkontrolujte světla uvnitř lodi.


8) Lodní dokumenty 

Mezi lodní dokumenty patří osvědčení o technické způsobilosti, povolení k plavbě v dané oblasti, seznam členů posádky neboli crew list, pojištění lodi, (koncesní listina). Vyžadujte od charterové společnosti kontakt na člověka, kterého budete kontaktovat v případě problémů.

9) Motor

Otevřete motorový prostor (nejčastěji jej naleznete pod schody do salonu). Zkontrolujte, zda nedochází k úniku oleje – zda z motoru něco neteče a prostor pod motorem je suchý a čistý, můžete také zkontrolovat stav oleje a chladící kapaliny (měrky/nádobky podobné jako v autě), napnutí klínových řemenů, pokud nejsou zakryty pod víkem (všechny zmíněné kontroly kapalin, stavu motoru a části motoru by ale měly být provedeny technikem charterové společnosti). Zjistěte umístění plnícího otvoru nádrže na naftu. Ptejte se, zda je nafta doplněna a zkontrolujte palivoměr (bohužel nelze věřit často ani charterové společnosti, ani palivoměru). Pokud chcete mít jistotu, že je nádrž na naftu plná, zajeďte co nejdříve k benzínce a dočerpejte naftu (jedině tak budete mít jistotu).  


10) Nářadí a náhradní díly

Informujte se, kde je umístěno nářadí a náhradní díly k motoru. Zkontrolujte obsah nářadí.

Shrnutí

Venku 

  • Trup lodi – paluba, boky, příď, záď 
  • Motor – řazení, chlazení 
  • Kotvení - kotva, ovládání, vrátek, řetěz 
  • Takeláž - Plachty, lana, vinšny, stopery, ráhno, stěžeň 
  • Palubní vybavení – přístroje, kruh/podkova, ostrůvek, světla 
  • Kormidlo – kolo/pína, list, autopilot 
  • Přívěsný motor – uchycení, zajištění provázkem, start, přidání 
  • Dinghy – nafouklý? 
  • Batysty – obsah batyst a prostorů u kormidel (pína, kotva, lana, páka k bilge pumpě, hadice, pádla a pumpa, záchranný ostrůvek) 
  • Plynové láhve (plnost, ventil, náhradní)


Uvnitř 


  • Vaření – plotýnky, trouba, kuchyňské vybavení 
  • Lednice – chladí 
  • Bezpečnostní vybavení – vesty, harnesy, hasicí přístroje, sekyra, nůžky na vanty/stěhy, lékárna 
  • Navigační vybavení – mapy, navigační pomůcky, pilot pro danou oblast 
  • Záchody – splachují, netečou v okolí 
  • Voda a nádrže – teče voda, dobře odtéká, přepínání nádrží 
  • VHF a ostatní elektrické vybavení – VHF, Wifi, zásuvky, lodní vypínače, hlavní jističe, světla 
  • Lodní dokumenty – osv.tech.způsobilosti, povolení k plavbě, crew list, pojištění lodi, koncesní listina, emergency kontakt 
  • Motor – suchý a čistý, plnící otvor na naftu 
  • Nářadí a náhradní díly – obsah nářadí, jednotlivé díly

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