It’s time to get ship-shape for the summer season! Clean out the bait bin, dust off the fishing gear and blow the cobwebs off the outboard.

Whether you are relatively new to the sea or a seasoned skipper, you need to have a game plan for getting your boat ready. So, let’s look at some pointers so you can be totally prepared for an excellent boating season.

Safety first

Good communications save lives, so make sure your call sign details are up to date. If you do not have one already, you should invest in an emergency beacon, as they are useful in the event you get lost at sea.

Inspect your life jackets to make sure they are in good condition and do not need to be replaced. You may need options for each person that gets on the boat to ensure that it is fit for purpose including size and body weight.

Check that flares and fire extinguishers are present in your boat. Ensure they are charged and placed in their proper location on the boat.

Also, check that you have a bailer, torch, first aid kit, as well as a dry bag with warm clothes, fresh water, a few muesli bars and snacks, and a waterproof sleeve for your mobile phone.


Maintenance check

When was the last time you had your equipment serviced? Just like a car, it’s worth getting regular servicing or at the least a once-over of all equipment on your boat and ensure everything is as should be and within expiry dates.

If the engine hasn’t had the once over for a while, make sure to get in before Christmas and flush out the system. Also remember to check, clean or replace the fuel filters. The last thing you want is an engine failing out on the water.

Check all your lines and ropes, chuck out ratty old rotten lines and replace them with an appropriate alternative. While you’re there, it’s also a great idea to check the anchor. There are many marine service specialists to take care of all of this for you if you’re not confident to do it yourself.

Update your knowledge

NZ Coastguard provides a Day Skipper introductory course, which is useful for all members of the family or crew and focuses on essential boating knowledge and safety know-how. It covers boat handling, safety equipment, navigation, tides, weather, rules and regulations, emergencies, and knots – giving you an overview of the whole boating experience.

You can also look online for any apps that can help your boating experience. There are apps for everything these days and boating is no different, be it for weather, tides, or knots, use this time off the water to download apps that can help your on-water experience.

Get boat insurance

Give yourself some extra peace of mind by ensuring that your boat is insured. Every boat is different, from trailered pleasure craft through to large marina-berthed launches, and each comes with its own unique issues.

Ensure that you have a solid long-term solution in place that covers you and your personal marine craft (including boats, yachts, launches, jet-boats and jet-skis) against loss or damage, and for liabilities, you incur while using that craft. Look for marine insurance experts who will be able to provide a customised solution for you.


If you can lay claim to the above, then you’re doing a good job of getting ready for summer boating.