Tuesday, April 21

Getting Ready for Spring

Part of fitting your boat out for spring is making sure all the required U.S. Coast Guard safety gear is on board. Reconciling USCG requirements with your own state’s regulations makes this a confusing venture. To make it a little easier, we provide a list of web sites that clearly illustrate what safety gear the Coast Guard requires and what your state requires so you can easily comply with both federal and state regulations.

Thursday, April 16

Don't Forget Your Checklist

If you’re just starting out or even a seasoned boater, it seems like you always forget something on that first trip from the boat yard to the harbor. We provide some hard-earned tips and good advice on how to prepare and what to provision on this traditional spring mission.

Below is a checklist to guide you through each phase of preparing the boat for takeoff: Before departure, underway and docking / mooring.
If you have questions, ask around the boat yard during spring fitting out when there’s lots of people around to give their advice.

Kristen Cooper of Chicago was a new boat owner at Crowley’s Yacht Yard last year and she gives this advice: “I'd have to say that, thinking you can maneuver the boat isn't enough. Think things through...what can go wrong? If the boat had run aground, taken on water or weather hit...I definitely wouldn't have been prepared. Know how to deploy your anchor, the location and usage of all safety gear...and how to call for help. Read, read and read some more. Get time on others' boats and gain the confidence to ensure the safety of your boat and your crew.”

If you're not comfortable delivering the boat yourself, hire a captain who is willing to give you some tips while he or she shows you how to safely navigate to the harbor. Customers or employees of the yard should be able to recommend a competent captain who will charge a fair price. Yard employees are often captains themselves.


 Check the weather

 Check and review usage of all safety equipment

 Plot course on chart and in GPS to final destination

 Leave a float plan with friend or relative

 Review Man Overboard Drill procedure

 Discuss equipment on the boat and how it operates

 Discuss getting through bridges (if applicable)

 Provision plenty of sunscreen, life jackets, water and warm clothes


 Monitor time, distance and direction while underway so you can follow your progress on a chart
 Perform Man Overboard Drill (this should be done once annually)
 Practice docking, leaving the dock and tying up to a mooring


 Discuss tying up the boat properly

 Review lessons learned

 Turn battery switch to off before closing up boat

 Secure the boat before leaving it

Wednesday, April 1

USCG Requirements

Photo: Rogan Birnie
While you’re thinking about fitting out your boat for spring, think about safety equipment. It’s never a first priority, but definitely a necessity to keep your boat safe and compliant with U.S. Coast Guard regulations. Crowley’s Yacht Yard offers a handy chart as a quick reference guide to clearly explain the requirements.