Arriving, Working & Departing

Did you remember to open the raw water through-hull before starting the engine?
Did you turn off the AC circuit breakers or the propane before departing?
Maybe YOU should use checklist!

Here's what other's look for when entering, working or departing their boats.
Add YOUR peculiar item's, print a copy and take it with you the next time you go to the boat.
A CHECKLIST might save you time, work AND money.

Steven, Alleron, #...

On Alleron, I keep a "visitors pass" with a neatly typed up message in it:  "Raw water intake is off. Do not start engine".  As you can tell, I live in fear of forgetting to turn on the seacock and frying the engine.  I like the visitors pass badge because I can clip it right on the ignition key -  I sleep lots better since I started doing that.

Allen Hilburn, KAHOLEE, #158



Before I had the check list, I'd always be down the road somewhere, and start wondering if I'd really shut the fuel off, or closed that through hull.  It's worth the peace of mind alone.  It's actually fairly simple, designed as a final check before leaving.  Keep in mind though, it is specifically designed for KAHOLEE.

_____   All ports closed and secure
_____   Forward hatch closed and locked
_____   All through hulls closed
_____   Remove and secure shift lever
_____   Remove and secure snatch blocks
_____   Turn radio off and remove antenna lead
_____   GPS off and secured
_____   All power off at the box
_____   Bilge pump to auto, verify operation
_____   Toilet pumped out, blue chemical added
_____   Battery switch to both (see note)
_____   Fuel valve closed


NOTE:  The battery switch is set to "Both" to charge both of KAHOLEE's batteries from her solar panel.

Dave Harwood, Blue Flounder, #155

I liked Allen Hilburn's laminated checklist.  Here's another wrinkle:  if you have a text program such as msWord with adjustable (TrueType) fonts and a printer that supports the associated graphics output, you can increase the type size (and make it bold!) so that the text fills an 8&1/2 x 11 sheet.  This will be easier to read under low light conditions than standard typewriter-size print.

One item on Allen's list I have to question: "Battery switch to both".  Everything I've read about multiple battery banks suggests that while it's OK to charge the banks in parallel, they should be used in parallel only when neither one is strong enough for the required task (such as starting the engine) and NEVER left in parallel ("both") for extended periods.  The reason given is that (unless they are of the exact same type, were bought at the same time, placed in service at the same time and were ALWAYS used in parallel so that both received EXACTLY the same wear) one will be weaker (not able to hold as high a charge level) than the other and the stronger one will discharge into the weaker one.  As the weaker one continues (for whatever reason) to lose charge, it drags the stronger one down.  Much better to leave the bilge pump connected to whichever battery you feel is stronger.

There is also a piece of equipment available (I've seen them at West Marine) called a battery combiner which prevents parallel discharge but allows current to be drawn from both when the demand warrants it.