Chapter 4: Preparing for your Trip Loading Your Boat & Instructing Guests
Once you have completed your Pre-Departure Checklist and are ready to head out, it is time to load your boat and give your guests some instructions to help make the trip safer and more enjoyable.
Loading The Boat
Especially if you own a small, open pleasure craft that has a capacity plate, it is important that you do not overload it. The Capacity Plate will tell you the recommended gross load capacity or the equivalent number of adults that can be safely carried by the vessel.
Make sure that people and gear are positioned so that the weight is evenly distributed throughout the boat.
It is important to keep the load as low as possible to help stabilize the craft.
To avoid having gear moving about the boat, stow it in lockers, or lash it down.
Taking these steps will help ensure you do not impede the operation of the craft and will help reduce the chance of injury.
Instructions To Your Guests
Tell your guests how to embark and disembark. They should step low to the centre of the boat, hold onto the sides of the boat and they shouldn't stand up.
Tell them not to jump from the dock to the boat and not to step on the gunwales.
These instructions are especially important in small open boats.
Once on board, before the engine is started, give your guests a familiarization tour.
- Make sure they know where the lifejackets are located and how to put them on, both on the boat and in the water
- Emphasize the importance of wearing lifejackets at all times as a precaution against drowning
- Tell your guests where the Emergency Kit is located in case it is needed
- If they will be moving about in the boat, make sure they know to keep themselves low, on the centreline and to hold onto something as they move about
- Remind them that falls are the number one cause of injuries on board boats
- Advise them to keep their arms and legsinside the boat...flying debris and water can break arms and legs...when approaching and leaving a dock arms and legs are no match for the power of the moving vessel
- Remind your guests that the motion of the pleasure craft, sunlight, waves, wind, sound and/or alcohol will affect the abilities, balance, co-ordination, reflexes, eyesight, hearing and judgement of both you, as the operator, and them, as guests
- Explain that they may have a role to Loading Your Boat & Instructing Guests play in any emergency situation and that you will require their co-operation if that occurs
- Consider what will happen if you, as the operator, become unable to bring the boat back to the dock...is there someone on board capable of operating the boat
- Advise your passengers not to smoke during engine start-up, fuelling or around hazardous materials like fuel-burning appliances
- Remind them that drinking alcohol is prohibited on board a vessel that is underway...alcohol is only permitted on a boat fitted as a residence with sleeping facilities, a galley and a head and can only be consumed when the boat is secured
- This is the time to explain any additional "house rules" that you may have concerning your boat and its equipment