Motorboat Expert

Independent Yachting Magazine

Checking the boat before the cruise

Checking the motor yacht before sailing

Updated on June 9th, 2024

These general recommendations are relevant only when the motorboat has passed all the necessary technical inspections and regular refit. At the same time, the yacht’s hull and engines are in good working condition.

Life saving equipment

  • The boat must have a life jacket for each crew member and passenger, but at least two life jackets on board.
  • All passengers should know where life jackets are located and how to use them. It is best if passengers learn how to quickly put them on before sailing.
  • Additional rescue equipment, mandatory for large yachts, must be available and fully functional.

Acoustic signaling devices

  • Check for whistles on life jackets.
  • The stationary signal must be working.
  • When using a portable pneumatic horn, it is necessary to have a spare cylinder.

Navigation lights, lighting and daytime signals

  • Check the operation of all navigation and parking lights, as well as the presence of spare bulbs or LEDs.
  • On board must be at least one powerful waterproof flashlight with an additional set of batteries in a sealed package.
  • When planning scuba diving, it is necessary to have additional day and possibly night signals in accordance with international rules.

Distress signals

  • Sets of signaling devices and flares have their own expiration date, so check it. And they must be stored in a dry and easily accessible place.
  • Each team member should be able to use them.

Radio communication

  • Check the operation of the main on-board radio and crew personal radios.

Tools, spare parts, first aid kit

  • Make sure you have a minimum set of tools sufficient for most repairs on your boat.
  • A set of spare parts and consumables for the engine and sailing equipment must also be on board.
  • The standard first aid kit should be supplemented with additional medicines if necessary.

Fuel and oil

  • Don’t forget to fully fill the diesel tank, and also take a portable jerrycan just in case.
  • Check the engine oil level and the level of contamination of all fuel and oil filters.

Fire extinguishers

  • At least one serviceable fire extinguisher must be on the yacht, capable of extinguishing live wiring and fuel.
  • All crew members must be able to use fire extinguishing equipment and know where they are.


  • The ventilation of the engine compartment must be in good working order.
  • Check carbon monoxide sensors.


  • Make sure the holds are dry and the pumps are working.
  • Check engine compartments for fuel leaks and water ingress.

Onboard electrical network

  • Make sure the batteries are charged and the battery switches are in the correct position.
  • Charge the batteries of all wearable electronics.
  • Check the operation of all electrical systems.

Fresh water

  • Check the operation of the watermaker and take a full supply of drinking water in case it fails.

Emergency beacons

  • Check if the EPIRB is working and if all crew members know where it is.
  • If individual beacons are available, explain to the crew and passengers how to use them.


  • Check that you have all the necessary yacht and personal documents.
  • Take manuals for the repair of the most important equipment and paper maps of the proposed sailing area.
  • Check the condition of the logbook and if necessary start a new one.