Your Captain’s Checklist for Departing a Dock on Auxiliary Sailing Vessels

saling checklist, Your Captain’s Checklist for Departing a Dock on Auxiliary Sailing Vessels

A pre-sail checklist can make you feel more confident and comfortable to begin the day of boating. Getting into a routine for consecutive days as well as stand-alone trips is crucial to your ability to address problems as they arise.

Here’s a quickie checklist for getting underway on an auxiliary engine sailboat.

I did publish a more in-depth Pre-Sail Checklist for Sailing, however, it has an explanation for each item. Once a sailor is familiar with the descriptions; all they really need is the list. So, here goes! Please comment below if there’s something crucial you would like to see included!


  • Anchor windlass and locker check
  • Roller furling set to free (right) or main halyard attached


  • Electrical panel settings
  • Bilge visual and mechanical checks
  • Batteries – engine battery “on”
  • Instruments “on”
  • Navigation lights on if needed
  • Radios on Channel 16, radio check
  • Towing service phone number
  • Registration and sticker
  • Soft wood plugs
  • PFD’s
  • Signal flares
  • Fire extinguishers
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency tiller
  • Flush toilet


  • Oil 
  • Cooling water
  • Engine visual check
  • Belts
  • Hoses
  • Fluid and debris
  • Stuffing box


  • Covers off companionway and helm
  • Covers off gauges
  • Wheel extended
  • Cushions out
  • Sound producing device in cup holder at helm
  • Flag tied
  • Boathook out
  • Sunscreen
  • Drinking water
  • Hat
  • Winch handles
  • Ignition key
  • Throwable Type IV
  • Stern check for manatees, loose items
  • Power cables and water hoses disconnected
  • Fuel
  • Warm up engine
  • Check transmission

Prepare to Cast Off

  • Roaming fender
  • Wheel unlocked
  • Double back dock lines

Cast Off

  • Wind – check direction, where it will blow you
  • Wheel – set to direction of initial advance
  • People – plan for them to deal with lines and get on the boat
  • Lines – plan for them to get on the boat
  • Traffic – check fore and aft, side to side, including sea life and divers

What to Read Next:

5 Things to Check Before Backing Your Boat Out of a Slip

How to Pick Up a Mooring Ball

The Power of Checklists

Two Powerful Types Of Checklists You Must Use

How To Test A VHF Radio Using Rescue 21- Sea Tow System No Longer Available (Sea Tow’s Automated Radio Check System is no longer available as of October 2, 2020. Previously, it was on VHF Channels 24 and 28 in over 130 locations.)

saling checklist, Your Captain’s Checklist for Departing a Dock on Auxiliary Sailing Vessels

I Don’t Go Anywhere Without:

  • North American Rescue CAT tourniquets.
  • PierShare to rent your dock out or rent a dock.
  • BoatUS for your boat towing insurance! Code: “HEWAF88”
  • Thank you Bill for being the Best Sailing Partner EVER!

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