Pre-Departure Safety Checklist

No two boating trips are the same, so treat each and every one of them seriously and always take some basic precautions before setting out. Remember, not all boaters or passengers have the same experience or comfort level. With the many variables encountered on the water, it’s easy for accidents to happen if precautions are overlooked. One of the best ways to be prepared is to use a pre-departure checklist before each trip, which you can print out, laminate, and keep on your pontoon or save to your phone for convenient access. A pre-departure checklist is easy to review and ensures that you are not caught unprepared. It is also a great way to keep new passengers informed and comfortable.

Click here to download a PDF of the Pre-Departure Safety Checklist.

Life Jackets

  • Always follow Coast Guard regulations, along with local and regional waterway laws
  • Have at least one Coast Guard-approved life jacket per passenger and a minimum of two on board.
  • An additional throwable device is required if the vessel is more than 16 feet long.
  • Explain the location and use of all life jackets to passengers and crew that may be new to the vessel.

Sounding Devices

  • Have a horn capable of producing a four-second blast audible for at least 1/2 mile on board.
  • If you use a portable air horn, have a spare can of air or an alternate device.
  • Attach a whistle to each life jacket.


  • Have all navigation lights as required for your boat.
  • Make sure all instrument lights are working.
  • Have aboard a flashlight and spare batteries.

Distress Signals

  • Make flares and day signals accessible and ensure they are stored in a dry location.
  • Inform the crew and passengers of their location and safety rules for proper usage.

Tools & Spares

  • Carry an essential toolbox with tools appropriate for your boat.
  • Carry a box of spares including fuel filters and fuses.
  • Check to ensure you have a standard first-aid kit onboard

Fuel & Oil

  • Top off your fuel tanks.
  • If you can’t, have enough fuel to provide a reasonable margin of safety for your return.
  • Check the engine oil and coolant levels.

UFlex Hydraulic Steering

  • Check the hydraulic hose before running by turning the motor left and right. Check the hose coming out from back of outboard to see if it’s crimped or if fluid is leaking. You may need to tighten the UFlex cylinder fitting on the back of the outboard if you see a slight leak.  

Fire Extinguishers

  • Carry at least one fire extinguisher and make sure it is accessible. Make sure you have at least the number required by Coast Guard rules.
  • Check to be sure the mounts are secure and functional before departure.
  • Take the time to point out locations to passengers and crew.

Bilge Pump

  • This only applies if you have a Veranda tritoon with center toon in-floor storage. Check to be sure the area is reasonably dry and pumps are not running excessively.

Weather Forecast

  • Always check the weather forecast before boating.
  • Have a radio or cell phone on board to receive weather updates.

Battery Care

  • If you have a dual charging system, make sure the selector switch is in the proper position (ON when running, OFF when not using).
  • Make sure the power is on to the entire vessel.
  • Have aboard spare batteries for accessories such as your handheld radio, flashlight, and portable navigational aid.
  • If the batteries are rechargeable, make sure they’re charged.

Docking & Anchoring Rules

  • Have at least one anchor tied to your anchor line.
  • Carry two or three extra dock lines if you encounter unusual dockside conditions.
  • Visually inspect the lines you use for chafe or wear.
  • Carry at least two bumpers on board for docking or towing if required.

Rules & Documentation

  • Bring any required documentation such as title, insurance, and fishing license
  • Bring charts for the area you intend to cruise as a backup to your Simrad

For additional information please look inside the Basic Boating and Safety Manual, included in your Veranda dry bag, reach out to your nearest authorized Veranda dealer or visit