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Top 10 Spring Personal Sailing Checklist

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By Buttons Padin

McMichael Yacht Yards & Brokers can get your boat ready for the upcoming summer season. However, how do you get yourself ready to be on the water? Whether you’re sailing or powering, there are things you should start doing so you’re set for a summer of enjoyable and safe boating. Here are just a few:

1. Get out your charts and give them a good review.

Paper or digital, there may be new places you may want to visit this summer...and where are the rocks? Spend some time just messing around with the area’s charts. Pro tip: even if you have a digital navigation system, ALWAYS have paper charts tucked away onboard somewhere. If your system’s digital wheels should fall off, you’ll have your paper charts and a compass to fall back on.

2. Sailors – reread the Racing Rules of Sailing. Then, read them again.

You can’t be too familiar with the rules. And, if you can find a Rules Seminar to attend, make plans and do so.

3. Check out your personal sailing gear and clothes.

Are your boat shoes worn out, have the soles dried out and in need of replacement? Does your foul weather gear leak (or worse, smell)? How about hats to protect you from the sun? Ball cap, bucket hat, straw sombrero! Pro tip: use a chin strap or hat clip so your favorite lid doesn’t end up in the water.

4. Test your personal safety gear.

Inflatable PFDs should be checked annually and repacked. Are their charging canisters still good? Do you have a whistle, and even better, personal EPIRBs attached to each?

5. Sharpen the blades on your boating knives.

There’s always something to be cut on boats and a dull knife is a dangerous one. Check your Leatherman or sheath knife. Especially if they are stainless blades, as they tend to dull sooner than you may think.

6. Restock your sunscreen.

SPF creams and sprays don’t last forever, and you may not be able to get one more squeeze out of that tube. Stock up now and think about getting more than less so you never run out.

7. Make reservations now!

Planning a cruise or racing in an away regatta? Make your hotel reservations now so you can stay where you want to.

8. Start figuring out guests and crew lists.

Today, everyone’s schedules get filled-up quickly. If you want to have someone sail with you or join you on a cruise – even just for a weekend – get on those people’s calendars now.

9. If you’re planning to visit other harbors or clubs, and you belong to a club yourself, check to see if there is reciprocity between the two clubs.

Sometimes you’ll need your GM to send a letter of introduction to the visited club. Better to do that sooner than later.

10. Finally, dream a little.

What was the one piece of gear you would have loved last year? New binoculars? A new fishing rig? Perhaps it’s a new chart plotter. It’s still early enough to do the research to select and then order that one thing that can make this summer more satisfying than last year.

There are lots of other things you can do for yourself, like dusting off your Peloton and get into better physical shape. Whatever you decide, now is the time to get ready for summer on the water.

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