Sailboat Charter Checkout

Chartering A SailboatFor a lot of us, chartering a sailboat is the best way to go out and get our sailing fix and prove to ourselves we are competent sailors. Whether you are going to go sail the BVI or the Channel Islands, getting on a boat that you don’t have the full mechanical history for and may not be as familiar with all the systems may be intimidating. Especially if you are going to live aboard for any long period of time. One way to ease that is to develop a checklist that ensures you check all the important thing before you accept the boat for charter. Here is an overview of the very detailed checklist that we have for our charters. Some of these things may not apply to a day-sail. Most of this list represents things that you would check for and reasonably expect to be on the boat. There are a few gray areas here and this list is not all-inclusive. I would encourage you to use this as a starting point for your own list!

Saftey and Legal Requirements

  • Enough PFDs (Type and Size)
  • Flares (check expiration)
  • Fire Extinguishers (check level)
  • Boat Documentation
  • First Aid Kit
  • VHF Radio
  • Emergency Tiller
  • Float Plan
  • Chart and Tools


  • Sail Condition
  • Operation of any Furling Mechanisms
  • Running/Standing Rigging Condition
  • Dry Bilge
  • Electric Bilge Pump Operation
  • Manual Bilge Pump Handle?
  • Winch Handles
  • Boat Hook
  • Windlass Operation & Condition of Ground Tackle
  • Head Operation and Y-Valve Positions
  • Black water tank empty
  • Toilet Paper
  • Spares and Tools


  • Coolant level
  • Oil Level
  • No missing Bolts/Nuts
  • Belt Tension and Condition
  • Spare Oil/Coolant
  • Diesel Level
  • Any leaks while operating?


  • Operation of Battery Switches
  • Condition of Batteries
  • Operation of Electrical Panel
  • Battery Charging Procedure
  • Shore Power Cord
  • All Navigation Lights
  • Interior Lighting


  • LPG Tank Location and Levels
  • LPG Safety Switches
  • Operation of Stove/Oven
  • Adequate Cookware
  • Adequate Dinnerware
  • Towels
  • Garbage bags
  • Water Tank Full


  • Condition and Inflation
  • Engine (check it starts)
  • Fuel Tank and Spare Fuel (and Oil if 2 Stroke)
  • Bowline

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