Checklist for Leaving the Dock

One of the hardest things for whatever reason, even for relatively experienced cruisers, is to LEAVE the dock, even just for a week’s shakedown cruise.  It’s comfortable here in the marina, we have friends, there’s a great happy hour at the deck bar, we don’t have to worry about the boat dragging, weather changing unexpectedly, about what to do with all the trash, about getting a hot shower with great water pressure.  We could even choose to go to the pool for the afternoon, up to happy hour or have dinner on the deck overlooking the marina.  On the other hand, it’s our experience that we never really experience the cruising life until leaving the dock.

Yesterday we planned on leaving as soon as the tide would let us out of the marina.  But then the strong northerly component wind kept blowing all the water out of the marina insuring there was not enough water for us to leave.  So we stayed here, took a nice long walk, chatted with friends, relaxed and did nothing after the boat chores getting the boat prepared to leave…

So …  Maybe tomorrow?  If there’s no new posts on this website for a bit … it’s because we’ve gone sailing & haven’t yet figured out how to do posts via Sailmail or Winlink e-mail.  Sorry, priorities are to go sailing!   🙂

We find we usually forget something we should have done before leaving the dock so we developed a checklist.  Of course, last year we ignored our checklist and didn’t check our reefing lines and, of course, needed them the first time.  If you’d like to develop your own Leave the Dock Checklist, here’s a copy of ours to get you started.

Download the free Checklist to Leave the Dock here.

Keep in mind, this is not all the preparation leading up to leaving, not even a bit.  This is specifically the checklist for the day before leaving the dock and just before leaving.

Highlights …

Make sure the boat is prepared … all the instruments, radios, charts, safety equipment working and ready, diesel ready, alternator functioning, transmission & oil levels checked, strainer checked, solar panels and wind generator putting in amps

Make sure everything is stowed … jerry cans, dinghy, kayaks, below, hatches & portholes closed, portable generator

Make sure everything you’ll need to sail and anchor is ready … windlass working, anchor secured for sailing, binoculars, winch handles, paper charts, log, VHF, cockpit VHF mike, reef lines prepared, GPS working

Make sure anything you’ll need at anchor is ready … gasoline for dinghy, solar showers filled, water tanks filled,

Prepare to leave dock … AC electricity off at master breaker, power cord off & secured, all necessary DC power turned on at electrical board, lines prepared for easy exit get rid of all the last minute trash

Dolphins Play With Our Bow Wake

Dolphins Play With Our Bow Wake

Have a great time & enjoy your adventure, where ever it may take you!

Did I forget something?  Leave a comment and remind me.  THX!  Jan


  1. another item for your list: check and close all thru-hulls


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