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Boating Checklist

Use this checklist as a guide to the materials and conditions you should have for a boating trip. Your needs will vary depending on the type of boat, the water you will be in, and the activities planned. Add to the list as needed.

Print checklist (Boater's checklist 44 KB)

Items Required by Montana or Federal Law

  • Wearable Life Jackets (Types I, II or III)
  • Throwable PFD (Type IV for boats 16' or longer)
  • Fire Extinguisher(s) (motorboats)
  • Backfire Flame Arrester (motorboats)
  • entilation System (motorboats)
  • Whistle or Horn
  • Navigational Lights
  • Registration Document
  • Boat Number, Permanent Decal and Validation Decals

Pre-launch Checklist

  • Complete check for leaks; boat plug in
  • Motor in good operating condition
  • Propeller in good condition
  • Fuel tanks full
  • Suitable weather and water conditions
  • Passengers seated and briefed on emergency procedures; life jackets checked for fit
  • Properly stored and secured gear
  • Float plan left with responsible person on shore

Emergency Gear

  • Throw Rope/Bag
  • Signaling Mirror
  • Whistle (on life jacket)
  • Light/Strobe (on life jacket)
  • Rescue Blanket
  • Extra Warm Hats, Mittens, Socks
  • Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)
  • Matches (in a waterproof container), Lighter or Flint and Steel
  • Fire Starter
  • Water Purification Tablets, Filter or Purifier
  • Distress Signal Devices
  • Emergency Food and Water
  • Dry Bag(s)

Personal Comfort Items

  • Sunglasses
  • Sun Screen
  • Hat
  • Food
  • Water
  • Cooler
  • Warm Clothes
  • Seat Cushion(s)
  • Drysuit or Wetsuit & Boots
  • Insect Repellant
  • Binoculars

Recommended Items

  • Dewatering Device (bucket, bailer, bilge pump)
  • Anchor and Line
  • Mooring Lines
  • Extra Lines
  • Toolkit or Multipurpose Tool
  • Navigation Equipment (maps, compass, GPS)
  • Extra Paddle/Oar
  • Spare Parts (as appropriate)
  • Spare Prop (motorboats)
  • Weather Radio
  • Knife
  • Flashlight/Spotlight (with working batteries)
  • Communications Ability (VHF radio, CB radio, cell phone, satellite phone, 2-way radios)
  • First Aid Kit (in watertight, floating container)
  • Prescription Medicine
  • Repair Kit/Duct Tape
  • Boat Hook
  • Extra fuel/oil (motorboats)
  • A clean boat (remove mud and vegetation so aquatic nuisance species are not transported)