This isn’t so much a tip, as it is a challenge. Which boat were you on most recently? Get a couple of blank pieces of paper and a pencil. Now, draw the boat. I don’t mean an artistic rendering of the boat; I mean a line drawing of her layout and systems.
Put in as much information as you can remember, including:
- Layout of the interior (power switch locations, AC & DC electrical panels, heads, settees, berths, sinks, stoves, etc.)
- Location of thru-hulls (mark the purpose of each of them if you can)
- Location of safety equipment (fire extinguishers, visual distress signals, sound signals, emergency bilge pump handle, emergency tiller, anchors, boat hook, tapered plugs, etc.) and for supplies here is a great post to read.
- Topsides layout (cleats, winches, fairleads, standing rigging, etc.)
- Running rigging (halyard locations, sheet locations, reefing lines, outhauls, furling lines, how are the clutches and line organizers set up)
- Oil dip stick, coolant cap, raw water strainer location, primary fuel filter location
- Anything else you can think of
How did you do? This is all information you should know off the top of your head. Unfortunately, one of the challenges about having 30 boats at your disposal is getting to know them as well as you should. In an emergency, knowing where the thru-hulls and tapered plugs are can be the difference between adventure and disaster.