Ever reach for a chart only to realize you left it at the pier? Had to go back to get it, which made you late and ruined your whole day? Captain Clay Kelley has checklists to keep that kind of thing from happening. If you use a checklist, there are things you probably never thought of including. If you don’t use a checklist, perhaps this book will help you start. It could lead to less stressful boating.

Captain Kelley has experience on sailing and power vessels and holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-Ton Master’s License. Among the checklists is Getting Underway, which includes last-minute things you should check. The Monthly Maintenance Checklist helps you remember things that you never get around to doing. Guest Briefing covers what you should tell your passengers. Leaving the Boat provides reminders of what you need to do to leave your vessel safe and ready for the next trip. Did you ever forget to turn off the VHF? Engines, batteries, ground tackle, VHF usage, and safety issues are covered. One interesting chapter is Fall Lay-up because in any marina or storage yard you see many boats that obviously weren’t properly prepared for winter storage. Most folks are in a hurry to get the boat put away and there are many who don’t realize there are things they need to do to prepare for exposure to the rougher elements. A simple checklist, properly followed, would add years of life to their equipment.

Captain Kelley offers a chapter on items unique to sailboats. Of course, many of the other checklists have items unique to sailboats or apply equally to sailboats and powerboats. In all, 25 checklists are presented. Also included is an appendix listing suppliers’ and manufacturers’ addresses and phone numbers (Web site URLs and e-mail addresses would have been helpful). Another appendix lists recommended tools and supplies to be carried on board small cruisers, mid-sized cruisers, long-term cruisers, and boats being lived aboard. An excellent glossary rounds out the book.

These checklists are very inclusive and, therefore, are best for a larger, more complex yacht. However, although not all items are applicable to your boat, there is something here for even those trailering a daysailer. The best idea for many boaters may be to prepare their own checklists using this excellent resource as a starting point. I have started to update my checklists already. Boater’s Checklist is required for those who are collecting a complete library of books applicable to their boat and their boating venue.

Boater’s Checklist by Clay Kelley, Edited by Carol-Faye Ashcraft (Bristol Fashion Publications; 1999)