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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection

by Gordon
June 2005

First day checkout procedures vary with each bareboat company, but for the purpose of this discussion they are pretty similar. If you have specific questions, we are happy to give you an idea of how each company handles the details.
Make sure you understand how all of the equipment functions, and take the time to check that everything works properly. It is easier to get it fixed at the marina than over the radio / cell phone, or have to wait for a mechanic.
If you are not shown, ask for the location of the through hull fittings, the engine dipstick (what maintenance is required), the emergency tiller, the watertank valves and fresh water pump (does it have a low pressure switch that needs resetting?). Try the heads (do they leak or feel stiff) and start the outboard (if it's unreliable at the dock it won't run when towed for a week). Top off the water tanks yourself and take a look at the sails - if they look tired inspect them carefully. In fact give the entire boat a good once over and check that everything is there. If there is any visable damage, make sure you document it with the company so it doesn't become your fault later on.
Make sure you understand which way the boat backs when under power (ask us if you need some tips on maneuvering a sailboat under power). The most common problems are flat batteries (run the engine even more than they say and check that it is really charging), blocked heads (best to dive over the side with a coat hanger - the blockage is normally right at the thru hull fitting), water tank/pump problems and baulky outboards. Most companies will bring you a different outboard if you have a problem, but a blocked head can cost you $50.00 to $75.00 to get cleared by a mechanic. Whatever situation you have during your charter, always try and call the company and give them the opportunity to help out as needed.
We are particularly interested in the way the company checks you out and in the condition of the boat. The comment sheet we send you when you return is invaluable to us, so please be honest.

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  Ed Hamilton & Company
24B US Route 1, Edgecomb, ME 04556

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