For those of you who enjoy boating, Las Vegas is a great place to be.  You can enjoy boating year round on the beautiful lakes that surround us.  However, before you get on the water at the Lake, make sure you have the legally required equipment.

You are required to have Life jackets / PFDs for everyone on board (Type I, II, III), throw cushion (Type IV) with 30′ of line attached, Fire Extinguisher (Type B-1), back flame protection system on inboard and stern drive boats, and an audible distress signal (air horn, whistle, or bell).  Other required items include: ventilation system / blower, muffler on your engine, and navigation lights for night cruising.

Here is a quick checklist provided by the Nevada Department of Wildlife to help ensure you are ready for a safe and fun year of boating.

  1. Life Jackets are the most important piece of safety equipment on your boat.  Ensure that they are still serviceable, with no rips, tears or other defects.  Also make sure the kids’ jackets still fit.
  2. Fire extinguishers have a habit of discharging over the winter.  Make sure you still have a fire extinguisher in your boat and that it is still charged.
  3. All boat registrations expire on December 31 of each year.  Make sure you get a current decal on your boat before heading out.
  4. This is an important on often-overlooked mechanical issue.  No power, no boating.  Charge batteries and make sure they hold the charge.
  5. Electronics can fail over the winter even without use.  You should also make sure your navigation lights still work and examine exposed wiring for cracks and wear.  Make sure the bilge pump still works.
  6. Go ahead and fire up the boat before you leave the driveway.  Don’t forget your “outboard ears”, a device that cools the engine out of the water.  Starting the boat before you leave can save you real agony, time and hassle at the boat ramp.
  7. Walk around the hull to make sure it’s not cracked or damaged.  A lot can happen in a year.  Also make sure you have the plug for your boat and it is in good condition.
  8. The trailer wheel bearings need to be greased before you leave the driveway.  If you have a winch and other equipment, make sure it works.
  9. Tubes, skis and other equipment must also be maintained.  Rubber seals and inflatable devices can crack and leak.  Make sure they are all ready to go, and don’t forget to bring your orange ski flag if you are going to tow someone.
  10. It’s always a good idea to replace the gas from last year.  Make sure your fuel lines are connected properly and have no cracks or damage.