shakedown cruise

Buying a new boat is one of the most exciting days of your boating life. But it can also be a bit daunting – how do you know that your new pride and joy is going to behave?

Now, by new we mean new-to-you, so don’t worry – all our points apply to breaking-in second-hand boats too!

There are a few things you can do to make your shakedown cruise successful. You may well have had a survey done before buying the boat, but there’s no harm in running through some quick checks before heading afloat for the first time.

1. Take it easy

There’s not much point heading out into the teeth of a south-westerly gale for your shakedown cruise. Pick a day with a moderate breeze and a good forecast, and head out gingerly. Once that goes well, you can build on a successful first sail with a more adventurous trip next time.


2. Before you go

Before you head out, give the engine a good check over, checking the strainer for weed, and the fuel filter bowl for any water or crud. If you’ve got the time, then a full filter change will do wonders. Finally, don’t forget to make sure that the fuel tank is full – it sounds obvious but can be easy to forget in the excitement.


3. Rig checks

It’s worth checking that all the sheaves turn, that the running rigging looks in good order and the splices are sound. If you can, give the sails a good once-over, checking that all the battens are present and correct and the stitching is ok.

shakedown cruise

4. Learn the electronics

Before your shakedown cruise, it’s well worth sitting down with a cup of tea to familiarise yourself with the systems on board; whether they’re freshwater systems or instruments, lights, chartplotters and VHF radios.

A few minutes spent familiarising yourself now will pay huge dividends when dusk comes and you suddenly need to switch the navigation lights on or navigate up a narrow channel.


5. Check your depth sounder

Make sure that you know whether the depth sounder is set to display depth under the keel or from the waterline – there’s nothing more embarrassing than running your new boat aground on your first trip out! Look for the ‘depth offset’ in the setup menu.


6. Take some pictures…

Don’t forget the camera – the shakedown cruise on a new boat is a special moment – and you’ll love looking back at the pictures. A camera is also useful to take note of problems encountered and solutions made, for future reference.


7. Don’t forget the insurance!

In the excitement of the new boat, it can be easy to forget the simple things. Make sure you and your new boat are protected from the moment it becomes yours with Insure4Boats’ tailored boat insurance. Get an instant quote today!