Know your boat’s safe capacity before inviting guests aboard—overloaded vessels handle differently and can be unsafe, even in calm conditions. Inspect your PFDs to ensure that you have enough to go around and that they are in serviceable shape. Correct size and classification are also essential components. And don’t forget to carry a throwable flotation device. Next check the gear you’ll need in an emergency: VHF radio, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, and ground tackle. Make an examination of the mechanical spaces, including hoses, wiring, and float switches, and make sure navigation lights are operational. After all, you’re not planning on coming home after dark, but plans change.