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Level II: 17' Boston Whaler

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17' WHALER Yamaha 90hp 4-stroke/ TRAILER

  • Prerequisites for being checked out on the Whaler:
    - complete at minimum the Coast Guard Auxiliary boater safety course or equivalent.
    - The SBSA Motor Boat Operator course is highly recommended (See SBSA web site for class schedule) and includes practical as well as theoretical training.
    - Must crew on this or similar boat under local conditions or equivalent, before being checked out to skipper.
  • Checkout:
    - Demonstrate all procedures described below to the satisfaction of the boating safety officer

Whaler Procedures

Hooking up the Whaler trailer

  • Use the 2" ball on the truck hitch.
  • Make sure the coupler is fully seated on the ball, then lock latch in "down" position.
  • Crank up the wheel jack, swing it up and lock securely into horizontal position.
  • Cross chains under trailer tongue and hook to truck with "S" facing back.
  • Connect trailer-light cable, and check to make sure lights work.
  • Raise the outboard motor and lower it onto the brackets.
  • Check that stern tie-downs are securely fastened, the bow safety cable is attached, and winch ratchet is set properly. Bow roller should be snug against bow.
  • Perform SAFETY CHECK: walk around trailer, and do a final visual check before driving it anywhere.

Prior to trip

  • Get Whaler and truck keys from the main office lockbox.
  • Check that the plugs are in the bilge and in the anchor well.
  • Check oil in motor.
  • Make sure there is sufficient gasoline for the planned trip.
  • The Whaler must have the following items on board:
    • Whaler box containing up-to-date signaling devices, VHF radio,  and fire extinguisher
    • GPS/depth finder
    • One life jacket per person (in dive lockers) plus one throwable flotation device, i.e life ring (stays on board)
    • Paddles, bailing device (bailer and hand pump in console), horn (in console box)
    • If diving: DAN emergency oxygen box containing O2 equipment and first aid kit; dive flag
    • Anchor (check to make sure it is properly stowed and attached at the bitter end)
    • All-around light on extender pole if using between dawn and dusk (kept in divelocker back cabinet).
  • Load weight belts, tanks, or other heavy gear towards the bow for trim.
  • Stow gear so that safety equipment, dock lines and anchor well are accessible.
  • Fill out float plan and tell your plan to a shore contact who will be around to notice if you're not back on time.


  • Unhook bow safety cable and stern tie-downs; put stern tie-downs in truck. Undo motor mount.
  • Back down the ramp.
  • When trailer wheels are in the water, undo winch hook and safety cable, have someone take both bow and stern lines, and back the truck a little further, using the surge to help lift the boat off the trailer. DO NOT GET TRUCK WHEELS WET AT ALL. Bunk glides and hitch extender make it easy to keep the truck dry. If there is a lot of surge, use patience and timing, or launch at a site with less surge (e.g. Harbor Master's Office ramp at Monterey Harbor instead of Breakwater ramp).


  • Check that the kill-switch cord is connected (on console).
  • Vent gas tank, pump bulb
  • With the engine lowered, put throttle lever in neutral, turn key.
  • Warm the engine up at idle for at least 3 minutes.


  • Brace heel of hand on throttle mount to avoid sudden throttle movements.
  • No wake in harbor - go slowly. Once outside harbor, get on a plane.
  • Look for constant stream of water from motor; listen for engine alarms.
  • Match speed to conditions, and avoid porpoising.
  • Never go full throttle when boat has a light load.


  • Turn off engine; raise the motor and rest it on the brackets.
  • Float boat onto trailer, connect winch strap to bow eye and winch remainder of distance, keeping stern of the boat squarely on the trailer, not tilted or crooked.
  • At top of ramp, winch any slack so bow is against roller, attach safety cable to bow eye, attach stern tie-downs, pull all plugs, walk around trailer and visually inspect before trailering.


  • Lower motor, flush with hose connected to flushing fitting for at least 5 minutes, watching for steady stream of water from motor. Motor can be run if "bunny-ears" are hooked up, watch for steady steam of water. Use salt-away if possible.
  • Fill out the boat log (in plastic container in console).
  • Close out your float plan.
  • Raise motor and lower onto brackets, remove key and return. Turn motor to starboard to protect greased steering rod.
  • Rinse truck springs, wheels, brakes thoroughly if they got even slightly wet.
  • Rinse the motor, boat, and trailer thoroughly. Flush the bilge with fresh water while running the bilge pump. Rinse the trailer springs and the insides of the wheels. Soak the carpeted boards. Rinse anchor and line. Unwind, rinse, and rewind winch strap if it was immersed or twisted during recovery.
  • Cover the boat, using pole and straps during rainy season.
  • Park the trailer properly and lower the motor. If the trailer wheel jack is cranked high the motor fin can scrape the ground, so tilt the motor up just enough to avoid this.
  • Put hitch back in garage; put boat box, GPS/depth finder, life vests, all-around light (if used) back in divelockers