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Birch Marine founder, Chris, writes about your favorite spring commissioning checklist

in the March 2024 issue of SAIL Magazine

An Excerpt:

I have come to learn that “spring commissioning” can mean different things to different people. A detailed checklist is an excellent way to define a project and avoid confusion for everyone over what is, and what is not, included in the scope of the work. If the tasks are going to be shared between the boatowner and the boatyard, the checklist can help clearly define who is doing what.

Checklists are gaining popularity in all industries for good reason—they work. Bestselling author Atul Gawande’s research in The Checklist Manifesto shows that errors fall into two broad categories: errors of ignorance—mistakes we make because we don’t know enough—and errors of ineptitude—mistakes we make because we don’t make proper use of what we do know. Checklists provide a simple and effective way to address both categories of error.

A well-thought-out checklist keeps us on course within an order of operations, which is critical in boat maintenance and not always intuitive or obvious. It’s helpful to boatyard employees and boatowners alike, guiding new—and even experienced—boatowners around errors of ignorance and guiding the marine industry past errors of ineptitude.

I developed the checklist that follows during decades of spring commissioning, and years of tweaking and refinement have shaped it into a work plan that I consider thorough and optimally ordered. …

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