Checklists for Serenity

Growing up, I didn’t know any better.

I thought everyone was hyper-organized and used checklists to keep track of things.  As I got older, I realized it was just that my dad had spent years as a military and airline pilot and had carried that practice over into his non-aviation pursuits.

As an aside, it was not unusual to “push back from the gate” in the motorhome at 9:10 pm for a “redeye” trip across the desert at night to arrive at 7:30 the next morning, with time allotted for two fuel stops.  Drivers rotated shifts, changing positions on the fly.  Definitely a long-haul mindset.

In any case, I’ve continued to use checklists.  I love to solve problems, but solving the same problem over and over again has no appeal.  The power of a checklist is that you can solve the problem once, document it on the checklist, and then it’s solved forever.  Lessons learned go into updated checklists.  They are a great way of capturing knowledge.

When we first got our Catalina C34, the complexity of the systems and operation was a little intimidating.  But like most things, complexity goes away when you break it down into smaller chunks.  Building the checklists was a critical part of learning how to operate and maintain the boat.

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