Reliability of power and steering is obviously critical. It is a good idea to check the drive line, steering system, and engine accessories before crossing a bar.
All deck gear must be well secured. Wash boards should be in place in the companionway, and all hatches properly dogged. Any Dorade vents should have their cowls removed and be plugged on the inside as well as outside.
If you have large doghouse windows it is a good idea to get out the storm shutters.
Whether you are sailing or powering, running rigging needs to be carefully made up and secured. The last thing you want is a line in the prop or jammed in the rudder.
Before making the final approach be sure all crewmembers don their life-jackets. If you are in cold waters survival suits should be worn.
There is debate about safety harnesses. Some feel you are better away from the boat if she rolls over. Others feel staying with the vessel is important.
There is more immediate danger to you from contact with the vessel, but if your vessel is closed up and watertight and has a low center of gravity, you'll be floating right-side up in a matter of seconds.
Being thrown clear avoids contact with the boat, but leaves you at the mercy of the surf conditions that will make it difficult to find a man overboard. Professional fishermen and the Coast Guard tend to wear survival suits just in case.
Finally, all crewmembers should be well braced, where they can hang on tightly with efficient use of hand and arm strength.
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