22 Essentials to Bring Aboard for a Day of Boating
By Stephanie Vatalaro, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation
Looking forward to your next day out on the water? Of course you are, and there are ways to make the most of your time on the water by ensuring you have checked the items on this list. These 22 items will take care of virtually everything from helping you remember and obey local laws and regulations to keeping everyone comfortable and well-fed on your trip. Keep this quick list with you to help prepare for any time spent on the water.
- Before you set out on the water, make sure your boat registration is current. This is essential for making sure you are following the state law while you are operating your vessel.
- There are bound to be some memorable moments while you are on your boat. Make sure you are ready to capture them with a waterproof camera. There are several different types from disposable to professional. Consider the amount of time you spend on your boat when choosing the best one for your needs.
- Make sure you are never left stranded by keeping a working cell phone or marine radioon board. Be sure you know how to reach the marine patrol, police, and Coast Guard.
- Splashing into wakes and unexpected weather can make for a wet outing. Make sure you’re not forced to spend the day in uncomfortable clothes by packing a change of clothes in a zip lock or dry bag.
- Keep your refreshments cold in an airtight cooler. You may also want an extra cooler if you intend on keeping any of the fish you may catch.
- Keep an unexpired fire extinguisher on board and know how to use it. Be sure to check your state’s safety requirements to make sure you are following the law.
- A well-stocked first aid kit can help make sure you can addresses incidents from small nicks and cuts to sea sickness. You can buy a waterproof kit or make your own including gauze, bandages, scissors, latex gloves, cotton balls, antiseptic lotion, pain relievers, and tweezers.
- Check that your fishing license is current and be sure the fishing regulations haven’t changed for the water you will be fishing.
- It’s nice to be able to clean up a bit after handling bait or the fish you catch. This can easily be done if you take hand sanitizer or wipes on your trip.
- A wide-brimmed hat is always a good call for keeping the harsh sun off your face.
- With time spent outdoors comes insects and bites. Minimize the itching by bringing along insect repellent.
- Lips can get burned by the sun and chapped by the wind, so keep some lip balm with high SPF handy.
- Anyone can come down with motion sickness. Be ready with a pack of motion sickness pills or crystallized ginger to ease the queasiness and stomach troubles.
- Not all the food you bring needs to stay in a cooler. Non-perishable snacks like jerky, fruit snacks, granola bars or nuts make for easy snacks that won’t go bad while you’re out.
- Be sure to check your state’s laws regarding personal flotation devices. Most states require one PFD for each passenger aboard, and it’s smart to check the state of your PFDs before you get out on the water.
- Rain and wind can pop up quickly on the water. Stay prepared for this by bringing rain gearon board with you.
- A good pair of sunglasses that cut the sun’s glare off the water are essential for safe navigation and also make fishing easier.
- There are few places to hide from the sun while you’re out on the water, so be sure to use plenty of sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection and a high SPF.
- The temperature can make extreme swings when the sun comes up or goes down, so bring along a few extra layers such as a light jacket or sweatshirt.
- Pack plenty of towels in plastic or dry bags to dry off yourself of your gear.
- Make sure Visual Distress Signals are ready for use in case of emergency. Know your state’s requirements for VDSs based on the type of vessel you are operating.
- Having plenty of water for each person on board is essential to having a pleasurable time on the water and avoiding dehydration.