Going Boating for the Day? Grab This Packing List First

Going for a boating day trip provides a wonderful break from your daily routine. You throw your boat gear into the family vehicle, and gather everyone for the daylong adventure.

About halfway to the marina, you realize that you’ve forgotten some essential items. So, you waste valuable time backtracking to the house, which means you can spend less time on the water. 

To avoid a repeat of this maddening episode, compile a boat trip packing list. Store the list on your phone so you’ll always be prepared for those “spur of the moment” boat cruises.

Safety Gear  

Keeping everyone safe on the water is the top priority. Ensure that all passengers have an approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or life jacket. Keep the PFDs easily accessible for emergencies.

If you’ll tow a skier or wakeboarder, or plan to operate a personal watercraft, PFDs are also required for those boaters. While the boat is underway, children 12 and younger must always wear a PFD sized to their body.

You must also have visual distress signals, sound-producing devices (such as a bell, horn, or whistle), and navigation lights. Click here for details on required and optional safety gear.

File Your Float Plan

Before you cast off the lines, file a digital float plan with your boat trip details. Note the departure date and time, number of people aboard, your planned destination, and estimated time of return.

Email the completed Float Plan to a family member, neighbor, or friend. If you fail to return or check in as planned, they’ll have your boat information handy when they contact marine rescue or the United States Coast Guard. Download the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Float Plan Template here.

Boat Operations Gear

The term “boat operations gear” means different things to different people. For example, a well-equipped sailboat likely has an anchor and rode, many dock lines, a handheld VHF radio, and a medical kit aboard. A “Diver Down” flag and snorkel mask, useful for diving to free a fouled propeller, may also be aboard.

A 20-foot runabout’s owner should also bring these items aboard for the day. He or she should also pack paddles or oars and a bailing device, as an emergency can happen anytime. 

Finally, know that most states require you to carry proper boat documentation, such as the boat’s registration. Bring your boater education card (if applicable), along with a driver’s license or other accepted personal identification.

Tools and Boat Repair Supplies 

When you have the proper tools and boat supplies, handling problems during boat cruises is much easier. Put these items in a sturdy tool bag:

  • Flathead and Phillips screwdrivers (to tighten loosened screws)
  • Adjustable crescent wrench (to tighten vibrating bolts)
  • Duct tape (to secure just about anything)
  • Knife (for cutting lines that foul the propeller)
  • Battery jumper pack (to start the dead battery)
  • Flashlight (to see into dark cabinets and help you navigate home)
  • Headlamp (to fix things in the dark while keeping both hands free)

Personal Items

Keep your personal well-being in mind during your boat cruises. If you’re prone to seasickness, consider an over-the-counter preventative or ask your doctor about a prescription medication. Bring some bug repellent and a highSPF sunscreen.

If you’re really worried about sun exposure, dress in sun-protective clothing in addition to applying sunscreen. Your favorite music playlist, a portable music device, and a good set of earbuds round out your packing list.

Supplies for Children and Dogs

If your crew will include small children, bring everything you need for their care. Depending on the child’s age, that may include diapers, food and drink, and age-appropriate toys. It goes without saying that you must devote extra-special attention to their care during the trip. To that end, try to keep them shielded from the sun.

If you’re bringing your dog along, pack his life jacket, food, and plenty of cold water. If he overheats easily, provide special sun protection or leave him at home.

Finger Foods and Beverages

Forget about a four-course meal for a day trip. First, buying and hauling the ingredients aboard adds more chores to your list. Then, you have to prepare the meal underway. On a steamy summer day, cooking in a hot cabin is exhausting, and could make somebody queasy.

Instead, choose finger food such as sandwiches and light snacks. Singleserving yogurt, hummus and chips, or cut-up veggies are good options. Look for foods you can eat with one hand, allowing you to hang onto the boat while you nosh away. Store all food items in the refrigerator or an iced-down cooler.

Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Bring plenty of cold water, along with water-packed fruit such as watermelon and oranges. Frozen fruit might also provide some refreshing appeal.

Mobile Phone and Electronics Chargers 

An enjoyable day on the water provides the perfect excuse to turn off your mobile phone. Avoid those constant messages and texts, and take time to appreciate the beautiful landscape and breathe the fresh sea air.

However, taking your mobile phone aboard still makes sense. In most areas, you can call for help if an emergency arises. Your mobile phone also has GPS-enabled capabilities, and it should have a weather alert function.

Of course, your phone can’t function if it isn’t charged. The same situation applies to your Bluetooth speaker, tablet, or other electronic devices. So, keep your electronics running by bringing the correct cords and chargers on your boat trip. On older boats, charge your electronics via 12-volt plugs. Modern vessels usually provide USB outlets for that function.

After wrapping up your boat cruises packing list, consider safely storing your boat documentation in the Boat Name Registry (BNR) cloud-based portal. All BNR members can store their basic boat ownership and insurance details on this secure platform. 

VIP members are welcome to store all their boat documentation in the BNR online vault. You’ll also be able to protect your boat name in your home port. Click here for membership details. We’ll see you on the water!

Source  https://www.discoverboating.com/resources/things-you-need-on-a-boat

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