Heading out on a boat is one of the best ways to experience a memorable, magical vacation and really get away from it all for a little while, and whether you’re renting a boat or sailing your very own vessel, it can be a thrill to get out on the water, listening to the sounds of nature and admiring the stunning views that surround you on all sides.
However, it’s also worth remembering that boating can be a risky activity and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s vital to prepare your trips to perfection, packing all of the necessary safety gear and other key items to ensure that you and your fellow passengers have the best possible time. With that in mind, here are the most important items to bring on a boating vacation.
We’ll start off with the most important items of them all. Safety equipment is absolutely essential onboard a boat, no matter how experienced the captain and passengers might be or how calm the water may appear. It’s a legal requirement to have safety gear on your boat, such as fire extinguishers and flares, and the more protective gear you pack, the lower your risks will be of any problems developing out on the water.
Life jackets technically fit in the ‘safety gear’ category, but they deserve their own honorable mention here as they stand out as some of the most important items that simply have to be onboard a boat. Statistics routinely show that life jackets save lives, with over 80% of drowning victims not wearing a life jacket at the time of their death.
If you own and operate your own boat, you’ll need your license and registration to prove it, and if you plan on renting a boat, you’ll also need to fill out the necessary documents and bring them along, just in case. If you don’t have a license, you can simply hire a captain, and don’t forget that if you plan to fish during the trip, you’ll also most likely need a fishing license too.
A First Aid Kit
A first aid kit should also be prepared before heading out on the open water, and this kit can be filled with all kinds of items to protect you from dangers that might lie ahead. Every kit should contain the basics, like antiseptic cream and bandages, and you might also want to throw in some pain relief pills, antihistamines for any allergy-suffering passengers, seasickness medication, and sunburn treatment too. Don’t forget to pack some sunscreen to reduce the risk of burns in the first place.
A Waterproof Bag
Experienced boating enthusiasts will know the importance of having a waterproof or ‘dry bag‘ on board the boat at all times. This is where you can store your more delicate items like documents or electronic devices that aren’t waterproof, helping to keep them safe from any splashes or spillages. It’s also wise to pack some spare clothes in one of these bags so you have something to change into if you get wet.
The Right Clothes And Footwear
Even if you’re sailing on a sunny, summer day, it’s important to remember that weather can often change quickly and wind speeds can get pretty strong out on the water, so be sure to pack some extra clothes you can layer up if it gets a little cold. Sweaters, jackets, and blankets are essential, and it’s also recommended to have some comfortable shoes with a good grip to reduce the risk of slipping around on deck.
Maybe your boat will have its own refrigerator for keeping snacks and drinks nice and cool, but if not, be sure to carry a cooler on board. This will make a huge difference to your enjoyment out at sea, helping to keep fruits, sandwiches, snacks, sodas, and more fresh and cool for long periods of time. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water to keep you hydrated too.
A Working Radio
Every boat needs a radio, just in case something happens and you have to contact the coast guard urgently. You can’t simply rely on your cell phone to have a signal out on the water, and it’s a legal requirement for every boat to have a functional, dependable radio, so be sure to check that yours works fine before setting off.
Boating is a wonderful way to spend some free time and have fun with family and friends, but you have to plan a boat trip with precision and care in order to be ready for any eventuality. Follow these top tips and have the best boating experiences, every time.