Summer weather is here, which means there is a good chance you might find yourself setting off on a boating adventure soon. Before you leave the dock, here is a list of 15 things to bring to ensure maximum enjoyment, comfort, and safety during your trip. 

First Things First, the USCG requirements  

The US Coast Guard requires by law that the following items be on board your boat at all times: 

  • Life jackets and wearable personal flotation devices (PFDs) 
  • Fire extinguishers 
  • Visual signaling devices 
  • Sound signaling devices 
  • Throwable floatation devices 
  • Boat license and registration 

Now, what you should bring with you 

While these required items are a good starting place to gather what you need to keep on your boat this summer, here are some other non-mandatory but essential-to-have items for an optimal boating experience.

1. First aid kit 

Having a first aid kit is a crucial item to have with you while you are out on the water. You never know what kind of emergency may arise, so a well-stocked first aid kit is a must! Check out this article to help decide what should be included in your kit.

2. Anchor and Rode 

These essentials are often left behind because many boaters do not plan on anchoring out. However, having an anchor on board is critical, not just for planned activities like anchoring down in a cove, but also as a potential safety device to keep you out of sticky situations. If your boat’s engine were to malfunction, for example, being able to maintain your position while you wait for help can make a huge difference. Further, it can prevent you from drifting into unwanted locations like rocks or a busy channel. 

3. Extra Rope

Whether you find yourself trying to tie to a dock, another boat, or anchor down, you never know when you’ll be in need of some extra rope. So always keep some on hand and you’ll be happy you did because you’ll be sure to reach for it frequently!

4. Oars/paddles  

In case of a power failure, it is essential to keep paddles or oars on your boat as a secondary means of propulsion.  

5. Sunscreen  

Sadly, UV exposure is intensified by the boating environment as the rays are coming at you from above and from the sun’s reflection on the water and back onto the boat off of gleaming surfaces on board. This makes having plenty of sunscreen on board highly important to everyone’s health in the short and long term. A good tip is to reapply at least every two hours since sweat erodes the protection much quicker. Don’t forget to apply that SPF to the often-neglected areas such as your scalp (exposed parts for those with longer hair), lips, ears, and the back of your legs. 

6. Plenty of Water 

Sitting on a boat increases your exposure to the sun and intense Florida heat, so while it’s important to protect the outside of your body with sunscreen, it is equally important to protect the inside as well. To decrease your risk of dehydration, drink plenty of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink approximately 8 ounces of water each hour. In this sense, overpacking is better than underpacking, so make sure there is enough for everyone on board to be healthily hydrated. A good tip is to put your water bottles and jugs in a well-insulated cooler and have a mix of ones that are ready to drink as well as frozen ones that can thaw throughout the day to ensure you always have a cool drink on hand! 

7. Knife 

Occasionally a rope, thick seaweed, fishing line, or other items can get caught around the propeller and affect its propulsion. To get underway again, you’ll have to turn off the engine and cut away the strands that have been tightly wound around the propeller. This is just one of the many reasons why you should always keep a knife onboard. 

8. Sunglasses 

Sunglasses are recommended for everyone onboard; however, they are particularly important for drivers! The sun’s reflection off the water can make it especially difficult to see, so having proper eyewear can ensure that the boat driver can stay focused on safely operating the vessel.  

9. Solar powered backup power bank 

While the sun may be harsh on the skin, it is great for solar charging! A solar-powered battery pack can help ensure that all of your devices stay charged especially in the event of an emergency.  

10. GPS with Depth Finder

GPS systems have become a standard feature on our smartphones and cars; however, they are not as commonly found on boats. Having a GPS system will allow you to know exactly where you are and comes in handy, particularly in emergencies when you need to relay your exact location. When you have one on board with a depth finder, you are able to ensure your safety even further as it will help you avoid areas where you could run aground. 

11. Binoculars 

You never know what you might come across while you are out on the water, so keeping a pair of binoculars on board can be a fun tool to have as well as a potential safety item to see what boats or creatures you might need to watch out for! 

12. Boat Bumpers 

A hole in your boat’s hull can be an extremely costly and dangerous mistake. To help prevent this damage, having boat bumpers on board can assist in situations when you are docking your boat, coming close to another vessel, or nearing another object. 

13. Motion sickness bands/medicine  

Even frequent sailors can experience seasickness every once in a while, so it is good to be prepared with various options you know work for you. 

14. Dry box 

You never know how much water your boat may take in on a particular day, especially if it is choppy. Having a dry box on board helps keep your important belongings such as phones, wallets, keys, and cameras safe against water damage.  

15. Extra clothes  

The water can be very unpredictable so, in the event that things get wet (which is highly likely), having an extra set of clothes kept in a dry box or bag can increase your comfort on and off-board. 

Now For the Fun and Games, Non-essentials 

While the previously listed items are ones that you should keep on board for the comfort and safety of you and your passengers, here is a list of items you might want to have on board for fun: 

  • Bluetooth speaker 
  • Cooler  
  • Drinks and snacks 
  • Floatie pads, inner tubes, water saddles, loungers, etc.  
  • Underwater camera 
  • Air-tight coolers and koozies 
  • Scuba mask and snorkel set 
  • Water sport equipment 

And, of course, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have the right boat insurance before heading out on the water. Some states require coverage, so make sure to check your local laws but, even if not, having the right insurance can give you the peace of mind that you are covered in case of accidental damage.

While boat trips are a lot of fun, there is a lot of planning that should go into them to ensure you have the most fun and safe experience out on the water. Creating a checklist gives you peace of mind that you have taken all the proper precautions to enjoy your time on the water. Contact our team at Webb Insurance Group – we’ll advise a policy that fits your specific needs and budget!