A boating trip means recreation, exploration and time with family and friends. But whether you're taking a motorized boat or plan on paddling yourself, having the right supplies on hand can mean the difference between a safe trip and potential disaster. Making sure you have everything you need close at hand means less time worrying and more time enjoying the water.
Check your state laws before you head out on your boat -- there may be laws and guidelines regarding boat safety. In general, you should have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket for everyone on board and children should wear their lifejackets at all times. Lifejackets should be kept close at hand for easy access and never stowed in locked compartments or with other items stashed on top. If you're on a boat with a motor, you'll also need a fire extinguisher on board. Choose a compact model and stow in near the engine compartment for quick access in the event of a fire.
Every boat should have a first-aid kit at all times. Boating may be relaxing, but it also has the potential for injury. A basic first-aid kit packed with basics such as bandages, antibiotic cream, over-the-counter painkillers, sunscreen, bug repellent and portable cold and warm compresses means you're ready in case of emergency. Your boat should also be equipped with a working radio, and, if you're boating for a long period of time without bathrooms, a sanitary way to dispose of human waste, such as a camp toilet or disposal bags. Check your local camping goods store for these products.
If you're traveling in a motor or sail boat, you'll need to have tools on hand to help fix the boat should it require repairs. Bring along a well-stocked toolbox and any specialty tools you may need, such as a propeller wrench. A multipurpose tool can also be handy when fishing, tying sails and completing minor repairs around the boat.
Food and Clothing
Depending on how long you plan to spend on the boating trip, you may need to pack food and clothing. Because you may not have access to cooking supplies, food that packs easily and can be eaten without reheating -- granola bars and trail mix, for example -- can make for an easier trip. Bring a cooler for cold drinks, but remember that you may need to purchase more ice to keep food and drinks cold. Avoid perishable foods or uncooked meats. Bring enough clothing for your trip, along with extras like a hat for shade, rain gear and hiking shoes for trips on the shore, suggests the Utah Travel Industry's website. Keep a separate plastic bag for dirty and wet clothes on board.