19 boating essentials

The day before a boating or fishing trip can be busy considering the planning that is required. Take full advantage of the time you spend on the water by being adequately prepared for a variety of situations that may come up. It’s fairly easy to avoid bug bites, motion sickness, hungry kids and soggy shorts. Just print or write down this handy list of items to bring along before heading out on the boat.

  1. Boat registration. Be sure to have your valid boat registration certificate along with you. It’s one of the most important boating essentials since it proves that you are following the law regarding operation of the vessel.
  2. Waterproof camera. There are several different types of waterproof cameras out on the market these days. If you spend a considerable amount of time boating, they are well worth the investment.
  3. Cell phone or marine radio. Always have a cell phone or marine radio on board in case of emergency. Know how to reach the marine patrol, police and Coast Guard.
  4. Change of clothes. Boat wakes and unexpected weather can mean wet, uncomfortable clothes. Pack a change of clothes in large zip lock or plastic bag.
  5. Cooler box. You can keep your water, sodas, snacks and fish cold by bringing an airtight cooler box along on the trip.
  6. Fire extinguisher. All vessels are required to have a fire extinguisher on board. Educate yourself on the safety requirements for boating.
  7. First aid kit. Buy a waterproof first aid kit that includes gauze pads, bandages, scissors, rubber gloves, cotton, antiseptic lotion, aspirin and tweezers.
  8. Fishing permit. Have a copy of your fishing permit with you, and be informed on the current fishing regulations in your state.
  9. Hat, sunscreen and lip ice with a high SPF. These are essential to protect your skin from sunburn.
  10. Insect repellent. If you are outdoors, there will be bugs. Keep the scratching at a minimum by packing the insect repellent.
  11. Motion sickness pills. Avoid unexpected queasiness and bring a pack of motion sickness pills or crystallised ginger (which also helps keep sensitive tummies calm).
  12. Non-perishable snacks. Biltong, fruit roll-ups, energy bars, mixed nuts or frozen grapes all make good snack options when spending the day on a boat.
  13. Personal flotation device. All passengers are required to wear an approved personal flotation device that provides buoyancy.
  14. Rain gear. Rain showers and thunderstorms can come up quickly when out on the river or ocean. Stay as dry as possible by having a rain jacket and rain pants on board.
  15. Sunglasses. They don’t have to be fashionable, but should be polarised and capable of cutting the glare from the water.
  16. Jersey or hoodie. Early mornings and evenings on the water are often cool (even during the summer months), so bring along a light jacket or jersey.
  17. Towel. Keep a towel in a plastic bag to dry off with at the end of the day.
  18. Visual Distress Signals. Visual distress signals allow boat operators or passengers to signal for help in the event of an emergency. Know which types of VDSs are requirements for the type of boat you will be boarding.
  19. Water. Bring along several bottles of water for each person so that dehydration doesn’t become an issue.

What other items have you found to be essential or helpful while boating or fishing?

This article originally appeared on Take Me Fishing’s blog.