When it comes to boating, it is essential to have key items. Some gear is to keep everyone aboard safe, while other things are a matter of convenience. No matter what it is, consider how important it is to make your day less stressful and more enjoyable. Here are 15 things you need on a boat.

1)     Cell Phone

While VHF radios are critical in signaling for help, a cellphone today is your first line of defense. The range of a phone will vary based on how far offshore you are traveling. Should the unexpected happen and you require help, utilize a cell phone if you’re within range.

2)     Provisions For The Day

Provisions for the day can mean many things. Some provisions include snacks, meals, and drinks. A perfect boat lunch is a sub from a local sub shop. Remember to pack plenty of fluids to remain hydrated while you are spending time on the water.

3)     Extra Lines

Often times we fail to bring the dock lines that are securing the boat to the dock at the marina. In the event the boat’s dock lines are left behind, extras should be on board. Always remember to have additional dock lines on the watercraft if some are left-back. 

4)     Cleaning Supplies

Boat ownership requires a substantial amount of work to keep the vessel in excellent cosmetic appearance. After each trip, the boat should be cleaned of salt if it is run in salt water, dirt, or any other debris. Cleaning supplies should be on hand to detail the boat after every adventure.

5)     Safety Gear

One of the first items of safety that comes to mind is life jackets. Life jackets are required for every passenger on board. Beyond life jackets, many other safety items are necessary, including a throwable device and audible signaling device.

6)     Anchor

Whether an anchor is required or not, it should be onboard all vessels. One of the primary reasons that a boat should have an anchor is the possibility of engine failure. If the engine fails, the passengers, operator, and craft could be in grave danger of colliding with objects when adrift.

7)     Documentation

Just like a car, van, or truck, boats also require documentation. Documentation includes a valid registration card, insurance card, and a boaters ed certificate. If marine patrol boards your craft for any reason, they may ask for any or all three of these forms of documentation.

8)     Chargers And Cords

Many boaters utilize an Ipad or cell phone for navigation. Should a cell phone lost all of its battery, chargers, and cords can come in handy. Make sure to pack cell phone chargers should you need help or help navigate you back to the marina or dock.

9)     Knife

Many boaters would think that you would only need a knife if you are fishing. When you’re out on the water, a knife can come in handy for many situations. A blade can free the propeller from crab trap lines, cut away a lodged anchor, or save a sea turtle entangled in a foreign object.

10) Sunscreen

Sunburns are a painful experience. To avoid a sunburn, pack sunscreen and make sure that it is used. Apply sunscreen before you head out on the water and reapply throughout the day to help avoid becoming burned.

11)  First Aid Kit

Bumps and bruises happen even when you’re having fun. Pack a first aid kit on the boat in the event someone has a slip, cut’s themselves while opening a snack, or something more severe like an injury from a watersport.

12)  Fire Extinguisher

While many small boats may not be required to carry a fire extinguisher, it is always a good idea to have one. Electronics, engine components, and cigars or cigarettes can all start fires. With a fire extinguisher on hand, a fire can be doused quickly.

13)  Flares

For the most part, all vessels over 16 feet in length must have flares onboard in coastal waters. Flares do expire, so therefore the dates must be checked annually and replaced as needed. Lastly, flares can cause severe burns if misused, so be cautious in the event they are needed.

14)  Water

While we all want to experience a boat trip as if it’s a tropical getaway with our favorite cocktails, water is essential. Dehydration is a serious threat and should be avoided. Pack plenty of hydrating fluids like water or other beverages that will replace electrolytes depleted when you’re sweating in the sun.

15)  Camera

Don’t miss out on the great memories from the day spent on the water. Photograph all of the fun times for more than just those who had the opportunity to enjoy it but also friends and family who were left back home.