In the United States, there are 12.54 million boats registered.
If you are one of the owners of those boats, you’ll need some boating essentials on board before you can set off on your next adventure.
But if this is your first time boating on your own, what are the essentials? Keep reading, and we’ll fill you in on everything you need.
1. Life Jacket
One of the most important things you need for your boat is a life jacket. Even if you’re a strong swimmer, a life jacket could save you and your passengers in any catastrophic event.
You should take your time and research all the different kinds of life jackets because you need to wear the right one in order for it to work.
After you’ve found your life jacket, make sure you have a few extras on board so that your guests can have some. You should have enough life jackets on the boat for each person.
In some states, it’s even required by law to have life jackets on board. Some smaller children also have to wear them at all times when they’re on the boat.
Next, make sure you bring a map of the area you’re going to boat in.
You could use your phone, but you may not have cell phone service where you’re going, so it’s always best to print a map out. You can print out Google Maps and slip it into a plastic cover to help preserve it as well.
If you’re going to a popular tourist destination, they may also sell maps of the popular boating areas so you can find all the great spots!
3. Survival Kit
You’ll also need a survival or safety kit in case something does happen that you’re not expecting.
A survival kit for boating should have a few items like food, water, and other essentials you’ll need if you get stranded on the water. In that survival kit, you should also have a first aid kit.
If someone gets hurt, you might be too far away to call for immediate help. A first aid kit will help you take care of smaller problems right then.
In addition to a first aid kit, make sure you have flares, handy tools, whistles, and a waterproof case. You might also want to bring things to shade you from the sun, like a sweatshirt or hat.
In case something happens, you should have some tools with you so you can fix it.
You only need a few of the basics, like a screwdriver with different screw heads. You should also bring some spare bolts, nuts, and pins in case something comes apart.
If your boat has no coverage, the sun will be even more brutal when it reflects off the water onto you.
This can leave you with some pretty nasty sunburns, so make sure you bring a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30.
In case the sun disappears and you have a rainstorm, also bring a jacket or a poncho so you don’t get soaked and cold while you’re out boating.
6. Jump Starter
You don’t want to be caught out on the water with a dead boat battery, so you should bring a jump starter pack. Even if you have the right jumper cables, you can easily try and bring your boat back to life.
You could call for help, but having a boat towed can be expensive, and you may not even have service to call for help.
When you have your own jumper pack and cables, you won’t have to worry about if the other boat has them as well.
7. Boat Insurance Certificate
In order to legally drive your boat, you’ll also need proper documentation and insurance.
In case you get pulled over or questioned, make sure that you always bring your boat insurance certificate. Some marinas even ask you to provide proof of insurance before they let you dock, so it’s better to have it handy than realize you left it at home.
While your Rule bilge pump should work just fine along with everything else on your boat, you never know when something will go wrong.
That’s why it’s good to have a VHF radio to communicate with other vessels or to call for help onshore. These radios are normally used on ships that will go out to sea, but they can also be helpful even if you’re just going onto a lake or river.
There will be multiple channels on the radio, so make sure you know the rules for which channel you should choose before you set out.
9. Dock Lines
Lastly, you’ll need some dock lines in case you’re going to dock somewhere you never have before. You might decide to pull up at a restaurant with docking, and you’ll have to tie your boat up properly.
These places typically don’t have a service to help you tie it, so make sure you bring your own and know how to use them!
Discover More of the Boating Essentials
These are only a few of the common boating essentials, but there are many more things you should remember to pack.
Boating can be fun, but it can also be stressful having to take care of your boat and make sure everything goes well. However, we have just the thing to help you out!
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