top of page

10 things you need on a boat

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

white sail boat at sea
sail boat

We all know that feeling. You're out on the open water, the sun is shining, and you have nothing to do. Suddenly, you realize you forgot _____.

Don't be that person! Check out our list of 10 things you need on a boat so you can be prepared for anything.

What are the 10 things you need on a boat

  1. Safety gear

  2. Provisions for the day

  3. A knife

  4. Extra lines

  5. Basic cleaning supplies

  6. An anchor and rope

  7. Proper documentation

  8. Chargers and chords for your electronics

  9. Emergency repair kit

  10. Your mobile phone

The Basics

first aid kit box
first aid kit

The Basics of Boat ownership and usage can be summarized with ten items: a dock, anchors, mooring lines, flares (if required), first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, life jackets (for everyone on board!), tow rope/chain, navigation equipment.

Be sure to check conditions at your slip before departing - depths may have changed since the last tide report!

A few other essential items include insect repellent and sunscreen.

If you plan to take any food or drink on the boat (even water!), please bring containers that are both leakproof and sealable.

Be sure to store all food in a cooler when not in use so it doesn't spoil.

Finally,, always wear a Coast Guard approved jacket while aboard a pleasure craft!

Packing a Boat for a Road Trip

man packing a bag
packing for traveling

When considering packing for a road trip, it is important to remember that there are few similarities between packing for a trip and packing for a car.

Boat travel can be quite unpredictable from motion sickness to just driving to different ports each day, so it's important to have the right supplies with you.

Here are ten items that are essential when travelling by boat:

Portable AC or Ceiling Fan

Boat travel can get hot, especially on long trips. Having an AC unit or ceiling fan is essential in keeping everyone comfortable.

If you're planning on cruising down the river during the summer months, beware of bugs! Bring some insect repellent just in case!

An inflatable mattress or sleeping bag to keep you worm.

This one should go without saying but if you're travelling by boat overnight don't forget your camping gear!

Many people pack a foam pad and pillow instead of using their bed at home. For shorter cruises an air mattress will do the trick.

Check critical_business_items_for_travelers for more information about what to bring when travelling by boat.

Sunscreen, lip balm, hats and sunglasses

UV exposure while boating can be quite high even when outside of port areas; make sure to take enough sunscreen and shades with you to protect your skin from the sun's rays and lip balm .

Hats play an important role too - not only do they keep you cool in hot weather but they also provide shade from the sun and rain/snow while on board (remember polar caps!).

Sunglasses will help reduce glare as well as protecting your eyes from salt water damage (again - remember Cuba!).

Latex gloves also come in handy if pouring fish guts into sanitizer buckets...yuck! ;-)

Don't forget swimwear either - even if it's just bikini bottom & top! And lastly, bring along medications needed while away from doctors' care such as diarrhea medication or snake bite kits - just in case!

What to pack for a Charter Fishing Trip? Having a holiday planned and booking your ticket, you are ready for this trip.

The perfect fishing trip to land your dream fish! You're leaving tomorrow but it's not reaching its final destination. It is an oddity.

You'll never get a pack of groceries. You don't know what you need. No worries. It's possible your household has everything you want.

For the best start of your journey, here is our guide to what anglers must carry with them when fishing on charter, especially if you go abroad.

  • fishing rod

  • fishing reel

  • fishing license

  • tackle box

  • landing net

  • fishing bait

5 fishing rods
fishing rods

Creating an Effective Navigational Plan

When planning a trip, it's important and a good idea to think about the specifics of your route - what are the hazards you'll be crossing?

What are the landmarks and points of interest you'll be hitting along the way? How can you optimize your time by using tides and currents?

This kind of thoughtful pre-planning will help ensure a safe and enjoyable voyage.

Here are some other tips for creating an effective navigational plan:

  • Plan on packing enough food and water. A full stomach means a rested brain, which translates into better judgement when navigating.

  • In addition, don't forget to account for potential delays or interruptions on your journey - even if you only have snacks available, they may last long enough to save the day.

  • equip yourself with charts, chartsplotters (if possible), sextants/compasses, NOAA weather radios and durable sunglasses/sunglasses.

  • These items will all come in handy while underway; make sure they're properly calibrated before leaving home. And finally...remember that weather is never guaranteed!

  • forecasting capabilities continue to improve year over year so bring appropriate gear just in case forecasts prove false (or inconvenient).

  • Take plenty of pictures and write down directions as you go - not only does this allow others to follow along during future trips but it also helps document where specific sights or activities were located.

  • Finally...enjoy every minute! even if conditions aren't perfect out there on the water, make sure you take advantage of every corner of your surroundings!

Planning Routes and Traveling Safely in Marine Environments

  1. Know your destination and plan your route.

  2. Use a chart or map to plot your course.

  3. Check weather conditions and forecast before you leave.

  4. Carry emergency supplies and know how to use them.

  5. Use common sense when traveling in marine environments.

  6. Respect the environment and the wildlife that inhabits it.

  7. Stay alert at all times and be prepared for any emergency situation.

  8. Stay safe while boating!

Emergency Preparedness Tips for Boaters


If you're planning on cruising or boating in waters that are hazardous, be sure to review our Emergency Preparedness Tips for Boaters. Whichever vessel you choose, always remember to bring along lifejackets and other emergency supplies in the event of an unexpected mishap.


Camping and fishing are popular pastimes on boats, but one thing that often gets left out of the equation is emergency preparedness. Here are 10 tips to help you stay safe while cruising:

  1. Make a plan - before you set sail make a rough plan of where you're going and what ports or anchorages you'll visit.

  2. Once there, scout the area ahead of time so you can better predict how best to get from point A to B.

  3. Carry a first-aid kit - not only does this include supplies for common boat injuries like blisters and cuts, but it should also include things like bandages, disinfectants and medications for more serious emergencies such as allergic reactions or encounters with poisonous wildlife.

  4. Know the signs of a medical emergency - if you experience any of the following symptoms, call for help immediately: chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, fainting, seizures.

  5. Pack a survival kit - this should include items like water filters, hand sanitizer, and sanitation supplies, flares to signal for help in case of an emergency, and a whistle to summon help.

  6. Know the signs of a mechanical emergency - if your boat starts to drift or has trouble moving forward or back, or if any of the engines fails, it's time to seek shelter and call for help.

  7. Store your food and water securely - never leave food or drink unattended on board, and make sure your containers are tightly sealed to prevent water from entering.

  8. Be aware of your surroundings - when you're away from shore be especially vigilant for wildlife that may pose a danger, like sharks or Great White Pelicans.

  9. Know how to use navigational aids - even if you're only planning to stay within sight of land, it's important to understand some basics about navigation including the use of sextants and compasses.

  10. Store your boat safely - tie it down securely in windy conditions, and leave no openings that could allow waves, rain or moisture into the engine compartment.

  11. Familiarize yourself with emergency procedures - should an unexpected situation arise while boating, know how to summon help using local radio frequencies and flares.

First-Aid Kit

In addition to the items listed under it is important to have an emergency preparedness kit aboard your boat.

This kit should include supplies like plastic sheeting, duct tape, flashlights, rations (including snacks and water), first-aid supplies, and any other essential items you may need in case of an emergency.

Double check the contents of your kit before every trip so that you are always ready for anything.

Fire Extinguisher

Emergency Preparedness Tips for Boaters

Everyone knows that having a fire extinguisher handy is crucial in case of emergencies on land, but what about when you're out boating?

Here are some tips on how to stay safe and prepared should your boat catch on fire:

Create an emergency plan with your crew.

Make sure everyone knows where the fire extinguishers are located, and make sure everyone knows how to use them.

Secure all electrical cords and cables. If there's a power outage onboard, fires can easily start in lanterns or appliances that rely on electricity.


Ensure all boats removable items are stored securely. This includes anything that could fall into the water if the boat were to capsize, such as life jackets and personal belongings.

Make sure all boats are properly insured. Fires can easily destroy boats, and even small fires can quickly become large ones if not extinguished.

Be aware of weather conditions. If there's a chance of rain or high winds, be sure to keep your boat sheltered. These conditions can make fires even more dangerous.

If you do have to evacuate your boat in an emergency, know the location of the nearest Coast Guard station and follow their instructions.

Weather Protection

If you plan on traveling during warmer temperatures, you probably already thought that sunscreen should be brought.

That doesn't mean much. Even on a overcast day, the influence of the sun should always remain a priority.

It is not necessary to have an evening of sunburn. Everytime you cast, you suffer. It is not likely it will take you that long.

Aside from being beautiful, reflecting sunlight from the ocean is rarely pleasant to you. If you're not covered, it could be extremely unsafe.

Rain gear

Rain gear is a combination of jackets and trousers which are waterproof and wind proof with water resistant properties.

Using the correct gear will help keep crews dry in times of severe weather conditions. The price of raincoats varies according to the type of rain gear.

Knowing the Weather Conditions on Your Destination Island or Coastline

Weather conditions can be a major factor when planning a boating trip. Knowing the weather conditions on your destination island or coastline is essential for making informed decisions about what type of boat and equipment to bring, as well as whether to delay your trip.

The best way to monitor the weather is through NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS provides current weather forecasts for the entire United States, including coastal and offshore areas.

These forecasts are available online or by calling 1-800-723-0854.

Another valuable resource is The Weather Channel, which offers live coverage of severe weather events across the country as they happen.

You can also dial in (1-877-853-8499) and listen to local radio stations that provide real time updates on conditions along your planned route.

Selecting the Right Vessel for Your Needs

Life jackets

When it comes to selecting the right vessel for your needs, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First and foremost, make sure you are selecting the right type of boat for your needs. If you are looking for a fishing vessel, for example, you will need to select a boat that is specifically designed for fishing.

Next, consider the size of the boat. Not all boats are designed for larger groups or families. Make sure you select the right type of boat for your needs.

Finally, consider your budget.

Not all boats are created equal and some may be more expensive than others. Make sure you select the right type of boat based on your budget and needs.


Looking at the different types of vessels and their corresponding uses can be a daunting task. Once you have narrowed things down, it's important to select the right type of boat for your needs.

When considering whether or not to purchase a boat, there are a few key factors that should be considered:

what type of fishing will you be doing, does the vessel include a full kitchen and bathroom set-up, is there ample storage space?

Additionally, consider what recreational activities will you want to take part in on your trip (such as sailing or kayaking).

Oftentimes people purchase boats based on how much they can afford rather than what boat would best fit their specific needs.

When shopping for a boat, always consult with a professional to get an accurate estimate of the total cost of ownership, repairs, and fuel.

When selecting a boat, it is important to consider the size of the vessel. Boats come in different sizes, from small dinghies to large yachts.

It is important to select the right size for your needs. A small boat is perfect for fishing in shallow waters or exploring small islands. A larger boat is better for fishing in deeper waters or exploring larger islands.

Once you have selected a boat, it is important to make sure you have the proper equipment necessary for your trip.

Some of the items you will need include: life jackets, anchor, GPS system, first-aid kit, fishing gear (including rod and reel), cooler and food packets.


Knowing the weather conditions on your destination island or coastline is essential to safe boating.

Weather forecasts can be difficult to understand, so it is important to have a general understanding of what to expect before departing.

When selecting a vessel, it is important to consider your needs and preferences.

Do you want a small boat for exploring coves and inlets? Or do you want a larger boat for fishing or cruising?

There are many types of vessels available, so it is important to choose the one that will best suit your needs.

Some of the tools you will need on a boat include:

  • An anchor

  • A life jacket

  • A first-aid kit

  • A flare gun

  • A navigational chart

  • A marine radio

  • A fishing net

  • A flares

  • A bucket

  • A stove

  • A pot

  • A cup

  • A knife

  • A spoons

  • A map

Making Sure You're Equipped with All the Gear You'll Need

Just like any other outdoor activity, boating requires the right gear and equipment in order to be safe and enjoyable.

Here are 10 items you'll need on a boat:

  • Lawnchair or camping chair -A comfortable place to sit while on the water, especially if you're spending a long time at anchor waiting for something to happen.

  • An anchor & chain -Standard safety equipment when anchoring near shore.

  • Fishing net -To catch bait or fish, or just use it as an impromptu seat cover.

  • Flashlight with fresh batteries -In case of emergency (like getting lost at night), having a light will help you find your way back home.

  • Wheelbarrow -For collecting supplies from landain or unwanted wildlife that wanders onto the boat during docking/ launching activities.

  • Boat dock lines -To attach the lawnchair/camping chair to when sitting in it on deck.

  • Paddle(s) -For moving around in shallow waters or using as anchors if necessary when anchored off shore.

There are many things to consider when taking a boat out on the water,

but with proper planning and preparation, your trip can be safe and enjoyable.

By following the tips, you can ensure that you have everything you need for a successful voyage.


License and registration

What is the documentation needed to purchase a boat? Find out the requirements for learning how a boat is built with my boat plans - it usually covers your registration, your boat's education card and personal information.

Generally the average cost for registration varies between $25-250.

32 views0 comments
bottom of page