Owning your own boat gives you the freedom to head out on the water whenever you want. Whether you use your boat for fishing, to hit up the best beaches, or to enjoy a sunset drive, boats are great no matter the purpose.
Yet if you’re an owner of one of the nearly 12 million recreational boats in the United States, you also understand that staying safe is as important as having fun. So what are some things you should do to promote safety, as well as a good time?
Keep reading to learn about seven different tips for having a safe and fun boating excursion.
- Take Care of the Legalities
Before you get the party started, you need to first ensure that everything is in order with regard to the law. Although this part of boating can seem mundane, making sure that everything is in order will keep you from having to go through any legal issues down the road.
There are a number of things you’ll need to bring whenever you go out on a boat. Like driving a car, you’ll need your license, as well as the registration document. If you own a fishing boat, you’ll need a special license for that, as well.
In terms of safety items, make sure to pack enough life jackets for everyone on board. You also need equipment such as fire extinguishers, flares, and horns. Don’t forget to make sure that your boat’s electronic and navigation equipment works fine, as well.
- Bring Waterproof Bags
Regardless of how big the waves look, it’s difficult to tell how wet you’ll get until you’re out on the water. To make sure that you’re prepared, you should always bring waterproof bags to store some of your most important items.
You should store electronics, such as phones, computers, and speakers in waterproof bags until you’re certain that it’s safe to take them out. Make sure that when you do, you pay attention to any sudden weather changes. You don’t want a wave to cut your trip short by ruining your phone.
In addition to electronics, you can also store important documents and papers inside waterproof bags.
- Make a Plan and Stick to It
Whenever you plan a boating excursion, make sure that you decide on a route beforehand and stick to it. Like when driving a car, this will ensure that you’re prepared and know what to expect.
Tell people that you’re going out boating, and make sure that you can get ahold of them if you need to. Depending on which body of water you go out on, you can also look into filling out a trip preparation form. This lists information about your boat, your journey, and provides emergency contacts.
You should also have a plan on how to get back to shore if you need to. If the weather gets rough, you don’t want to be caught miles out on the water without an escape.
- Bring a Change of Clothes
Another item that you should think about packing is a dry change of clothes. Often, you don’t realize that you should’ve brought extra clothes until its too late. Unless you’re swimming, a wet boat ride isn’t a fun one.
Pack a change of clothes, and make sure that you’re thorough about it. Bring everything that you could need: pants, underwear, shirts, and anything else. If something does happen, you’ll be prepared. You can sore the change of clothes inside a waterproof bag.
You should also remember to pack a warmer jacket or sweatshirt. If the sun goes down or the wind picks up, you want to keep warm.
- Put on Sunscreen
When you’re out on the water for hours at a time, you need to make sure that you lather on the sunscreen. If you don’t, the next few days are sure to be red and miserable.
Wearing sunscreen protects you from harmful UV rays. UVB rays are those that cause sunburn and redness. But UVA rays are another type that can lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and skin cancer. Sunscreen stops them from damaging your skin.
Put sunscreen on any exposed skin, and don’t forget your face. You can also cover up with a hat and a pair of sunglasses. Although enjoying the sun and the weather is an important part of boating, make sure you know your sun exposure limit.
- Pack Snacks and Drinks
Bringing snacks and drinks is essential for a fun boat ride. Packing enough water for a few days will also ensure that you’re prepared in case of an emergency.
You can store snacks and drinks in waterproof bags and coolers. When you’re ready to crack them open, take them out!
If you are drinking, make sure you do so responsibly. Like a car, a boat is a powerful vehicle, and operating it under the influence can lead to you harming yourself or the people around you. You should also understand the legal repercussions that go along with driving under the influence. Check out this guide on BUI penalties.
- Don’t Forget the Tunes
To take your boat trip to the next level, don’t forget to bring some music.
If you use your phone to play music, you can use apps such as Spotify or Apple Music to find suitable playlists. There are hundreds of boating playlists to choose from, or you can make your own.
You should also make sure to bring a waterproof speaker. This will let you blast your music without worrying about it getting damaged.
Have the Best Boating Excursion With These Tips
If you’re lucky enough to own a boat, you know how important it is to be responsible. By following this guide, you’ll have everything you need to stay safe and have a fun boating excursion.
Do you have any other suggestions on how to have the best boat trip? Let us know in a comment below!
If you found this article to be helpful, don’t forget to check out some of our other blog posts for more guides and tips.