Spending an afternoon on the open water is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy spending time with friends, family, and nature. Begin preparing for your first boating trip by packing personal flotation devices for everyone on board, and expand to include these items for a safe, relaxing experience.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit isn't just good advice for boat owners sailing the high seas. Most larger sailboats are required to have at least once well-stocked first aid kit on board to meet regulations.
Essential supplies include bandages, over the counter medications for pain and sunscreen. Motion sickness medications, antacids, and antiseptics are also essential for treating minor injuries. Other must-haves include:
A waterproof, floating case to hold your first aid kit and emergency supplies
Store flares in your first aid kit to use for medical emergencies
Keep towels in a waterproof, floating case to use for more serious injuries
A reusable water bottle and plenty of water keep you, and your guests, hydrated on sailing trips, and basic food supplies provide the fuel you need for a long day on the water. Emergency food and water supplies are an excellent option if you want to be prepared for any emergency.
Typically, one person needs about a gallon of water per day to stay well-hydrated in warmer weather. Bring more water than you expect to use to prevent shortages, especially in very hot weather and on longer trips.
Food and Snacks
Freshly prepared picnics and dinners are a delicious way to enjoy a short day trip, but backup food supplies are a must for a long journey. Nonperishable food, such as canned food, is a simple option that remains edible for a long period of time and doesn't require refrigeration.
Stocking 2,000 calorie meal bars in your first aid kit is a cost-efficient, space-saving way to maintain your energy levels in a more serious emergency. When you are in port, stock up on fresh foods and replenish your backup supplies as needed to eat well on the water.
Chargers and Converters
A simple converter transforms your onboard 12-volt charger into a convenient USB port that charges most cell phones, laptops and other devices, such as mp3 players. Even if you don't have service in your current location, keeping your mobile phone charged is recommended for improved safety. Plus, a smartphone, tablet or laptop is an easy backup option for downloading charts and maps.
Although it isn't essential, adding an auxiliary cord allows you to easily play music from your mobile phone, or any other compatible device, through the onboard sound system, allowing you to enjoy your favorite songs when you don't have CDs or radio reception. If you don't have a sound system, try bringing portable speakers that work using Bluetooth.
Sleeping bags, clothing, rain gear and extra towels keep you comfortable as the weather changes over the course of the day. Check the weather beforehand decide what types of clothing to bring. For example, swimming gear, including a swimsuit and snorkel, allows you to enjoy warm, summery weather.
Opt for shoes with water-resistant grips to stay steady on deck, and bring a raincoat to stay drier while sailing through rough waters. If you are traveling on a chartered sailboat, you may not need to bring linens, sleeping bags, or towels. Check with your charter company to decide what type of personal gear is recommended.
The documentation you need varies, depending on your route. Bring your passport to travel through international waters, and keep copies of insurance documents, maps, charts and your diver's cards. If you have a skipper's license, or a similar license, keep it with your logbook and other important documents. All paperwork should be stored in a floating, waterproof bag.
Tools and Operational Supplies
A headlamp, radar reflector, and an air horn are basic tools that improve safety, while extra rope and a basic set of tools are necessary to keep your sailboat in tip-top shape on both long and short journeys. A sharp knife, a utility tool and a lighter are essentials to keep in both your tool kit and first aid kit. Check your lighters frequently to ensure they work properly and bring waterproof matches along in case your lighter fails.
From first aid supplies to music and mobile phones, stocking your sailboat with essentials before you leave shore ensures you can handle any situation you encounter. Your checklist can change over time, and longer journeys require more intense preparation than shorter trips. Begin with these basics, and build your own personalized supply list to keep your personal must-haves on hand.