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Ready to pack for a boat ride? Check out our Boating Checklist to help guide you. Whether you’re heading out for a day of deep sea fishing or family fun, knowing what to bring can make your day easier and safer.

Here’s what you should have for a day on the water:

Sun protection:

  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm with high SPF
  • Lightweight long-sleeve shirt (if you’re especially sensitive)
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Sunglasses

Safety equipment:

  • Personal flotation devices for all passengers – Make sure they are U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
  • Fire extinguisher – Check to make sure it hasn’t expired.
  • Signaling and sound devices (horn, bell or whistle)
  • Day and nighttime flares – Required if operating in a coastal area.
  • First-aid kit – Include motion sickness medication.
  • Marine radio and fully-charged cell phone – If your phone is not waterproof, get a waterproof case.

For your comfort:

  • Insect repellent
  • Change of clothes – In case you get sprayed, splashed, or dunked.
  • Jacket – Temperatures on the water can be very different than on land.
  • Snacks and beverages – Bring some water to stay hydrated.
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes – Important after handling bait and fish (or just a sandwich).
  • Towels

For fun:

  • Swimsuits
  • Games/activities for kids – On land or sea, kids get bored.
  • Waterproof camera or smartphone – Capture memories of your day on the water.

Official business:  

  • Up-to-date boat registration
  • Fishing license – If you’re planning to fish, make sure your license is current.

And of course, make sure you have ample insurance coverage on your boat, whether it’s a modest motorboat or a colossal catamaran. Just a little planning can make for a day to remember – for all the right reasons.