Boating can be an enjoyable activity, but it is important to have a number of things along for the trip. With the right supplies, a boat trip can be safe as well as fun.

Boat License and Credentials

Depending on where the boat is registered, there may be different requirements as to what is required and what things need to be posted or displayed. Generally, the boat needs to have a current registration sticker displayed on the hull of the boat. In some areas, the operator of the boat is also required to keep paperwork on board while the boat is in use. If these items are not current, an owner could face costly fines.

Life Jackets

The hope is that these do not have to be used, but having the proper safety equipment on board is essential. It is usually required as well by the local or state authorities. A boat needs to have a life vest or flotation device for each passenger. These devices also need to be suited for the age and the weight of the passenger. Be certain to check this before heading out each time.

Radio Beacon

Like the life jacket, the hope is that the radio beacon does not have to be used. An emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) is used to alert the Coast Guard to the location of the boat in the event of an emergency or distress.

Food and Water

Regardless of the length of the trip, it is important to have an appropriate amount of food and extra water on the boat. Water is especially essential. While on the water, people often forget to keep hydrated. Having handy water bottles will certainly help with this. If the trip ends up being longer than expected, the food and water will be appreciated. Also, if small children are on board, these supplies will be quite valuable.

Repair Tools

Every boat operator should know some of the basics when it comes to minor repairs. Depending on the boat, there could be a variety of mechanical or electrical issues that could arise. Having a small supply of tools and knowing how to make these minor repairs could potentially save the day. There will be times when assistance needs to be called, but these basic tools should help to limit that.

Depending on the location and the duration of the trip, there are many other items that could be considered as essential. This would include things such as a first aid kit, cell phone, marine radio and extra rope. Customize the packing list based on particulars of the trip, but be sure that these top five items are included every time the boat is out on the water. For supplies and expert advice, a boater can check out Lake Hoptacong Marine.

Image Credit: Thomas Hawk