Last Updated on June 20, 2022 by Brian Drew

A boat trip always brings back the hilarious escapades of the characters in the famous book, “Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome k Jerome. These friends decide to go on a boating trip and start compiling a list of things; their long list is soon cut down to only essential stuff for their stay on the water.

You too must have a list of boating essentials to bring aboard for a day of boating before any boating trip. With these items by your side, you can have a great day of sailing, fishing, or swimming.

In case you have a motorized boat the most important thing aboard should be your registration and the required license to pilot the boat.

List of boating essentials on a day boating trip

Basic necessities

The basic necessities that take priority over the rest are:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Disposables
  • First aid kit.


Munching on knickknacks and snacks is a great way to pass time while on the water. Moreover, well-fed tummies ensure that we pay more heed to the surroundings and enjoy the beauty around us. Your food bag should ideally consist of:

  • fruit snacks, granola bars, and nuts
  • chips
  • cookies
  • candies
  • Sandwiches.
Boating Essentials - compas


It is important to stay well hydrated when you are out the whole day in the open. Therefore, keep a cooler for all your drinks and water. The cooler should be air-tight. Do not keep your catch with your drinks; carry another cooler to store your fish.

  • Must carry drinks:
    • Sodas
    • Fruit juices
    • wine
    • coke
    • water
    • Ginger ale.


You need to carry disposable cutlery and can openers when on board. Just ensure that you dispose of all the trash only on reaching land and not litter the water with your waste.

  • Can opener.
  • Corkscrew
  • Plastic wine glasses
  • Paper plates
  • Potholders
  • Paper napkins
  • Disposable cups.

First Aid Kit:

Accidents can happen anywhere; even in the middle of nowhere surrounded by water on all sides. Hence, always keep a well-stocked first aid kit at all times. Before you start your trip check the kit for all the essentials like:

  • Bandages for small cuts and nicks
  • Medicine for seasickness; crystallized ginger is a good remedy
  • Medicine for tummy problems
  • Gauze
  • Scissors
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Latex gloves
  • Cotton balls
  • Pain killers like paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen
  • Tweezers
  • Crepe bandages
  • Antihistamines
  • Eye drops
  • Cream or spray to relieve insect bites
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cleaning wipes.

Important tools aboard

You must be prepared for all eventualities when aboard a boat. An up-to-date tool kit on board will save you hours of agony and distress. Make a note of all the tools listed below and check that they have their rightful place in your kit.

  • Pliers: A good pair of pliers will help you with minor repairs and even in freeing the hook from the fish.
  • Extra Drain Plugs: In case you forget one or it falls into the water.
  • Wrenches and Screwdrivers: For all kinds of fixing, unscrewing, or tightening jobs you need these two tools mainly.
  • Flashlight or Marine Light: Even if you plan to return before it gets dark, it is better to be prepared; hence a flashlight on board is a must. Keep extra batteries too.
  • Duct Tape. The quintessential ingredient of every toolbox is duct tape which is versatile and can be used for all patches and minor repairs.
  • Scissors: They are useful right from cutting open a packet of chips to trimming cables and ropes.
  • Socket Set. This is useful for repairing hatch latches and changing fuel filters.


When out in the open you must be prepared for unexpected weather changes. It might get really cold or warm depending on which season you are out boating. In addition to that, you must be prepared for the water splashes and a sudden downpour. Remaining in wet clothes is not a great idea.

Hence, when aboard a boat for a day, pack the following in your list of essentials:

  1. An extra pair of clothes.
  2. Ponchos or raincoats and umbrellas.
  3. Light jackets and sweatshirts in case the temperature dips and the cold breeze sets in.
  4. Plenty of towels to dry yourself when you get wet. You can pack them in plastic bags.
  5. Sailing gloves to protect your hands from rope burn, sunburn, the chill, and any other mishaps.
  6. Boat shoes: Wearing the normal footwear is not advisable when on the boat; boat shoes are specially designed with rubber soles and are made of canvas or leather. They have a siping pattern on the soles which gives these shoes a better grip on wet floors.
  7. Swimsuits: If you want to swim in the cool waters.

In fact, carry extra plastic bags to keep all your wet and used clothes.

Sun protection

You can’t afford the harmful UV rays to harm you when you are out in the open. So keep the following in your boat at all times.

  1. A good pair of sunglasses to protect from the glare of the sun; will also be helpful while fishing. Carry glasses straps to prevent the glasses from falling off your nose ( highly possible in strong winds)
  2. A wide-brimmed hat for protection from the sun. Include hat keepers too to prevent the hats from blowing away.
  3. Sunscreen lotions and creams with broad-spectrum SPF.
  4. A lip balm to prevent chapping a common occurrence when out in the open.


Be it a boat trip or a road trip, without carrying your favorite gadgets the trip is incomplete. But make sure that you have a waterproof cover for every one of these gadgets listed below.

  1. Camera: Memories are all that remain after any vacation or trip. A good camera, therefore, becomes one of the essentials on your trip. You can take along a waterproof camera; there are several reasonably priced models on the market.
  2. Cell Phones and IPad or music players: An absolute must to enliven the atmosphere on the deck. Just take care that you don’t drop them in the water.


When you are surrounded by water on all sides, it is better to be safe than sorry. The essential safety gear is listed below:

  1. PFD (Personal floatation devices): It is mandatory that every boat have a PFD for each member on board the vehicle.
  2. Fire extinguisher: Do learn to use the fire extinguisher because you don’t know when it might be needed because sometimes water is not enough to extinguish a fire.
  3. Visual distress signals (VDS): Ensure that the VDSs on your boat is in working condition. Also, find out about the VDSs specific to your boat.
  4. Marine radio: To reach out to the coast guard, marine patrol, or police in an emergency.
  5. High-quality boat box

The other important safety equipment includes:

  • Rigging knives
  • Heaving line.
  • Life vests with whistles
  • Radar reflector.
  • Strobes for lifejackets.

Finally, items needed for navigation

You might not need any tools for a trip by a known lake but when you are out in the ocean the following tools should be beside you at all times.

  • Logbook
  • Compass
  • Tide tables.

Label this list as the “the essentials to bring aboard for a day of boating,” and keep this list in your purse at all times. Armed with all the necessary items venture out on a day out on the river, lake, or ocean and come back a happier and contented soul.

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