After owning our boat for almost a year now, I decided to write this article to provide you with insight into the items that my family has found useful while boating.
Some items are no-brainers to purchase but others have come with trial and error.
When we first bought our boat, we had several friends provide recommendations on what boating essentials have worked for them and what items they could do without.
Meaning, it was a total waste of money.
One thing I like to do is save money and share those savings with others. So hopefully this list will help you save a little meaning, even after you've made the plunge of buying a new boat. Congratulations by the way!
I hope you find these few essential boating accessories helpful as you learn the seas in your new boat.
We approached outfitting our boat by using the following four categories:
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SAFETY COMES FIRST
The first thing we equipped our boat with were items in the safety category. This includes personal safety items as well as technology for the boat that helps keep our family safer while boating.
First and foremost are personal flotation devices. There are so many life jackets on the market with different fits and fabrics, so choose something that works for your family.
We took our children to a well-known boating store to be fit for the correct size and to have them feel the different fabrics. We didn't want them to complain when wearing a life jacket so we let them choose the fit and feel of their life jacket.
I'm happy to report that we have not had any complaints about wearing a life jacket. It's something that is expected when they board the boat. We also keep extra life jackets aboard the boat too.
We also have a throw floatation device that we keep close by (Protip: It can be used as a float when you forget yours at the house).
Having a fire extinguisher on a boat is essential to have in the event of a fire, safeguarding the vessel and the safety of everyone on the boat. This is the fire extinguisher that we mounted on the head of the boat (check your boat's specification on what size/how many fire extinguishers you need to keep aboard). We all know where the boat's fire extinguisher is and how to use it.
There is so much boating technology now, it can be overwhelming. We recently vising the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) and we learned about the latest and greatest technological advances in the boating industry.
Although it can be overwhelming looking at all of the booths, we came across a radio that has the capability to call the U.S. Coast Guard. Some boaters double up on technology, such as having a built-in radio, satellite phone, and hand-held coast guard radio.
You can never be too safe when you're out on the water.
This category is more of my jam since I'm a natural organizer. I like to keep everything in its place and tidy.
Every boat will differ from the compartments that are on board, so take advantage of those nooks and crannies.
The kids are in a routine that when they board the boat, they know which dry storage area to keep their shoes in. They also know which compartments hold the extra hats and sunscreen.
Here are a few essential boating accessories on the market that might help with keeping your boat organized:
Storage bag for your boat's T-Top or bimini top.
Yeti buckets for cleaning supplies (we keep two aboard our boat).
Ships log book to keep track of maintenance and trips.
Regularly maintaining a clean boat not only enhances its appearance but also preserves its structural integrity, extends its lifespan, and ensures a pleasant and hygienic boating experience for all. Therefore, we like to keep our boat clean.
We keep pool noodles on the boat that help with air circulation and to keep things from getting moldy.
For example, we keep a large cooler on the boat and when the cooler is not in use, we prop it open with a pool noodle that has been cut. You can pick these up at the dollar store.
Garbage aboard a boat will happen and I absolutely love this trashcan topper that fits perfectly over our Yeti bucket. This has been one of the best purchases for the boat. No more trash moving around.
Remember everything should have a place on the boat.
Keeping the boat clean is another task that we all help with. Salt Away was recommended by a boating friend and it really helps keep our boat spotless which makes cleaning the boat quick and easy.
If you're not having fun on your boat then you're not boating. We love our boat and we love spending time together as a family. Therefore, spending time with our kids means doing things that they enjoy doing and they love fishing.
Living near the Gulf of Mexico means that we can go deep-sea fishing and we always keep a few poles handy.
We have several fishing poles on the boat and it's always fun to reel them in!
We also travel with different floats because we like to pull up to secluded beaches and have fun in the water. This raft (we call it a mermaid tail) and this portable hammock raft are super easy to store on the boat.
I can't say enough about our Dock and Bay towels. We love them! We use them for boating and for traveling on vacation. They are super lightweight, dry fast, and don't retain water. Sand falls off of them and I love how easy they pack up. Plus they have several colors to choose from. We even buy them as presents because we love these beach towels so much.
When you are having fun in the sun, you want to document your fun adventures. We keep a small camera on us when we travel.
Sometimes I don't want to risk my phone getting wet when I'm swimming to shore so I put my phone and electronics in dry bags which help get them to shore without getting wet. Plus they are just great to keep on board in case it starts raining. You never know about Florida weather.
Boating offers a world of exhilarating and enjoyable experiences for individuals and families alike. Whether it's boating across the beautiful blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico or embarking on thrilling adventures along the Atlantic, boating provides a unique and fulfilling way to connect with nature and create lasting memories.
Here are five tips for boating safety:
Wear Life Jackets: Always ensure that you and your passengers wear properly fitted and Coast Guard-approved life jackets while on board. Accidents can happen unexpectedly, and life jackets can be crucial in saving lives, especially in emergency situations or if someone falls overboard.
Check Weather Conditions: Before heading out on the water, thoroughly check the weather forecast for your boating area. Avoid boating in inclement weather such as storms, high winds, or foggy conditions. Sudden changes in weather can pose significant risks, so it's important to stay informed and plan your boating trips accordingly. Check out the app store for special boating apps related to tides/currents and wind.
Practice Safe Speed and Navigation: Observe and follow the speed limits and navigation rules specific to your boating area. Excessive speed can lead to accidents and collisions while disregarding navigation rules can put you and other boaters at risk. Maintain a safe speed and always be aware of your surroundings to prevent accidents and ensure a smooth boating experience. We say "slow is pro".
Maintain Proper Boat Maintenance: Regularly inspect and maintain your boat to ensure it is in good working condition. Check the engine, fuel, electrical systems, and safety equipment before each outing. Additionally, familiarize yourself with basic troubleshooting techniques and carry essential tools and spare parts in case of any mechanical issues while out on the water.
Communicate and File a Float Plan (for longer boating trips): Inform someone on land about your boating plans by filing a float plan. This plan should include details such as your intended route, estimated time of return, and emergency contact information. In the event that something goes wrong or you fail to return as planned, having a float plan in place will assist search and rescue operations in locating you quickly.
Remember, prioritizing safety while boating is crucial to ensure a pleasant and incident-free experience. By following these additional tips and practicing responsible boating habits, you can enjoy your time on the water while minimizing risks and maximizing enjoyment.
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Hello! I'm Tiffany, a creative travel writer, mother to three awesome kids, and Floridian. We like to visit beautiful Florida resorts and beaches, Florida State Parks, and explore destinations by boat. I like to write about our travel adventures and provide Florida lifestyle tips to other families traveling or living in the Sunshine State.