We’re still a few months away from prime boating weather (unless you’re like us and live in Charleston, SC), but the winter months are the perfect time to get prepared for the hot season. There’s a lot to keep in mind when packing and stocking your boat to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip, and a wide variety of gear and accessories available on the market. To help you get organized and ready to go with some essential items, we’ve compiled a list of what to bring on a day boat trip to keep you happy and comfortable once you’re back on the water.
- Waterproof cooler: No one likes a soggy sandwich! To keep your goodies fresh and beverages cool, make sure to include one of these guys in your galley. There are a variety of size options to choose from depending on the size of your crew, but we recommend going bigger rather than smaller. The Yeti Hopper Cooler is a great option. These coolers are soft-sided but durable, provide lots of space and reliable waterproofing, and are guaranteed to keep your beverages cold and refreshing all day long.
- Dry sack: Nothing beats a full day of soaking up the sun and riding the waves, but it’s important to keep your post-sun-and-swim gear dry and cozy for the later hours. Dry sacks are useful for water protection and organization, but can be great for space saving as well. Earth Pak makes excellent, durable and sizable bags, including sling-sacks and duffels. Sea to Summit offers a variety of lightweight stuff sacks that are perfect for stashing in small spaces. Keep these stocked with whatever clothes you’ll want to throw on after your swimming and sunbathing.
- Boating hat: Protect that beautiful face! A good boating hat is vital to keeping your hair, skin and eyes as protected as possible during the hot season. Keep these handy for everyone in the family, and it’s not a bad idea to have extras. For ladies, we suggest the SindaWi Sun Hat, with a wide visor for full protection and a comfy space for your ponytail. For the guys, we like the Coolibar UPF Shapeable Wide Brim as a sure winner. It’s an affordable option with a comfortable neck strap, moisture-wicking feature, and a stylish shape.
- Polarized floating shades: Speaking of keep your face and eyes safe, a good pair of shades is an absolute must-have for all water-goers. Polarized lenses are important for eye protection (here’s why), and it’s essential to have style options to suit the entire crew. To keep your favorite pair from escaping into the waves, check out our polarized floating sunglasses, outfitted to stay afloat and in sight during your expeditions. And friends don’t let friends sink shades — an extra pair or two is always a good idea.
- Waterproof speaker: To maximize the good time vibes on any craft, it’s a great idea to have a reliable, waterproof speaker on board for your tunes and podcasts. Good for both down time and adventure time, setting your music mood is a must. The speaker market offers a lot of options for different price points. On the more affordable end, the Denon Envaya DSB-250BT is a good bet, with high-quality sound and all-day battery life. If you want to take it up a notch, the Rockville RGHR2 Marine Bluetooth speakers provide excellent volume, a wired remote and amp connectivity. Just make sure your set-up has a secure place to sit on board!
- Marine GPS unit: As any avid boater knows, navigation on the water is a vital component to getting the most out of any adventure, and to (eventually) getting back to land safely and easily. There’s a whole world of navigation tools to explore for your boat, but the wonders of modern technology have provided a wealth of compact units of incredible capability for easy use. Two of our favorites are Garmin GPSMAP 64st and the Standard Horizon HX870 Floating VHF. Both supply excellent display, large internal memory, and solid waterproof durability. These little powerhouses are worth the investment!
With hot, sunny days not too far off, the waters are calling and it’s time to start getting stocked for a full season of boating adventures ahead. Every adventure calls for a slightly different gear list, but keep this list in mind for the items that you’ll want to remember every time you head out to the water. Your crew will thank you!
For more boating gear, check out some of our other favorite boating accessories here. Other items you’d like to recommend? We’re always interested to hear what’s new. Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org!