Packing and Provisioning: What to Have on Your Boat
When you think of provisioning for a trip on your boat, food may be the first thing on your mind. While you certainly want to have plenty to eat and drink, there are many more items you should consider having on board — especially if you plan to be offshore for a long period of time. As you start planning for your trip, here are some items you may want to consider packing.
Basic Medical and Dental Supplies
Minor injuries are commonplace when you’re on a boat and out in the the elements, so it’s a good idea to make sure you are prepared for common incidents and accidents. You should have a first aid kit on board, including multiple sizes of waterproof bandages, sterile gauze, antiseptic, tweezers and scissors. Don’t forget medications, both prescription and over the counter, you may need.
Don’t forget to pack dental care supplies. In addition to a toothbrush, floss and toothpaste, it is a good idea to have pain reliever to treat a toothache in your first aid kit.
When traveling offshore, be sure to bring all your usual daily toiletries — items like shampoo, soap and cotton swabs. And don’t forget to bring plenty of toilet paper (be sure it’s marine-friendly paper so that it works well in your boat’s disposal system). Another handy tip is to bring along cleansing wipes for when you need to freshen up but conditions are not suitable for showering.
If there is an emergency while you’re on the water, BoatingSafetyMag.com says using your boat’s VHF (very high frequency) radio to call for help is likely the best option. Due to their strong signals and longer battery life, these radios are typically more reliable on a boat than a cellphone may be.
Even if your vessel is already equipped with a mounted VHF radio, having one or two spare handheld units could come in handy. They can be used while in the cockpit and on deck, or transferred to an emergency “go bag,” if necessary.
Any time you are on board a boat, there should be at least one personal flotation device available per person. Another safety item you may want to have on hand is a harness with a tether adhered to it, so you can clip yourself to the boat and be attached at all times.
An emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) is also a good item to have on hand, as it will transmit a distress call with your position to authorities when manually activated. If it is submerged in water, an EPIRB will automatically activate. The government requires EPIRBs to be registered so that authorities can quickly reach your emergency contact and learn about things such as the number of people on your boat and your intended route, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The clothing you will need depends on the climate where you are cruising, but comfort is of the utmost importance. It is helpful to have items which breathe well and dry quickly. Stay away from cotton, as it stays damp when exposed to water or even humid air. Breathable layers work best in cooler areas, especially if you need to put on foul weather gear. When you’re ready to head below deck, you can take off your gear and heavier layers easily.
Ideally, you should pack a set of clothing for every day of your trip. While it’s common to wear something more than one day, having additional clothing is important in case clothes get wet or salty and you do not have the opportunity to wash and dry them.
When you’re planning a boat trip, it’s important to make sure you have everything you’ll need on hand. Knowing what to pack can help you be prepared in case of an emergency and help ensure you have some basic comforts of home on board.