Taking a long boating trip can be the adventure of a lifetime. The freedom of the sea air, the sunshine, the distance from it all; there’s a reason why so many people choose to buy and maintain boats, despite how expensive they can be.
However, boating adventures come with a lot of challenges. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill road trip; when you’re out on a boat, you’re truly out on your own. That same feeling of freedom from the troubles of the world can turn into isolation and trouble quickly. So it’s an excellent idea to prepare yourself thoroughly!
If you’re gearing up to take your boat out into the ocean blue, there are ways you can pack, train, and prepare that will minimize any risk to your and your companions. Here are some important steps to take before you leave the harbor.
Nothing takes the wind out of your sails quite like taking your boat out onto the water only to be pulled over. This kind of thing does happen, though, especially in crowded areas such as popular harbors.
For this reason, before you go out on the water, you should make sure that your boating license and registration are up to date. This kind of paperwork is the kind of thing that can slip people’s minds, and it’s not hard to understand why.
We use our cars almost every single day, but few use their boats nearly that often. And people still forget to renew their car tabs every year! Avoid the pain of having the trip of your lifetime cut short by updating your documentation before you leave.
And we mean you map it out. Use a physical map. GPS is on every smartphone in the world, and it’s even built into a lot of boats themselves these days. Because of this, you may be tempted to rely on GPS for all of your navigational needs.
This is a bad idea, though. Boating is unpredictable, and there may be times when your phone isn’t working or you can’t access it for some reason. Know what else is unpredictable? Cell service when you’re in the middle of a large body of water.
Mapping out your route ahead of time gives you an idea of the landmarks you need to look for when you’re out on the water. If you do so with a map ahead of time, you get the added benefit of practicing reading a map, which can come in handy later on when your phone isn’t working, and you’re miles from civilization.
Any good sailor knows that you can never have too much water on your boat (drinking water, that is). Despite the fact that you’re surrounded by water at all times, being out to sea can be surprisingly dehydrating. On top of all of the other problems it poses, dehydration is also a major contributing factor to seasickness. So make sure to pack as much water as you can comfortably store aboard.
This goes for food as well, especially non-perishables. A large part of boating is planning for the worst, and having extra food buys you the most important thing in case of a catastrophe: time. With extra food on hand, you can take your time finding solutions to any problem. You can even make your trip longer than originally planned! It’s always a good idea to have some extra food on board.
This is more of a fun one, but it’s important, too. If you’re going to be out on your boat for an extended period of time, you should make sure you’re going to be comfortable on board. After all, you want your home to be comfortable, right?
There are so many ways you can fix your boat up to be a little nicer. One of the easiest ways to improve your boat is to fix up your deck with something less slippery. For example, did you know they make marine carpet for boats? Upgrading your deck will mean fewer spills and falls and just a more comfortable experience on your boat.
You can also do things like adding more cup holders, adding weather protection, or even installing a serious sound system on your boat. You do want to enjoy your boating experience, right? So treat yourself a little bit! There will be plenty of roughing it in other ways.
One of the only major downers of planning a boating trip is that you have to think about what can go wrong. From running out of fuel to running into a storm, boating is as unpredictable as the sea itself. You never know what might happen to you out there.
Therefore, having a contingency plan is absolutely key to preparing yourself for your adventure. Things that you should consider doing include registering your trip with local authorities, which makes it easier to find if you miss your predetermined deadlines. You should also ensure that all of your life rafts and emergency equipment are in working order. Accidents do happen at sea, and they are not fun. Planning ahead can help prevent true disasters from occurring and give you the peace of mind that you know what to do in case of an emergency.
Boating adventures can be the thrill of a lifetime if you plan your trip well. No one wants to be stuck out at sea without enough food and without a way to get back to land. Boating can be dangerous if you aren’t fully prepared. However, if you plan ahead and prepare yourself and your vessel well, you could be in for some major fun.