There are plenty of things you should remember to bring when heading off on a boating adventure, but there are also a few things that you’d be better off leaving behind. Certain items can create safety issues on a boat, while other things can just be a plain mess to clean up. Whether it’s your own boat or someone else’s, consider leaving these things behind when heading out for a day on the waves.
1. Shoes with marking soles
While shoes with dark soles are more likely to leave marks than those with light soles, you can test any pair of shoes to make sure they are non-marking and won’t leave scuff marks on the boat. Just draw a line with the heel of your shoe on a piece of plain white paper, and then check the paper to see if your sole left a mark. If you do not see a mark, you have non-marking soles. If you do see a mark, leave that pair behind.
2. Spray sunscreen
Pack a bottle of sunscreen or jar of clear zinc oxide to protect your skin from the sun while on the boat, but leave the spray sunscreen behind. When used on a boat, spray sunscreen can leave a slippery film on your deck, making falls much more likely.
3. Chocolate or other messy snacks
While certain snacks, like pretzel rods or grapes, are ideal for a day on the water, others aren’t. Be mindful of bringing snacks that won’t leave a mess behind. Two snacks you should leave behind are chocolate and cheese curls. Chocolate will melt in the heat, and cheese curls always seem to give you bright orange fingers that are bound to leave prints on boat upholstery.
Refrain from lighting up on the boat, particularly if you are a guest. In certain situations, such as at the gas pump, cigarettes can cause a fire hazard. Not to mention that most boat owners don’t want to have to worry about someone burning a hole in the seats or throwing cigarette butts overboard. Leave the cigarettes at home.
5. Unexpected guests
If you don’t own the boat and didn’t give the boat owner a heads up about bringing a friend, child, or dog, it’s best to leave any surprise guests behind. Since boats have certain capacity restrictions, you should be respectful of that and always ask permission before bringing along a guest on someone else’s boat.
Leave perfumes or scented body sprays behind, and keep in mind that it’s best not to apply them before going on a boat trip either. Perfume not only attracts bees and other pesky insects, but others who are along for the ride may not appreciate the scent in such close quarters.
7. Glass bottles or containers of any kind
Don’t bring along any soda bottles or glass containers that could shatter and leave small pieces on the boat deck. Glass can create a safety hazard, so opt for aluminum cans or recyclable plastic containers instead, and make sure you dispose of trash in proper receptacles at the dock.
8. Plastic grocery bags
These may seem like a good idea for transporting food and snacks at first, but once you empty out whatever you put into them, they are likely to fly off the boat as soon as a breeze kicks up. Help keep our waterways clean by leaving the plastic grocery bags at home, and use zippered lunch bags or cooler bags to carry food onboard instead.
Now that you have a list of things you should leave behind, don’t forget to think about the important things you need to have onboard. If you are a new boater, be sure to check with the U.S. Coast Guard to find out what safety equipment you are required to have onboard. Happy boating!