a boat on the water with a sunset in the background

What to bring on a boat day trip

Adventure 2 min read

Spending a bright, sunny day sailing the open seas is fun. But there’s nothing worse than getting underway only to realize that you forgot some essential things you need on a boat. Guests get grumpy when they’re hungry. And the Coast Guard doesn’t mess around when it comes to personal flotation devices (PFDs).

To help you avoid turning back mid-cruise, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of what to bring on a boat trip for a fun, safe day on the water.

Boat trip packing list

Safety equipment

This is easily the most important category on your packing list for boating. You will likely already have boat safety equipment on board, but it never hurts to double-check — just in case. Don’t forget to take a guest headcount, check the weather, and follow life jacket rules when boating.

  • Airhorn and whistle
  • Compass, maps, and GPS
  • Fire extinguishers and flares
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Life jackets (1 per person)
  • Throwable life ring and boat hooks
  • VHF radio and binoculars


When in doubt, add plenty of water to your boat trip packing list. All that sunshine and salty air can lead to serious dehydration! If you’re planning on a longer trip, you’ll want to have some extra goodies onboard, too.

  • Beverages and extra water
  • Food and extra snacks
  • Ice and icepacks
  • Utensils, plates, and bowls


Conditions on the water can change from minute to minute, so you’ll want to be prepared. When creating a boat trip packing list, keep weather conditions in mind because getting a serious sunburn or freezing your you-know-what off is no fun!

  • Aloe vera, sunscreen, and bug spray
  • Anti-nausea medication
  • Towels and blankets
  • Extra layers of clothing
  • Hair ties and lip balm
  • Hats and sunglasses

Items for cleanup

Any boat captain worth her salt has an onboard waste management plan. Designating garbage and recycling bags and keeping plenty of napkins, rags, or paper towels handy will make post-cruise cleanup much easier.

Miscellaneous items

Bringing games, floaties, and good music aboard guarantees that you and your guests have a great day on the water.

  • Bathing suits
  • Music and camera
  • Card or dice games
  • Floaties and water games

This boat packing list should help you make sure that you bring everything you’ll need on your boat trip from snacks to life jackets to make your voyage enjoyable and safe.

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