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things to take on a boat

12 Things You Should Bring On A Boat

Are you planning on setting sail into the sunset sometime soon? Perhaps you’re heading out for a weekend away on the boat?

Whether you’re planning a day trip or a multi-day boat trip, you’ve probably begun thinking about what you need to pack. Deciding which items are necessary can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

Any experienced boater worth their salt should have a pre-departure checklist they consult before setting sail. However, you may be new to boating and you’re not yet sure what to bring along. Or, perhaps you find yourself consistently forgetting things when you do head out.

Whether you’re new to the boating world or you’re an experienced boatie, we can help. Take a look at our comprehensive pre-departure list of the top things you should bring on a boat.

1. Provisions

There’s no doubt that food and water are going to be at the very top of your list. However, when it comes to spending a day or two on the water, you should always bring extras, just in case. Consider packing extra bottled water as well as plenty of food just in case you’re on the boat longer than you expect.

2. Your phone and GPS devices

take these things on a boat - gps

One of the huge attractions of spending a day out on the boat is the ability to disconnect from everyday life. However, it’s still a good idea to take your phone along with you. Your phone will come in handy if you find that you need to call for help. It can also be used as a GPS or navigational tool and a way to monitor the weather.

Read our guide to the best marine navigation apps in Australia

3. Emergency repair tools

Don’t let yourself be caught out on the water without some basic tools. Have a few basic tools such as a flashlight, duct tape, a screwdriver and a wrench handy. This will ensure that you have the basic tools to conduct emergency repairs if needed.

4. First aid kit

It goes without saying that if you are planning on spending time on the water, you should have a well-provisioned first aid kit on board at all times. Accidents can happen anywhere, at any time. Whether you’re spending the day swimming or wrangling up some fish, there’s always the possibility of injury.

5. Extra line

Extra line probably isn’t the first thing you think of when packing for a boat trip. However, you may need to lash things down in rough weather or tie up to a pier that has no line of its own.

6. An anchor and rode

Many people choose not to carry an anchor and rode with them. They may have no intention of dropping anchor on their trip. However, you should consider bringing an anchor and rode along anyway.

They’re considered important safety gear. They can fix your boat in position if something goes wrong and you need to be located and towed back to shore. They’re also useful items if you want to stay in one spot while having lunch.

7. Proper documentation

When it comes to spending a day or two out on your boat, you‘re required to carry the proper documentation. This documentation can include everything from your boat registration to your I.D. and boat license.

Are you were planning on spending a day out wrangling some fish? Then you will also most likely need to get a fishing license and have it with you on your trip.

8. A knife

Having a good, sharp knife handy can save you a lot of time and headaches. A common problem in boating is getting a tangled or fouled propeller.

Things such as seaweed, rope and fishing line have a habit of tangling around a propeller. Having a good sharp knife handy can be the difference between having to call for a tow or fixing the problem yourself.

9. Sunscreen

Even if it isn’t a particularly sunny or hot day, you should always wear your sunblock. Reapply often, especially if you have spent any time in the water. The Australian sun is notorious for causing severe sunburn on seemingly cloudy days. It’s also a good idea to wear a pair of UV sunglasses to protect your eyes. The glare off the water can be intense.

10. Dry bags

Dry bags are a fantastic way to store your electronics and important documentation. A dry bag can be something like a watertight container.

They’re often used in boating, kayaking, water rafting and other water sport activities. A dry bag ensures that if water gets into your vessel your important documents and equipment stay dry.

11. Cut resistant gloves

If you were planning on doing a day or two of fishing, then cut resistant gloves are an essential on your list. Any activity that involves handling sharp or pointy equipment such as knives or spears will necessitate the use of cut resistant gloves.

The ocean can often be unexpectedly choppy. One slip with a knife is all it takes to do some serious damage to your hands.

12. Emergency kit

An emergency boating kit is mandatory in Australia. However, the safety equipment that you will need on your boat will depend on a variety of factors. What state you’re in, the vessel type and what type of waterway you’re on are important. How far away you are from shore will also play a factor in the necessary equipment required.

Be sure to always check the laws and regulations for your state, before you head out on the water.


It’s also a great idea to bring along a music speaker and a board game or two to keep you occupied during the evenings. Bring along fun things like novelty floaties and snorkels etc if you’re going to be on the water for more than a day. And remember. Always wear a life jacket when you’re on a boat trip or participating in any water sports. The simple act of wearing a life jacket could save your life in the event of something going wrong.

These are some of the critical things to bring on a boat. Whether you’re spending a day on the water or a week, it’s vital to be well prepared. Being well prepared means that you can have the safest, most comfortable trip possible. Following a checklist with everything you could need is a great way to make sure that you aren’t forgetting anything important.

Once you have everything packed you can kick back and relax. Packing for a boat trip doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Instead of spending your time worrying about what to bring, you can focus on more important things. Such as finding the best fishing spots or the best snorkelling spots.

Related Reading

Cost of Owning A Boat in Australia

Boat Storage Guide

8 Best Boat Fishing Spots in Sydney

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