Boating is fun, but at the same time, it can be dangerous. In case things turn south, you have to be prepared to respond accordingly. And in order to do that, you must have emergency equipment and accessories on your boat.
During your perfect day on the water, anything can happen. Your engine might stop working, or even catch fire. Your iPad might die and all of a sudden you have a kid clinging to your neck. That fire sounds attractive at the moment!!
You all know how quick the weather can change and a sunny day turns to January night within minutes. You have to be able to keep warm.
There are countless issues that can arise any given day so be prepared. Basic items can help prevent 90% of problems if you have the right equipment.
Below are some items that I never go boating without.
- 1 Emergency Equipment
- 2 Emergency Accessories
- 3 Less Important Items
- 4 The Conclusion
First Aid Kit
First aid kit has everything that you need in case of an accident. It is very easy to get hurt on the boat. You can slip on a wet surface, hit the rocky bottom while diving or get cut while trying to climb aboard so it’s essential that you have something on board to help you deal with that situation.
Seasickness is a very common occurrence on the water, you should be prepared for that as well. Motion sickness remedies article addresses this issue in more detail.
Just make sure that you but first aid kit that comes in a waterproof case.
A fire extinguisher is something that you probably won’t use, but it is better to be on a safe side. In case of a fire emergency, your reaction time can be the difference between life and death.
In case you get one, and you should, just keep an eye on the expiration date. I honestly don’t know how and why there is an expiration date, but there is.
Flare Gun And Air Horn
A flare gun is another must-have accessory on your boat. Luckily I have not had a chance to use one, but I’ve seen people use it in movies. Apparently, they work. Sometimes.
Jokes aside, this is a must have just like the fire extinguisher or the next item on the list. Chances are you wouldn’t use it on the lake since the shore is mostly relatively close, but in case you find yourself in the ocean, you have to react quickly.
Also while you are at it, grab yourself an air horn. Why air horn? Because it can help you avoid some dangerous situations, like a crash. You have to be able to signal the other boat that you are on a collision path. This is crucial if the fog comes down and you can’t see much in front of you.
Again, one more thing that is necessary for the most extreme situations. If you’ve got lost or your boat stops working, the personal locator will be your lifeline. I see many different forums, blogs where people speak highly of a personal locator. It saves lives!
If your boat stops working or if you are lost you can just send personal distress code and the rescue will come.
ACR ResQLink+ 406 GPS Buoyant Personal Locator Beacon from Amazon is the one I personally own. I like it because of its portable size, you can literately put it in your pocket and it’s waterproof too. You can, however, buy whichever you think is best for you, just make sure you buy at least one. You simply need to have these on board in case of an emergency.
If you find yourself in the water watching your boat sink, you better have a life jacket on. No personal locator will help you if you can’t swim. Life jacket, on the other hand, will keep you alive for some time.
There are too many choices to pick from here but you can grab a cheap one here.
I call these emergency accessories because they will not save your life but can definitively save your day.
A Portable Battery Charger
This is a must-have. These days when we are so dependent on electronics you simply need a portable charger. Being able to charge your electronics on a pontoon boat is priceless. It will save you a lot of headaches if you have kids.
You don’t have to buy the best onboard marine battery charger, but having one is important. There are a variety of options to chose from.
You can pick one just for smaller devices like a phone or a tablet. Or you can go with ones that have AC power and can jump-start a car. The choice is yours really.
I personally went with AIVANT AC Power Bank because a friend of mine has recommended it. So far I have no complaints and I like the fact that it has 4 USB ports. Can’t go wrong with that when you have a bunch of friend on board.
Duct Tape Or Electrical Tape
I sometimes think that everything can be fixed with enough duct tape! Well not completely true but I do use it a lot.
In many occasions, duct tape was extremely helpful. It makes sense because duct tape was invented during World War II. The U.S. military wanted waterproof, strong tape to keep moisture out of ammunition boxes. You want exactly the same thing on your pontoon boat. Not for ammunition of course.
Extra Prop And Wrench
In case that you damage your prop, you want to be prepared. I always bring an extra prop with me. It comes in handy.
It is convenient to bring props with you because you don’t need to store it in a garage. I’ve lost “millions” of boat parts in my garage, or my wife “accidentally” threw them away. Now, I have everything with me in my boat, and I still have plenty of room for everything else.
In case that props stop working you will definitely want to be able to fix it. You will need to readjust, tighten, or even remove the prop. Be well prepared for that. You don’t want to cancel your field trip because you don’t have proper tools. I have Yamaha prop wrench and I am also using it for different stuff. Prop wrench helps me untangling grass, reeds, or any other plants that tangle up on my boat.
I don’t know what it is with us men, but we just love tools. Plus how are you going to change that prop without tools?
The Home Depot is my favorite store. If I am bored or just want to get out of the house I go to Home Depot. And for some reason, I always end up buying something.
Most of the tools that I have, I have never used, they just sit there in case I need them for something.
I have a whole bunch of tools on my boat, honestly don’t even know what’s there. None of it is going to solve a major issue, but it can come in handy for that one-off situation.
Having a sharp knife is as much important as having a screwdriver. With a sharp knife, you can fix a lot of minor problems. I don’t have to point out how dangerous knives are, but if you hide it in a safe place, away from children and you don’t have to worry.
Knives are helpful in many different ways from fishing to repairing your pontoon boat.
Less Important Items
Power Snacks for much-needed energy
Power snacks are necessary for every trip. You don’t want to lose your power and be tired and cranky all day. There are many different snacks which can keep your energy level high. I love power snacks and I bring large bag every time I go.
Some of the snacks I bring are;
- granola bars
- protein bars
- dark chocolate
All these snacks will give you much-needed energy and it will prevent you from being hungry, cranky and sleepy.
Don’t forget WATER!
When you are boating, usually everybody forgets about dehydration problems. Even if there is no sun, or you are in the shade, make sure that you have a lot of water.
Especially if you have a busy day, swimming around, playing with kids, grilling, your body spending energy and is perspiring. Usually on the boat and in the water is colder, so you don’t feel dehydration coming. Water temperature is colder than our body temperature which makes it difficult to see the symptoms.
Bring A Map
No matter how good you know the water, you still need a map.
One of the most important things for being safe in nature is to know where you are. Water maps are useful for many reasons. One of the reasons is knowing the location. The other is knowing wake zones and speed limits.
The spotlight is a must for every fisherman or people who like to stay the whole day boating. When it gets dark, you don’t want to be lost in the dark.
With spotlight, you will get to the shore safely. You can choose between spotlights that can be attached to a boat or the ones that you can hold in your hand. Both work perfectly. I personally prefer handheld spotlight because they are mobile and can be used elsewhere.
Extra Clothes Or Blankets
Having extra clothes is very important.
I’ve learned this as a young kid going overnight fishing. I thought just because it’s the middle of the summer that I will be OK wearing short sleeves and shorts. Boy, was I wrong? Luckily, the fisherman I was with was generous and gave me some smelly old leather jacket to wear. I swear to God I smelled of fish the next 3 days.
There is no reason not have some clothes in your storage, especially since pontoon boats have plenty of room for everything.
And even if you don’t go overnight fishing, you just want to be comfortable. Having an extra blanket or a jacket will keep you warm.
Be prepared for all the weather possibilities on your boat, especially if you are spending the whole day, or even few days outdoors.
Basically, this is just a small number of emergency equipment and accessories that you need when you are going boating. You might opt out for additional items such as a marine GPS or a portable toilet.
Of course, everyone has own necessities and it would be best if you create a list for yourself.
It is important to think through all the things and all the little details because sometimes those details can make a big difference. You want to have a nice day outside. Avoid big problems with things that can be fixed easily by being prepared.