If youâ€™re new to boating, you may be asking yourself what you should take with you. Letâ€™s go over some recommendations to make sure youâ€™re totally prepared for your day out!
Legally-required items for boating
First, letâ€™s get the legally-required items out of the way. These are the items you absolutely have to have on your boat as required by the TWRA (check with your stateâ€™s Wildlife Resource Agency if youâ€™re outside Tennessee). Your boat registration card must be up-to-date and on board with the driver at all times; the same goes for your fishing license if you plan on doing some angling. The law also requires at least one personal flotation device (PFD, such as a life preserver or vest) and a sound signaling device in case of danger. Most boats also require a working fire extinguisher, the only exceptions being outboard boats under 26â€™ with external fuel tanks and sailboats with no auxiliary power.
Nobody likes to think of an accident occurring while enjoying a day on the lake, but itâ€™s crucial to be prepared in case anything should occur. Always keep a charged cell phone in case you need to call 911; even if you donâ€™t have service with your provider in the middle of the lake, you should still be able to make emergency calls. Bring a watertight floating container you can stash your phone and wallet in so theyâ€™ll be safe and above water if the boat capsizes. Keep a first aid kit handy in case of any minor injuries, and a tow line in case your boat breaks down or you happen upon someone else whoâ€™s stuck. If youâ€™re new to the lake, a GPS unit will come in handy if you get lost.
Boating items to keep you safe
Next, the obvious â€“ itâ€™s bright out there and you definitely need protection from the sun! Wear loose, long-sleeved shirts and pants, or if you plan on wearing shorts and t-shirts bring lots of sunscreen. Use at least SPF 50 to ensure maximum protection from harmful rays. And donâ€™t forget to bring lip balm with sunscreen in it! A day in the sun without it can leave you with painful burned lips. The lake turns into a big mirror on sunny days, so protect your eyes with sunglasses that block UVA/UVB rays. The hot sun can dehydrate you quickly, so be sure to bring lots of water for everyone on board. Mosquitos can be a problem around the lake in most parts of the season, so bring bug spray.
To make your trip a little more convenient, bring along towels, an extra set of clothes, hand sanitizer, and rain gear. These few items can make a world of difference on your trip!
Make your lake day one to remember
Finally, letâ€™s get to the fun stuff! KeepÂ precious memories of your days on the lake with a digital camera. Waterproof models are available so you donâ€™t have to worry about damaging your expensive electronics, or you can buy an inexpensive case for most models of cameras you may already have. If youâ€™re planning on taking a dip in the lake, be sure to bring a swimsuit and a float. If you plan on staying in the boat bring along a radio or Bluetooth speaker, or bring books and magazines for a quiet, relaxing day of reading on the water. Stock your cooler with enough drinks and snacks to make a day of it so nobody gets a rumbling stomach.
If all of this seems like a lot to remember, invest in a boat bag. Any sturdy bag, like a canvas tote or duffel, will do. Then when youâ€™re heading out for a lake day, just grab your boat bag and hit the water!