Have you been invited on a cruise? Here is a packing list that keep you safe and secure the fun.
Remember to tell at least one person where you are going and when you are expected to be back.
Quick checklist for boat trips
- Warm comfortable clothes
- Shoes and/or boots suitable for sailing
- Life vest or life jacket
- Dry bag
- Cell phone
- First aid kit
- Money or/and credit card
- ID and other personal papers
Warm comfortable clothes
It is always colder at sea, so: Always expect the worst of the weather at sea.
If you fall overboard you will need dry clothes, so bring clothes for a complete change.
Shoes and/or boots suitable for sailing
All the shoes and boots you bring on a boat must have flexible soles and be non-slip even if the deck is wet.
A pair of comfortable sneakers and a pair of soft wellies (rubber boots) is sufficient. You don’t have to buy expensive sailing shoes or boots for a daytrip or a vacation at sea. But bring extra socks to keep you warm.
Some captains don´t like it if you bring shoes you have used on land at their boats, so ask if you should change footwear before you step onboard.
The salty environment at sea can make you very thirsty, and the sun can be unbarring out there. Make sure to bring at least double your daily ration of liquid. This is also to make sure you do not dehydrate if something unexpected happens, and you have to stay at sea longer than planned.
As with water you need to prepare for the worst situation, and bring food and snacks for double the amount of time your cruise is planned to be.
Bring foods that are easy to handle, even if the weather gets rough and the boat rocky. And foods that are ready to eat without being cooked.
Life vest or life jacket
Does the captain have a life vest for you, or are you expected to bring it yourself?
Life vests have to match your weight and chest size, so you have to ask specifically if there is one that will fit you. And you should wear it for the duration of the trip. If there is any doubt about your safety, you should not go, but bring your own and be safe.
Life vests come in different qualities, and the buoyancy has to fit your purpose. 50N is for swimming or kayaking close to shore, while 150N is more appropriate for a day trip on a sailing boat. If you bring a toddler, make sure the vest is suitable for a child with a diaper. A diaper will float and keep the baby’s head underwater, so this is very important.
The sun at sea can be very hard on any skin type, so make sure to bring a high SPF sunscreen and reapply often
You never know when it will be time for a nice swim. At sea swimming can be used as a bath, so make sure you are ready to take a dip.
Sunglasses are a must. The water reflects the sun and the best sunglasses for sailing are unfortunately not the cheap ones. We don’t want to expose ourselves to a lot of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and need performance eyewear. Here is a guide to the best sailing sunglasses on ybw.com
Towels are not only for use after a swim, they can also be used to keep you warm, remove damp or any humid that could appear during you trip.
You can use them for suncover and much more. So make sure to always bring enough towels – even if it is only for a couple of hours at sea.
A dry bag is a very useful thing on a boat. You can keep all your electronics, credit cards eg. in it, and even swim with it, if necessary.
You really should bring a phone for security, and remember to call or text your contact at home, when you are back ashore.
A smartphone has many advantages for sailors. You can install apps for navigation, Ais and weather forecast on it, making your trip a lot safer.
First aid kit
Ask your captain if there is a first aid kit or bring one yourself. For a day trip, a small one from your car is enough. If you are going on a longer trip, this item on the list needs more research. Remember, you can´t call for quick help on the ocean.
Money or/and credit card
You really should bring some money or a credit card, if you need to make an emergency stop somewhere due to heavy weather or if something on the boat brakes.
ID and other personal papers
Alway bring your ID and other papers like social security card, passport, insurance number eg. Put it in your dry bag and forget all about it. It is just in case something unforeseen happens and you need medical care or maybe a flight home.
Ask your captain these questions before packing
Also make sure to ask you captain important questions like:
- Does she or he hold a sailing license? (if not, find another captain)
- Is there room for a big bag with all your stuff on the boat?
- How is the weather predicted to be?
Before you leave the dock
Make sure you know what is expected from you. Will the captain need your assistance, or can you be appointed a spot on the boat, where you are not in the way during maneuvers?
What happens if someone fall overboard?
Make sure your or the boats insurance plan cover, if anything unforeseen happens.
Have a nice sail and lots of fun!