Getting a small boat for the day is a favorite summer activity. Whether you’re hiring a boat locally or using your own, there is no better way of spending a hot summer day than by the water. Many holidaymakers use the boat as a quick and easy way to visit small places that would otherwise be inaccessible. Island hopping is a popular hobby in the Florida Keys, for instance, or on the Channel Islands in California. You can stop for lunch on an island, and travel to the next one where you can relax on the beach. It’s a fun way of killing time in summer.
As the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting travels, island hopping remains one of the few options available to holidaymakers who want to enjoy plenty of sea and sun while avoiding the crowds! Ultimately, foreign travel is not recommended for the time being. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fantastic and refreshing day island hopping in the US waters.
Yet, you need to prepare for a day out at sea. Needless to say, it’s a good idea to pack your face masks, as you never know whether you’ll need to make a last-minute dash to the shops. Boat owners always check their safety jackets and radios before their trip. If you’re hiring a boat, these will be pre-checked for you. Swimsuits are a must, of course! After all, what’s the point of being on a boat if you don’t refresh yourself with a quick dive? But there are essentials that holidaymakers often forget to get for their boat trip!
For everyone on the boat
If you’re taking relatives or friends with you, you need to pack for their needs on the boat. Think of it as parents planning for a trip. It’s your role to ensure that everybody will be safe on board, so you need to plan accordingly for their health and comfort.
Sun protection is a must at all time
You’ve probably taken your hat and sunglasses, but it’s worth checking that everyone else has theirs too. It’s best to waste a few moments before boarding to check that your passengers have sun protection than to worry about painful sunburns on the next day. Do you remember that face mask we mentioned? You may need it for last-minute trips to the shop. You’ll find plenty of reasonable hats and sunglasses in harbor stores.
You should also always bring a few bottles of sunscreen. The sun is reflected on the water, which makes sunburns more likely on a boat. Ideally, you want a high enough SPF, 30 to 50, for a day out on a boat. Remember to reapply regularly too!
Plenty of fresh water
You need to stay hydrated, especially in summer. On average, you should drink about 8 oz glasses of water every day. However, in summer, your body needs to replenish the water lost through sweat. During summer months, 2.5 liters of water is a good quantity to aim for. It will keep you hydrated and help your body regulate its temperature. Pets too need to drink more water in summer – yet not as much as people. In other words, you need to pack enough bottles of water for the whole day. As a rule of thumb, it’s good to get enough bottles for each passenger, including pets, and add a couple of bottles for good measure.
Sea sickness medicine
Sea sickness is a condition that happens in the inner ear. In theory, the inner ear, which is responsible for balance and motion, can lead to issues when the motion it registered is different from what your eyes see. A lot of people, for instance, experience motion sickness on public transport or while wearing a VR set. The same phenomenon causes sea sickness. It can happen for a variety of reasons, which means that some people can develop it in later years without having had any problem in the past. Therefore, if you’re island hopping, you should have some over-the-counter medications such as patches or pills that can prevent symptoms. Fresh ginger and peppermint can also help, so you may want to keep some ginger tea on the boat!
For the boat
If you are hiring a boat for the day, you shouldn’t have to worry about any of the following elements. However, if you’re taking your boat, you may want to run a last check before the trip!
Check the battery & engine
A boat trip requires engine and battery checks, just like a road trip does. If you haven’t used your boat in a while, we strongly recommend checking the engine for fuel, oil, and controls. You want the gears to operate correctly, which means ensuring that your hinges, hydraulic shafts, and steering cables are greased. The cooling system is crucial too: You want a good flow of water. Similar to car batteries, marine batteries need regular maintenance to last longer. However, an old battery will need replacing ahead of the trip as it loses its ability to hold a charge.
Every boat needs a fridge
You can’t go on an island-hopping trip without a fridge or a cooling box on board. At the peak of summer, you will need the fridge to keep your drinks fresh. Nobody will want to drink lukewarm water that’s been left in the sun all day long! We suggest packing a few snacks too in case you can’t find a restaurant open. You don’t want your passengers to get hungry during the day!
A GPS tracker
Would you go on a road trip without a GPS? The same principle applies to a boat trip. A GPS tracker can help you find the quickest or most scenic route to the closest islands. You’d be surprised to know that a lot of people tend to get lost only a few miles off the coast! That’s where a marine GPS can make a big difference. If you have enthusiastic anglers on board, most marine GPS have a fish finger technology, which lets you know how big and dense the fish population is!
Are you ready to pack your bag for a day of island hopping on the Channel Islands or in the Florida Keys? There’s so much to explore and so many spots where you can enjoy the sun and the sea in peace! Getting your boat ready for a trip you won’t forget is half the battle!