Spending a day on the boat with your family has many advantages and good memories, but the best days happen because you planned ahead to make them happen that way. Here are the top five things we recommend you take along before you leave the dock:
Life vests: Safety precautions are first priority when you’re on the water, and life vests that fit everyone are at the top of that list. More than two-thirds of all boating fatalities are drowning accidents, and 90 percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. Life vests must be U.S. Coast Guard approved, and the laws of your state should be followed regarding the ages of children required to wear a life vest at all times.
Sun protection: Waterproof sunscreen is also important for a long day on the water in the sun, and even the best sunscreen on the market must be reapplied often. Also bring along hats, sunglasses, swim shirts and lightweight long-sleeved shirts if extra protection is needed later in the day.
Food and drinks: If you want to spend the bulk of your day on the water, bringing along snacks and cool drinks is also essential to avoid dehydration and exhaustion. Thinking ahead to reduce the amount of waste to handle on the boat is also a good idea, so we like to fill up the cooler with reusable water bottles and snacks such as fresh fruit and cheese packed in reusable containers.
Water Toys: When it’s time to jump in the water to cool off or to anchor in a quiet spot to relax, you’ll need the right toys to keep everyone occupied. Our favorite water toy is our RAVE Sports® Water Whoosh™, an inflatable water mat available in 10-, 15-, and 20-foot lengths. It folds up compactly to be tucked away easily on a boat, and comes with a hand pump so when everyone’s ready to jump on the water, it’s easily inflated. Whether you tether it to your boat with a rope or bring along two small anchors to secure it nearby, the family will spend hours playing slide and slip games, jumping, using it as a starting platform for water skiing or wakeboarding, relaxing, and swimming from it. They are manufactured with extremely durable commercial grade drop-stitch vinyl, so even the family dog can join in the fun! When everyone’s ready to motor back to the dock, simply deflate, fold up, and store away again.
Waterproof bag: Using a quality waterproof bag to keep towels, extra clothes, cell phones, cameras, and other valuables safe is always wise. The general mayhem of a day on the boat with the family can easily cause things to accidentally go overboard or get wet, and we’ve avoided many potential disasters by having a good waterproof bag for valuables and dry towels and extra clothes.