When you're preparing for your next summer water adventure with the family, don't forget to bring these essentials on your boating trip!

What to Pack for a Boating Cruise

There’s nothing better than heading out on a boating cruise. Whether you’re sailing on a billion-dollar yacht or enjoying family time on a cozy catamaran, the sun, sea, and fresh air can be enough to do anyone some good.

Of course, that’s only the case after you’ve figured out your boat cruise packing strategy! With limited space and an inability to pop into a shop to resupply during your trip, figuring out what to bring can be a headache.

Fortunately, if you’re not sure where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a simple boat cruise packing guide to get you started.

Basic Documents for Your Boating Cruise

First things first: you’ll want to bring a few essential documents. This includes the personal photo IDs of everyone going on board, as well as the boat registration.

You’ll also need to bring your license for operating the boat—unless you’re doing a bareboat charter, in which you’ll hire a captain. In addition, don’t forget to bring your fishing license if you plan to fish!

Health and Safety Equipment

No matter what kind of boat cruise you’re taking, it’s crucial to have certain health and safety essentials on hand. Here’s what to add to your list:

  • A life jacket for each person on the boat
  • Any extra GPS devices or navigational support devices, aside from the ship’s radio and navigation
  • A first aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Motion sickness patches or medicine
  • Insect repellent, depending on how close to shore you’ll be
  • Enough water and food for the trip
  • A dry bag for your wallet, phone, any other sensitive equipment

In general, it’s also a good idea to make sure that at least one person aboard the ship has undergone basic first aid and CPR training.

Weather-Dependent Clothing for Boating

Depending on the season, you’ll need to consider your clothing with care.

In the summer months, be sure to pack a swimsuit, towels, and some light clothes. You’ll also want to bring a light sweater or jacket, as it’s often cooler on the water than on land.

In the winter, pack plenty of warm clothes, including thermals for sleeping. You’ll also need to consider wind chill, so pack something to cover your ears and nose when on deck, as well as some warm gloves.

No matter the season, be sure to pack extra changes of clothes: you never know when you’ll get wet!

Fun Stuff to Bring on Your Cruise

Now that you’ve packed the essentials, it’s time to bring on the fun! Depending on your group’s ages, activity level, and interests, you may want to pack some or all of the following:

  • A good camera
  • A pair of binoculars
  • A playlist full of music
  • Water sports equipment
  • Books
  • Board games

Be sure to pack enough to make the most of your downtime as well as your anticipated boating activities!

Make Your Trip Memorable With These Boat Cruise Packing Tips

No matter where you’re headed or what time of year you’re planning to leave, the tips above can help you get the most out of your next boating cruise. From essential documents to safety items to fun activities, you’ll want to add all of these to your checklist as you prepare your next adventure!

Want more of the travel tips you need to know? Check out our other guides for additional insights.