Let’s face it, we humans weren’t built for survival on the ocean, so we have to do a few things to point the percentages in our favor…and by a few things, I mean properly stocking your boat. When it comes to stocking your boat, there are three boxes you need to check before you head out on the water: sustenance, safety and system.
So, say you run aground and you are waiting for a tow to get back to shore. Ample water and food (and even bug spray) can be a Godsend in this instance. Bringing a cooler full of your favorite beverages and snacks is always a good idea, but keeping non-perishable items on your boat – like a few packages of peanut butter crackers or a bag of pretzels and some bottles of water is also wise.
Not only is it required, but it can save lives to gear up for safety. You need a life preserver for every person on board, a fire extinguisher, a way to signal for help, a floatation device attached to a rope that you can toss to someone in trouble and it behooves boaters to have a VHF radio to call for help just in case you get into trouble and there is no cell service.
You can’t get home if your boat isn’t running. So last, but certainly not least, you need to make sure your boat is in good repair before you set sail. I know it sounds silly, but check your fuel too, and keep basic tools and replacement parts – such as fuses, a bailing device, filters, oil and back-up belts and hoses on board for all those what-ifs.