Going on a boat trip is unique, exciting, and daring. It is an adventure by its very nature, regardless of where you choose to go or who you decide to take on this voyage. Still, how does one plan for a boat trip? What do you bring, who do you bring along, and how do you check if your boat is ready for the voyage? Here is a short list to help you out.
- Pick the right destination
First, you need to pick the right destination, but what is the right destination to begin with?
To start off, it depends on whether you are an experienced captain or not. First of all, you need to pick something within a safe range. Sure, accidents can happen everywhere, but let us not pretend that the proximity of the rescue team does not play a part in your overall safety.
Second, make sure that it is a place with relatively low boat traffic. Trying to sail into the Miami Pier will be a nightmare for someone who has never stirred a boat.
Then, do some research about the local landmarks and zone layout. Make sure to pick something that has no narrow channels, rapid currents, and low tides. Recent construction can also make things a bit more complex.
Also, keep in mind that boats do spend a lot. After all, this is a luxurious way to travel. So, you might want to pick the destination based on your budget. Also, this is not like traveling on the road, and your ETA will be less predictable. So, make sure you give yourself a bit more time. The longer the destination, the less predictable it gets.
- Pick the right company
While on a boat trip, you will spend most of your time confined to a very small space with one or few people. This is why it is so important that you get along well with them. Once you are out on the high seas, it is already too late, so make sure to carefully consider what it would be like to spend a week in solitary confinement with that person. If the thought of it drives you insane, you might want to reconsider.
First, you need someone who will have the same idea of a good time. A boat trip is a bit extreme for a lot of people. You also want someone who can lend you a hand, even if they do not know a thing about sailing.
Ultimately, remember that this is a journey that will take a while, so taking a person that you know well might be a far better idea than going with someone you have just met.
Of course, you could also plan to go out there alone.
- Know your boat
Another thing you need to do is get to know your boat. If you decide to rent a boat, ask some questions and do some reading. If buying one, do the research in advance but also keep track of all the repairs and upgrades made on the said boat.
The first thing you need to know is the boat safety equipment. This includes life jackets, flares, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers. It is very easy to forget some of these things since you do not have them in any other vehicle.
Then, you need to understand how the navigation equipment and charts work. No, it is not the same thing as reading the navigation on your phone. There is a lot more nuance and finesse, and you need to dedicate some time to studying it in depth.
Before you go out in the open, you need to ensure that the boat is in proper working condition. Check the fuel system, the engine, and the electrical systems before heading out. Sure, there is more to see here, but these three are your bare minimum.
- Pack appropriately
Another thing you need to understand is that going on a boat trip is not like a regular urban commute. It is more like a long road trip where, if you stop, you are stranded out in the middle of nowhere. You only have what you carry on you or pack in your vehicle, and the stops where you can resupply are never as close as you would want them to be.
The most important thing to bring is a communication device. Make sure to bring all electronic devices you have on you, as well as a power bank. Naturally, recharge all your devices before packing them.
When it comes to clothing, you need to take into consideration the region, the season, and your own itinerary. Naturally, you want a rain or wind jacket with you, but keep in mind that layered clothing gives you the most versatility. Also, bring a hat and a lot of sun protection.
Bring enough food and drinks to last you a while. This can come in as handier than you would expect.
- Prepare for the itinerary in advance
You must plan for everything in advance. Plan where you will stop and resupply. Make your bookings in advance and do your best to check your itinerary several times before setting sail.
Today, all of this can be done online. You could download a few nautical apps, check what boat enthusiast sites and subreddits have to say about your itinerary. There are a lot of things that you would have never guessed before setting out and that you will not be able to miss otherwise.
You are not a Columbus or a Magellan, you are not discovering any new sea routes. No matter what trip you intend to take, someone has already sailed it. Why not just read up on it a bit.
At the end of the day, traveling by boat is a unique experience for you and anyone who is lucky enough to be brought along. Is it riskier than a road trip? Not necessarily, only more unique and less common. The most important thing you need to think about is the preparation. If you do everything right in this stage, you are increasing your odds of having a truly amazing time. From that point on, you just have to be focused and mindful in order to stay safe.