Some of us have already been on the water a bit this year, but as the weather gets better and schedules open up, the rest of the country will be eagerly joining in. That means it’s time to gather up the boat supplies and equipment that will help you make your experience better, from the boat launch to wherever you’re headed out on the water, then back again.
11 Common Fails with Boat Supplies, Safety, and Equipment + How to Avoid Them
You Don’t Have to Be ‘That Guy’ At the Boat Launch or on the Water
Just like travel troubles on land, not every situation is preventable, but there’s a reason we’re taught defensive driving when first taking the wheel. In that same spirit, it’s a good idea to do what you can to think ahead and work around potential problems that could keep you from enjoying the water. You don’t have to worry much or figure this all out on your own though because there’s plenty of wisdom to share from those who’ve seen a thing or two already.
With that in mind, here are the 11 most common avoidable troubles we’ve seen and how to curtail them.
Fail #1: Damage Caused in Transit to the Water
Usual Cause: Deficient trailering equipment and trailering processes.
Solution: Step up your game with your trailering process and the equipment you use. Consider Ott DeFoe’s trailering advice and also check your boat trailering equipment, especially ratchet straps, transom savers, Motor Stiks, and bow protection — even for your kayak. Also for the kayakers out there, we even have some cool new kayak carts so you no longer have to drag your kayak on land.
Fail #2: Forgotten Flotation Devices
Usual Cause: Not making PFDs one of the first things you always check and get.
Solution: Even though T-H Marine might not have these readily available at the moment, it bears repeating because PFDs and life jackets are the number one way to prevent injury when out on the water, especially for minors. At the very least, they can make sure to minimize the number of people at risk when someone goes overboard — wearing a PFD could mean the scenario is reduced to a laugh and use of the ladder instead of having to dive in for someone or having to quickly grab and effectively utilize a throwable, line, or hook.
Fail #3: Water Leaking Into the Boat
Usual Cause: Misplaced plugs (out of sight, out of mind) and not giving plugs priority in the process.
Solution: Establish good habits with making plugs one of the first couple things you take care of with every launch. Also consider keeping spare plugs because they can be easy to lose.
Need plugs? You can shop a variety of them here.
Fail #4: Subpar Safety Prep
Usual Cause: Not considering safety items that easily stow away and not installing simple products that increase safety.
Solution: Always keep critical safety items on the boat during season and consider installing a few simple safety products to help, too. Among other items from the list linked above, this includes items like a battery jumper, paddles, kill switch keys, grip pads / tape, whistles / horns.
You can also see a longer list of recommendations here.
Fail #5: Not Having Just-In-Case Multi-Purpose Gear
Usual Cause: Not knowing the options, recommendations, and not having a designated place for just-in-case boat supplies.
Solution: Consider keeping a kit on board that includes multi-purpose items like ropes, duct tape, tools (definitely consider the Boat Gadget multi-tool), a boat hook, etc.
Fail #6: Onboard Boat Supplies and Gear Getting Wet (and Moldy Over Time)
Usual Cause: Cheap zip bags or no dry storage containers or bags at all.
Solution: There are usually a few simple and inexpensive solutions suffice here, especially if you have phone pouches, document-holder key floats, and dry bags.
Fail #7: Lights that Don’t Work
Usual Cause: Outdated lights and wear and tear.
Solution: This can sometimes be as simple as getting some battery operated navigation lights and handheld spotlights or it can involve full lighting installs to cover needs for safety and legal boat operation (navigation lights, bow lights, anchor lights, etc). If you have questions about your setup, please feel free to contact us.
Fail #8: Docking Problems
Usual Cause: Worn out equipment or equipment not installed.
Solution: Keep fenders inflated and accessible and consider placement of bumpers, dock line, and cleats. Also consider lights that improve sight for the docking process.
Fail #9: Drifting, Dragging, and Struggling with Anchors
Usual Cause: Wrong type of anchor / anchor has inadequate holding power.
Solution: Though the weight of your anchor is important, don’t make that the only factor you consider. The design and holding power are really where you know if you have the right match for your boat and the body of water you’re on. Also, remember to check your dock line, chain, spring hooks, and quick-links to make sure they are still in good shape. If you're unsure about your anchoring at all, be sure to check this guide and the pointers it offers and look over the many anchoring options here.
Fail #10: Trouble with Unmarked Objects and Areas
Usual Cause: Putting off buoy placement until later.
Solution: Take a few minutes to put buoys in place for a number of purposes, whether you are marking mooring anchors, flagging submerged hazards, or keeping kids where they should be as they swim and play.
Fail #11: Dealing with Unintended Messes
Usual Cause: Nature may be beautiful, but it can make your dock, deck, and boat quite grimy and unsightly if you don't have the right boat supplies and time to clean up. Common culprits include seagulls, geese, bugs, pollen, tree matter, and various other forces of nature.
Solution: This may not be life or death, but it can be a dirty job and an embarrassing situation, especially when you're bringing guests out on your boat. Thankfully, you usually just need to keep some cleaning supplies on hand and ready to go. Some must-haves include a trusted spray solution, sponges, wipes, a good bristle brush, and maybe a dry bag of rags and paper towel kept in a hatch.
Get Boat Supplies and Equipment and Get Ready to Go
Nothing should stand between you and the indescribably-good feeling of getting out on your boat, so it’s time to check your boat supplies and equipment before the next outing. It could be the key to spending more time catching fish, getting more relaxation, and maybe even steering clear of mishaps that draw the wrong kind of attention.