When it comes to the basic gear you’ll want for boating in a safe, legal, and fully operable way, we have a resource for that, but what about a go-to list of what you’ll want if you’re planning an extra fun day out on your pontoon or deck boat? Look no further because here are our suggestions for what to pack!
Checklist: Must-Haves for a Pontoon or Deck Boat Day Trip
Save This for Your Next Pontoon or Deck Boat Day Trip
On the one hand, there’s an important list of gear you must have to keep everyone safe, to keep you on the right side of the law, and to keep your boat moving. This list includes things like Personal Flotation Devices, gear that helps you signal for help, and stowable tools. But then there are the extras that can extend your time on the water by bringing more smiles and preventing frustrations. You can probably get through a boat ride without these latter items, but they can be especially clutch if you have passengers who may require a little more to keep them happy (not that we’d suggest kids or other family members could be difficult, of course).
Here’s how we pack to anticipate those situations, however they happen, so we can get longer, more enjoyable trips out on the water.
Your Checklist: What to Pack
🔲 Reboarding Ladder
Swimming isn't as fun if you have to struggle to get back in your boat, especially when there's plenty of jumping to do.
🔲 Garbage Receptacle / Stowable Waste Bag
It's easy to accumulate wrappers and bottles throughout the day, but less mess and litter is more fun.
🔲 Coolers, Beverages, and Snacks
As the Snickers commercials suggest, we're all happier when we've had snacks and stay hydrated.
🔲 Napkins and Surface Cleaners
Alternatively, some of us know some kids who will gladly stain clothing, seats, bimini tops, etc with Cheeto hands.
🔲 Floaties and Water Toys
For more fun and activities, the options are limitless.
Towels for drying, towels for shade, towels for covering up during a boat nap... They're always helpful.
🔲 Protection from the Elements
Sunscreen, chapstick, sunglasses, hats, bug spray — whatever helps you and passengers stay comfortable.
🔲 Action Cameras and Accessories
With so many options for wiring in and mounting, you can easily catch all the memories.
🔲 Portable Speaker(s)
Create your own soundtrack (or check out our playlist!)
For observing nature, aircraft flyovers, or a distant vibe-check of party cove — binoculars are a helpful pack-in.
🔲 Dock Line and Fenders / Bumpers
For tying boats together or stopping along the shore, dock line and fenders are what you need to secure your spot.
🔲 Anchor(s) and Anchor Line
Keep your place along the shore and in deeper waters.
🔲 Pet Gear
Portable water dishes, lifejackets, toys, chews — keep Fido refreshed and happy like any member of the family.
🔲 Beach Equipment
From chairs to beach toys, portable grills, and more, be ready for any sandy shore stops along the way.
Get Some Help Gearing Up
For many of the items you’ll need during the next outing, check out the list below and make sure you have your Boating Essentials covered, too!