11 Things You Must Always Have on Your Boat


There are certain things the law requires you have on your boat and other items not mentioned by the law, but extremely necessary for an avid boater. I have had to learn many lessons over the years. On various occasions, I have been out on the lake, in my boat wishing I had a piece of equipment that was far away in the trunk of my car. To avoid events like this recurring, I developed a list of “must have” items that should always be on board.

Emergency Signal Flares

One of the essential rescue items, when stuck on water, is the signal flare. A good signal flare should give off plenty of light and smoke so that it can be at any time, be it night or day. This will help you get help whenever you’re stranded.


The life jacket, throw cushion, and flotation safety gear are arguably the most vital accessories to have on board. Each person aboard a boat must have a life jacket. Buying life jackets in packs like these is the best way to go about it.
Another must-have is a good throw cushion. In several states, it is required to have a throw cushion on the boat.

A Change of Clothes

Sitting for long in a wet swimsuit has to be one of the worst things! You will need a pair of dry clothes to wear home after a fun and exhausting day in the sun. For comfort, you can even pack extra undergarments and a pair of comfy sweats to wear on the ride home.

Cell Phone

With the age we’re in, someone on the boat is bound to have a cell phone. This is crucial for one reason: in case an emergency occurs. Almost everyone has a cell phone, so ensure that there is one on the boat before leaving.  I usually switch mine off to avoid disturbance and seal it in a zip-lock bag, so it doesn’t get wet.


Like towels, water can never be too much. You need water – particularly in the hotter months -- to keep you satisfied and hydrated. It’s even better when you pack some into a cooler that’s filled with ice (very refreshing) or a water bottle that’s insulated.

A Paddle

The best thing to have if you want to get to shore after your engine stops is a paddle.
To ensure that you are covered and to avoid taking up too much space, it’s ideal to buy two folding paddles.

First Aid Kit and Safety Kit

You need to be covered just in case there’s an injury aboard. Be sure to get a kit with a good solid case and fill it with enough supplies. The first aid kit has so many features to it, and this makes me a fan of it. 
You will have to make your first aid kit as there are not enough safety kits for boats. Here is a list of items one should consider having in the safety kit.


A good long rope always turns out to be useful on a boat. A rope has various uses, including situations where emergency towing is needed. For less than twenty dollars, you can find a good rope at any large hardware store.

Fire Extinguisher

If you find that your boat does not have a fire extinguisher, you need to get one immediately. You shouldn’t buy just any model, but make sure it's a marine fire extinguisher.

Flashlight or Headlamp

You may find yourself in the dark, you never know. Despite having a flashlight that works great, I wouldn’t trade it for my headlamp. You can get a good strong one for as little as 15 USD.

A Sharp Knife

From cutting off unwanted ropes to cutting up bait, a good, sturdy knife is vital for every boat. Ensure that your knife is always in its sheath and store it a spot that is safe and not within children’s reach.

Other Items

Include duct tape, a basic tool kit, trash bags, and air horn and whistle, flares, goggles, sunscreen and bug repellent, zip ties, towels, and a VHF radio. All these can be gotten from stores around you. However, it is advisable to get boat accessories from certified boat stores. And keep these items on the boat; ensure that they are in a storage box that is dry. Most of these items have multiple uses.

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