Boating Day!

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Plan Ahead for a Primo Day

By Deena C. Bouknight

With a 78-square-mile lake nearby and the coast within a few hours’ drive, there are thousands of boating enthusiasts within the Midlands. A day of boating is tons of fun! Simply allot some time for a little pre-planning.

Avoid throwing a bunch of stuff in bags and coolers the morning of. Make a list, depending on number of people, activities, length of time, etc. To make the boat trip even more enjoyable and memorable, pack some interesting items that are not typically used and consumed at home. Some suggestions are these:

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– GoPro! Film candid videos, as well as activities such as skiing, swimming, snorkeling, and fishing

– Bluetooth speakers and a festive summertime playlist for dancing or impromptu karaoke

– Several floaties… especially if boating on a lake. (There are easy-to-store items called Lazy Bunz, water mats that hold lots of people, and even an inflatable slide for the side of a boat)

– Bag of books

– Food that is easy to eat with fingers or minimal disposable utensils and packs easily in a cooler. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Individual layered salads (fruit or veggie) in plastic cups with lids
  2. A sealable snack tray of cheeses, deli meats, fruit, and cut veggies
  3. Chips and salsa; wrap sandwiches; barbecue on rolls
  4. Baked or fried chicken; and, a tub of cole slaw.

Plus, containers of pre-made salads, such as chicken, egg, tuna, or shrimp, are easy to keep in a cooler and can be eaten on bread, with lettuce, or with crackers. Many restaurants in town sell these salads in varying sized containers. For dessert, bring a range of cookies that will not easily melt or crumble, which will make it easier to keep your boat deck clean!

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Have plenty of individual water bottles, but also diverse and interesting drinks. Make easy to consume drinks that are disposable (pack a giant trash bag the night before). Cut up lemons, limes, and orange slices and store them in a sealable bag so that they can be added to any beverage for a refreshing twist.

A quality cooler, even though pricey, is worth its weight in gold on a boat. No one wants to drink warm beverages or eat food that is sopping from melted ice.

Don’t forget… sunscreen! Avoid frying on the boat all day by making sure a bag with plenty of sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses is on hand.

Boating is loads of fun, but can also be hazardous – especially during summer months when waterways are congested and temperatures soar.  Not to worry. The goal is fun! Just be prepared with a properly stocked ditch bag.

A ditch bag is a compact floating bag designed to hold critical items boaters may need in case of an emergency. Instead of just sticking items here, there, and everywhere on a boat, a ditch bag keeps necessities together to grab and go. Plus, a ditch bag is reassuring to boat owners and passengers alike; emergencies are prepared for, even if they never come.

There are several ditch bag do’s to consider:

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  • Start with a real ditch bag – not any ol’ freebee logo bag will suffice. It needs to float, and have plenty of pockets and storage compartment to keep items organized. It should also seal well. A fully-loaded bag should not sink or take on any water. It should also be a bright color and feature reflective tape. Reflective tape can be purchased separately and attached if necessary. Plus, an adequate ditch bag will have a tether and a clip so that it will not float away.
  • Invest in a quality radio beacon, which alerts the Coast Guard of the boat’s GPS position, especially if planning outings in the ocean.
  • Long-lasting lights, such as clip-on strobes and/or flashlights
  • Flares and/or chemical glow sticks
  • A hand-held GPS device
  • A whistle or other noise-making devices
  • Drinking water pouches that store flat
  • Emergency food rations, most important if boating in the ocean
  • Duck tape
  • Knife
  • First-aid kit.

Depending on the level of recreational boating and location, there are other items boating specialists recommend for a ditch bag. And, what is in the ditch bag does not discount what else should be on the boat for safety purposes, such as plenty of life jackets and a bucket or some sort of bailing device or pump. If a boating novice, it is a smart idea to consult with a local marina and other boating veterans to learn additional ditch-bag and general safety suggestions.

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It is better to be safe than sorry and invest in a well-planned ditch bag that will hopefully never be used.  A primo day of boating enjoyment awaits with just a little forethought and organization. Anchors aweigh!

 

 

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