TIPS FOR BOATING: Vacation Planning When Taking The Boat Along
Published: Monday, June 4, 2018
By: Capt. Fred Davis
Families often acquire a boat and enjoy using it near their home. However, it is not often that the purchase also considers taking the boat along on a vacation. But, with a little experience under the belt, one will find that there are many destinations to choose, and the outcome of the venture will change if you take your boat.
If you decide to take your boat with you, the first thing to do is to have a family meeting to plan the trip. What activities will suit all family members? What area would everyone enjoy? How long of a trip can be made?
If fishing is an activity everyone will enjoy, then, as you begin to pack for the vacation, make sure rods and tackle are on board. They can travel in the boat, but be sure to lash the tackle boxes down. Throw lots of sunblock in a locker on the boat because, once out on the water, there is no opportunity to acquire it.
Of utmost importance to pack are PFDs for all family members. They, too, can travel in the boat in a proper PFD bag. Look them over first to be certain the sizes are right for all the youngsters who have grown since that last time they were out on the water. Check all fasteners. Make sure the zippers close easily and that the ties are strong enough to hold the jacket tightly on the person wearing it. Consider holding a “trying on” session before you pack them. Replace any that don’t fit properly or are showing signs of wear.
When you make reservations, be sure there will be room to park your boat or inquire regarding a marina where you could rent a dock. You should also make inquiries about the waterway you plan to go boating on — is there a fuel supply? Is the boat traffic heavy? How about water depths and currents?
Before loading your vehicle with the family and hooking up the watercraft, there are additional possibilities to consider. Foremost, is the trailer in good shape? There were several articles in the Spring Issue (Mar/Apr) 2018 that addressed what needed to be done; check the wheel bearings, tire tread, and air pressure, among others. Make sure you have a reliable spare and a jack that will serve your tow vehicle and the trailer.
If you take kayaks or paddleboards along, plan on wearing those life jackets while paddling because laws vary from state to state and they may be required. Be sure everyone uses the buddy system and does not go off on their own. If the youngsters have brought along their floaty water toys, keep a close eye on them because, even on the calmest day and waterway, wind can arrive and currents can move quickly.
This article first appeared in the Launch Issue (May/Jun) 2018 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.