Picking your personal boating gear
Everyone knows a well-fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket is the most important piece of personal boating gear onboard, but what else do you need before leaving the dock? How will your gear protect you and provide comfort for a day on the water?
The weather will affect your personal comfort and safety, so dress accordingly. Pack personal gear that keeps you warm and dry on cold days and cool and dry on warm days. While the no-shirt look might be great for some, prolonged wind and sun exposure will damage your skin and eyes.
Before you hop onboard, be sure you have a hat, sunglasses, plenty of sunscreen SPF 15 or higher, and a long-sleeved shirt, especially if your boat lacks a Bimini or shaded area. Even if it looks a little funny, you should wear ahat that shades not only your nose but also your ears and neck for the best coverage. If you intend to go fast, make sure your hat has a chin strap.
A keeper cord for your sunglasses is also a good idea. How many of us have leaned overboard, looked into the water, and watched our glasses slide off our heads into the deep? It’s frustrating and costly.
Boat or deck shoes are essential because they provide better stability on a wet deck. They are specially designed to grip wet surfaces and will also keep you from stubbing your toes on deck gear. If you like to fish barefooted, you know that stepping on a fishhook is no fun.
Remember, your personal boating gear should be comfortable, but above all, it should keep you safe. –Jim Dunn
Feel at home on the water
Learn to boat with confidence by taking the Boat Handling course online from America’s Boating Club.