Getting your first boat is exciting. Just think of all the fun you’ll get to have. You’ll be daydreaming about your trips before you even tow it off the lot. But before you embark on any adventures, you’re going to need to make sure you have all the necessary supplies onboard.

Safety Equipment

The first thing to bring onboard your vessel is any boat supplies that can ensure your safety. This includes radios, navigation lights, fire extinguishers, and anything else you may need for a safe trip.

Registration & Documentation

Your state and local authorities will require different documentation and decals on your boat, so make sure to check with them and have everything you need. The best idea is to put all the paperwork into a waterproof pouch that you can store on board. This is similar to the waterproof pouches people usually store their smartphones and cameras when they go boating. While this is not a requirement, it is a good way to protect that crucial documentation.

Life Jackets

The next thing to bring aboard is life jackets. At the same time, you need to think about the number and size of the people on board your boat. If you’ve got kids or small adults, you’ll want to have some child-sized life jackets. Anyone wearing a bigger size than XL will probably be more comfortable in a big or tall life jacket.

First Aid Care

After getting the required things on board, it’s good to get basic first aid items. Think of items like bandages for small cuts and nicks, rubbing alcohol can be useful for disinfecting an injury to prevent infection. Depending on the activities you’re getting up to, you might even want to consider looking into tourniquets for sale to add to your first aid kit. Beyond this, you can often get a boating-specific first aid kit equipped with anything you may encounter aboard your vessel. Additionally, your state marine board may recommend some items that you will want on your boat.

Visual & Audio Signals

You’ll also want some way to signal for help if you find yourself in an emergency. Legally, if your boat is smaller than 16 feet, you’ll only need a distress signal at night. However, any boat larger than 16 feet will need one or more visual or audio distress signals, such as flags, smoke signals, or a distress flag. Your best bet is to visit your local boating supply store and pick up what they recommend.

At the end of the day, you want to make sure you stay safe aboard your new boat. By keeping all of these essentials on board, you can ensure that you and your passengers are ready for anything the waters throw at you.

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