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Picture a great day on the water. You’re out in your boat with friends or family on a beautiful day with calm waters. Maybe you’re fishing for dinner, docking at your favorite marina for lunch or cruising lazily as you enjoy nature.

As boaters know, a great day on the water takes a little bit of preparation. Safety and enjoyment go hand-in-hand, so it pays to do some planning ahead of your outing.

Here are some tips to have a great day on the water:

  • Check the forecast. The National Weather Service provides detailed marine forecasts for your area, including wind speeds and wave heights. You can find out if there’s a small-craft advisory, which indicates rough seas. Fact is, the sun could be shining but strong winds can create large waves that can upset passengers prone to seasickness. The marine forecasts are available here.
  • Safety equipment. Be sure you have the required number of life jackets with minimum buoyancy, especially if children will be on board. Other safety equipment includes fire extinguishers, lights, distress signals and marine radio. A toolbox with spare equipment such as light bulbs and a first-aid kit are essential. The National Marine Manufacturers Association publishes a helpful pre-departure checklist here.
  • Watch the sun. Sunshine is a great source of vitamin D, but getting sunburned is no fun. Be sure you have sunscreen available for all your passengers and apply liberally before you leave the dock. If you are going to be swimming off the boat, it’s a good idea to buy sunscreen that doesn’t have ingredients that harm the marine environment. For example, Stream2Sea makes environmentally sunscreens that do a great job of protecting your skin and the reefs. Consider clothing that offers UV protection, too.
  • Stay hydrated. It’s easy to quickly get dehydrated while you’re on the water, so be sure to pack plenty of drinks and salty snacks. Sports drinks are good because they replenish minerals that you lose when you sweat. Make sure the cooler is full of ice too.
  • System check. Nothing can ruin a great day on the water more than getting towed back to the marina. For example, the in-house technicians at Fish Tale Boats can make sure your vessel is in perfect condition for a fun day on the water. Fish Tale’s mobile technicians can be dockside with a quick phone call to fix most issues. Twice a year, run through this checklist to make sure your boat remains in tip-top shape.
  • Get familiar with the area. Whether you use nautical charts or GPS technology from manufacturers such as Garmin, become familiar with the area where you’re boating and check with local maritime authorities for any navigational hazards. Check with the U.S. Coast Guard for local notices for mariners here.

Visit Fish Tale Boats in Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, and Naples or call us at 239-309-2831 to find out how we can help you plan great days on the water.