What to Pack for a Day on the Boat: 10 Things You Need

What to Pack for a Day on the Boat

So you’re headed out for a day on the water, but you don’t know what to pack for a day on the boat.

By Brand Ambassador | September 8, 2021

So you’re headed out for a day on the water, but you don’t know what to pack for a day on the boat. Whether you’re cruising around the Gulf or motoring through lakes, canals, or rivers, having the wrong supplies can sink your trip before it gets started. 

Having a successful boat trip is easy once you know what to pack for a day on the boat. The most important items are things you usually have on you, like your I.D. or your phone. Everything else that you should pack can be personalized to you and your boating companions to make it the best boat trip ever. 

How Do I Make My Day on the Boat Fun?

How Do I Make My Day on the Boat Fun?

The best part about boat trips is that they focus on what you and your boating companions enjoy and where you all want to go. If you want to spend the day hopping from marina to marina and checking out the local restaurant, that’s definitely possible. If you’re going to spend the whole day out on the water just cruising around and taking in the scenery, or you just want to stay in one place and fish all day, that’s totally doable too. 

Boating is a great way to explore the water at your own pace, and there are many places, like North Captiva, which are only accessible by boat. These areas provide an additional adventure that you wouldn’t be able to experience without a boat. Your boat trip is what you make of it, so let’s make it awesome. 

10 Things You Need to Pack for a Day on the boat

Packing the right things is the best way to ensure you have a great day on the boat. Whether you’re planning to rent a boat while on vacation or you’re bringing your own, having the right supplies is essential. When it comes to things like the First Aid Kit, or the food you pack, it’s always better to overpack than under-pack those items. 

A Fishing License

If you plan to fish during your day on the boat, you’ll need a fishing license. Depending on where you’re looking to fish, there are a few different types of licenses, a freshwater license or a saltwater license. If you’re unsure of your fishing location, you can get a combo license as well. Check with your local Tax Collector’s office or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for the most up-to-date information. 


A driver’s license is necessary for anyone who is planning to drive the boat. If you’re renting, the boat rental company may have their own restrictions/requirements for their drivers. Additionally, the FWC requires that all boat drivers pass a boating safety course, which can be completed online or in person. There are also temporary boating licenses available for Florida visitors. 

Life Jackets

A properly fitting life jacket is mandatory for each person on your trip. Many boat rentals will provide these for you, but it is your job to make sure they fit all members of your party and you know where they are before departing for your day on the water. 

Your Cell Phone

While one of the great things about boating is that it allows you to disconnect from the world for a short time, your cell phone will be helpful for many things while out on the water. Your cell phone can assist with everything from taking pictures to playing music to navigation.

Also, make sure you bring a portable phone charger with you so that your phone remains fully charged throughout the trip. 

A GPS Device

A GPS device is a must to keep you on course and prevent you from getting lost. Some boats come equipped with their own GPS devices, but you can also rent them from many boat rental locations. There are also a few navigational apps that you can download on your phones, such as Navionics and KnowWake. Be sure that if you use your phone to navigate that it has reception out on the water. 

First Aid Kit

If you don't want a minor injury to dampen the fun on your boat trip, then a First Aid kit is needed. Your First Aid kit is essential and should contain waterproof bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze, adhesive tape, and an ice pack. 

Additionally, sunscreen is a must when out on the water. Even if it's a cloudy day, applying sunscreen is crucial to prevent sunburns under the Southwest Florida sun. Don't forget to reapply several times throughout your day.

A Dry Bag

It's inevitable that while on a boat, some things will get wet. Keep the most critical stuff dry with a dry bag. These bags can hold everything from your phone to clothes to important documents. Many of them claim to be water-resistant for some time, and many of them will float if they go overboard. 

If you don't want to get a dry bag, a resealable plastic bag works great for most phones and other handheld devices. 


Taking pictures is one of the best parts of any boat trip. And, while your phone is capable of taking photos, having an underwater camera allows you to capture so many more pictures than your phone ever could. Underwater or disposable cameras also help alleviate some of the stress of having your phone out while cruising on a boat. 

Deck of Cards

Playing games is a great way to spend some idle time while boating. Bringing a deck of playing cards with you provides the most options for games to play with your boat mates, and they even make waterproof playing cards. If a deck of playing cards isn't your style, there are many other options for games you can play while boating, such as Scattergories or Uno. 

A Great Music Playlist

An awesome playlist is one of the best parts of any boat trip. Many streaming services have pre-made playlists or just albums for you to use. However, if you want to build your own, the premium versions of Spotify and Apple music are the way to go. Just make sure to bring your own speaker because many of the rental boats don't come with a stereo. 

What Food Should I Bring on a Boat Trip?

All food tastes better on a boat. The type of food and snacks you pack depends on what you and your boat mates want to eat. Some of the most common meals include sandwiches or wraps that can be customized to everyone's liking, with fruit and chips. If you're looking to grill, you can't go wrong with some burgers and hot dogs. The key to food on a boat trip is quick and easy meals that you can prep ahead of time and dish up quickly on the water. 

Be sure to bring your cooler if you're renting a boat because your boat may not come with one. To save some room in your cooler, you can freeze bottles of water to use as ice, and then they'll melt throughout your trip and be available to drink later on in the day. It's also smart to overestimate how much food you'll need because no one wants to get hangry during a day on the boat. 

When is the Best Time to Go Boating in Captiva Island, Florida?

The late fall to spring months are the best months to go boating in Captiva Island. You don't want to go too early in the fall because it's still the rainy season with a chance for hurricanes, but anything after October is fair game. If you're looking to boat on clearer, bluer waters, the winter to spring months will be more your speed. 

The winter to spring months also offer a milder climate. Captiva Island has an average high temperature from the high 70s to the low 80s. Those months are also the best if you're planning a day on a boat because there are very few rainy days that would ruin your boating experience. Be sure to check the weather before starting your boat trip. 

Have a Great Day on the Boat with Jensen’s Marina

Coordinating a boat rental can be a hassle, but Jensen's Marina makes it easy. Located right on Captiva Island, Jensen's Marina has plenty of boats that can fit 5 to 12 passengers, and you can rent them for 6 or 8 hours. With the tackle/gift shop, Jensen's has everything for your last-minute needs to pack for a day on the boat. Check out Jensen's boat rentals today!

Jensen’s Twin Palm Marina and Cottages™

15107 Captiva Drive
Captiva, FL 33924

(833) 668-7768
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