10 Must Haves For Your Next Boat Trip
Traveling to beautiful beaches in and around where we currently live in Cartagena, Colombia requires transportation via boat. Whether it’s for a day trip to a specific destination, or a day spent chartering your own boat and visiting multiple locations, the necessities are nearly identical. So, in the short time that we’ve lived on the beach, we have become mini-aficionados on what to pack for these boat trips...what is the best...what is the most needed. Here’s our must haves list, which I happily share with you to be sure you're prepared for your next trip:
1. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen – Living near the equator results in sunburns very quickly if you spend any amount of time outside. So, I cannot stress this enough, use and take plenty of sunscreen. We prefer Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 30. It’s long-lasting and easy to apply. Something above SPF 30 would probably be better, but I find that anything above SPF 30 gets a little too thick to spread on easily. And we prefer the lotion, rather than the spray because it lasts a lot longer…that is, we get more applications per tube of lotion than the spray which tends to get used up quickly by our kiddos and a lot of it just sprays into the air.
2. Dry bag – Such a simple design, but very important when you need to keep your stuff dry during a bumpy boat trip that leaves you as wet as if you had swam there. We fill ours with beach towels, changes of clothes, and other odds and ends. They are very simple to use, just insert your items, roll the top of the bag down a couple of times, and buckle it closed. I recommend the Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag. We currently have a 20L bag, but we could use a bigger one to hold all of our stuff for a family of four. So, I recommend getting a 35L bag for families that are at least our size.
3. Backpack cooler – Oh the convenience of being able to carry all of your cooler items on your back instead of having to lug it around in a big plastic cooler...it is heaven. We found that we like the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze cooler for this. But don’t bend over while it's on your back because once the ice has melted it will leak through the top zipper and shower you in frigid water. Brrr.
4. Waterproof cell phone case – There is at least one vendor at every dock selling these, but we decided to buy this set from Amazon. And, yes, you can even use it to take photos underwater...if you so dare. I haven't been brave enough yet. The other option is to use our tried and true method for keeping our cell phones dry...stick them in a seal top sandwich bag, but no taking underwater photos when you use a sandwich bag!
5. Savannah Sun Hat by the Wallaroo Hat Company - I have gotten so many compliments on this hat. It is completely packable. You can squish it, roll it, sit on it, get it wet, and it comes right back to its original form. It's sewn with plastic thread so you can squeeze it in a suitcase or bag and voila, it still looks perfect when you arrive. And some other features are that it has a lovely wide brim, it's adjustable because there is an internal drawstring that you can cinch to fit your head, and it provides UPF 50+ sun protection.
6. Snorkel gear – Every snorkeling excursion company provides their own snorkel gear, but I'm not fond of placing my mouth on a used snorkel, so we bring our own. Our kids have gear by Aqua Lung and we have gear by Body Glove, both work just fine, but get a brand that seems to fit your face shape the best.
The full face masks are also quite popular, but I hear they take some getting used to and they need to fit your entire face shape very well or they leak.
7. Johnson’s baby shampoo – Here’s a little trick we learned from a boat captain to keep snorkel masks from fogging...put some baby shampoo on the lenses. Drop a dollop of shampoo on the lens, wipe it around, and then rinse it out with water. The shampoo is tearless, so if you leave any remaining in the mask, your eyes won’t sting, but it conveniently stops the mask from fogging. Sure beats the old method of spitting in your mask...
8. Hydroflask water bottles - I'm a bit of a water bottle snob. I want double walled, vacuum insulated, stainless steel, leak proof water bottles. Anything else results in warm water and wet items in the bag in which the water bottle is placed. Believe me, we've tried our share of water bottles and now Hydoflasks are all we buy.
9. Maui Jim sunglasses - I just love my Maui Jim sunglasses. I have had my pair for nearly a decade at this point. I know, it's incredible to keep a pair of sunglasses so long, but I've managed to do it. They provide a hard-sided case, which I diligently use. And even after this long of time I have minimal scratches on the lenses. So, I stand by this brand. Click on the text link below to see Amazon's selection of Maui Jims:
10. Life jackets - If you have littles, then this is a necessity. Many boat captains for excursions to specific beaches provide life jackets, but if you charter your own boat, then they may not. And if they do, they likely will not have them in the smaller size for your kiddos. My kids are getting old enough that they just about fit in an adult-sized jacket, but I'm still considering getting my 11 year-old his own so it fits him properly.
Now with this list you'll be on your way to enjoying a day on the water or at your favorite beach destination! Ciao!
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