Some Basic Boating Gear

In the shallow river or a deep sea, inland or offshore, backyard pond or large lake, the water is another element we are not totally familiar with. It has its own laws we must respect and take into account whenever we are in or on it.

So when you go boating for a pleasure cruise, sailing competition, fishing trip or exploration, several kinds of boating gear are imperative, primarily for safety. Accidents happen, desired or not. Therefore, it is better to be prepared for any eventuality.

Personal Gear

The very first boating gear one must have is a personal floatation device, usually called a life jacket. Its purpose is to keep a person's head above water, and thereby prevent his drowning. Wear it at all times when you are on the water.

Next is appropriate clothing. Good thermal wear, especially if the water or weather is cold where you are going. Hypothermia ranks high as killer of men in the water. Be sure it is of good comfortable fit: too tight and it will restrict blood flow to the limbs, too loose and it will not retain body heat. Either way, it will be of little use.

Wear loose, light-colored clothes if the weather or sun is hot. You won't want to be felled by dehydration due to excessive perspiration, nor would you wish to be sunburned either.

The third basic boating gear to have is a pair of good boating shoes. You should wear shoes that are comfortable to wear, with rubber soles that grip the boat deck or bottom. Nobody wants to be slipping and falling in the boat all the time.

Boat Gear

No matter the size of the boat, it needs boating gear items that may be superfluous yet important. First is a map and compass. It is easy to lose your bearings after a blizzard, snowstorm or snowfall, a squall or in the dark. A good compass will easily remedy the situation. Naturally, it presupposes you have a rudimentary knowledge of map-and compass-reading.

The second boating gear item to take is extra lines. Lines are needed to tether the boat, add line to the anchor, tie up items, replace rigging, tow another boat, or to throw to a person in the water.

Next is one or two extra oars or paddles if in a small boat, and an auxiliary engine in a large one. The proverbial term, "Up a creek without a paddle" has not been coined just for fun. It says if you lose your means of propulsion, start praying, you may not have time to do it later.

So when you go boating alone, with friends or with your family, remember to take some basic boating gear with you, unnecessary though it may seem to you. It is always best to be safe.