Skip to content

Essential Equipment for a Boating Expedition

Covid largely put a stop to travel and adventure in 2020. Only now the borders are opening, and flights resuming to major destinations once again.

Because of the easing of travel restrictions, it is once again time for many people to consider travel plans and enjoy the great outdoors in general.

One popular activity that is gaining even more traction this year is boating. Being able to pilot your own boat, or have access to one, means that the open waters are available to be explored.

For some, this can simply mean kayaking down rivers or taking a rowboat out on a lake. Intrepid travellers might want an adventure in Borneo by river to meet the tribes. But for others, a boating trip might mean going out on the open sea, and perhaps visiting exotic islands while on vacation.

Whatever the trip entails, planning for a boating expedition requires some care. There are many things to consider, and there are certain items and equipment that should always be taken on board. 

Preparing the boat for your trip

If you are looking for a few hours on a nearby river then the choices are simple. One of the best ways to spend a few hours paddling is to join a kayaking tour or use your own to drift downstream.

If you are looking at more of an adventure that might involve longer than one day, you will need something more stable.

An outboard motorboat will be a good choice for any trip on open waters. You can rent a motorboat in many locations, and you could also hire someone to pilot for you. However, if you have your own boat then you will need to make sure it is in good condition.

If your boat has been sitting still for a while due to the pandemic then the outboard motor will need looking at. If you are unable to service it sufficiently then look for a Yamaha or other good branded outboard motor for sale and replace it. You don’t want your motor to break down while you are on the water. 

How much food to bring with you?

Look at how long you are planning to be away, and then add some extra time on top in case of any problems that arise. Then look at packing the appropriate amount of food and drinking water for this time.

Hopefully, your boat will have a portable cooler on it to keep ice and some food cool. Consider though, how long you will be away and the shelf life of the food you are bringing.

If you are planning a trip that involves a night or two camping then you can bring food to cook rather than just ready-to-eat snacks. Don’t forget the can opener if you bring any canned food either.

You will also need documents, safety equipment, and a few other useful items to help your trip go to plan. 

Boating legally and safely

Before you leave in your motorboat, make sure you have left behind an itinerary with at least one responsible person. In case of emergency, someone should be informed of where you are heading and when you are due back.

Check the weather before you leave. Although forecasts are not always one hundred per cent accurate, you will at least have some idea of what you are heading into.

Take your boating documents and any ID, such as a passport with you too. You may need a license to pilot a boat too, depending on where you are in the world.

According to NauticEd, each state in the US has its own laws regarding boating, but if you hold a US boating license you should find it will be recognized overseas. However, check with the local authorities in whichever country you are in.

If you are planning on fishing then you will also need to make sure you have the necessary license or permit for that region. 

General equipment you may want to take

If you are planning a camping trip as part of your boating expedition, then you will need to consider your sleeping arrangements and the climate.

The list of items for making a camping trip comfortable is almost endless. When it comes to camping tips for beginners the checklist for equipment would be huge, but you should certainly include the following:

  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Toiletries
  • Sleeping bag
  • Tent
  • Pillow
  • Stove or barbecue
  • Fuel
  • Matches
  • Torch
  • Spare batteries
  • Dry, clean clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Fishing equipment

You should also check that you are legally allowed to camp wherever you are heading to. That beautiful-looking island in the distance might seem ideal for a night’s camping but it might be part of a protected national park. 

Safety equipment should never be ignored

According to Statista, boating accidents including injuries and deaths were generally in decline over the last ten years. 2020 though saw quite a dramatic rise as more people decided to go out on the water and some were unprepared.

The most important area of boating is safety. You will be on open water and there are inherent dangers involved. Collisions with other boats are possible. Storms can occur. You could get grounded. You may fall ill or even fall overboard.

At least taking certain safety equipment can help mitigate the risks. Many of the people who died while boating in 2020 ignored the most basic safety essentials such as life jackets. 

What safety equipment should you take on a boat?

The following is by no means a comprehensive list and if you feel you want to take more safety equipment then you should. Boating is an extremely enjoyable activity, and ensuring the safety of the passengers means stress-free fun.

Here are a number of the items you should take to ensure a safe boat trip:

  • First aid kit
  • Life-jackets
  • Flotation devices
  • Flare gun
  • Whistles or horn
  • Torches/headlamp
  • GPS
  • Radio and mobile phone
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Paddles
  • Knife
  • Sunscreen/hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Diving mask 

Make sure you have enough power and not too much

One area that you may not have considered is the motor itself. Your outboard is one of the most essential pieces of equipment on the boat. Without a motor, you won’t get very far at all.

Outboard motors are reliable and they should serve your boating purposes well. If they have been idle for a while you must service them before heading for a trip. In the worst of scenarios, you may want to replace it.

If you need to replace your outboard you must get the right power. One way to check this is to have one horsepower for every 25 to 40 pounds of boat weight. No matter the size of your boat, Yamaha outboards come in a wide range of horsepower and there will be one to match your boat size.

Getting the wrong power can lead to either a rather slow trip, or one that is dangerous. Too much power could lead the motor to be torn from the boat itself in extreme circumstances. 


While boating is undoubtedly a popular and fun activity, it requires a certain amount of preparation time. Checking the weather, planning and reporting your itinerary, and making sure you have communication equipment, is essential.

Safety is paramount, and this means having the right equipment on board, and the correct motor powering the boat in good working order.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest