Boating—What to Bring

Getting ready for a big trip on the water? Follow this guide to make sure you bring the right equipment to be comfy and safe!

So some rich friend has invited you out on their mega-yacht, and you’re getting ready for a day of champagne and bikinis on the Canadian Riviera. 

And there’s no reason you can’t have your dream. But there are some things you should consider before you cast off—a few items you should bring with you, depending on how grand or humble your craft is.

Ontario is a paradise for boaters—that’s why we’ve created a list of places to rent a boat for those getting out for the first time, and a list of the top destinations for the seasoned captains. If you’re already on your way out the door, check our list of what to bring below.

For A Good Time

Here’s what you need to make your boat trip the most fun! Here’s our short list:

  • Sunscreen! You’re gonna be out in the sun all day—don’t forget to cover up!
  • A hat! To keep the sun off your head!
  • Sunglasses! It’s easier to see where you’re going when you don’t have to squint. Polarized glasses help even when it’s cloudy out.
  • A jacket and sweater (waterproof jacket if you can)! Conditions change quickly on the water, and the day might get a lot colder than it started out.
  • Non-slip sole shoes! If you have to move around the boat, you don’t want to slip on a wet surface, and there are lots of them!
  • Water! Even if there is water on board, bring more! Water can save your life.
  • A lifejacket that fits! These things can’t save you if they don’t fit, so make sure yours fits!
  • A Ziploc or waterproof bag! Phones and wallets can get wet on a boat—better to be safe than sorry!
There's so much to explore in Northwest Ontario

Tiny Boats

This is an abbreviation of the safety requirements for small boats, and we highly recommend that you read the official Transport Canada regulations to make sure the boat you’re getting on complies. Let’s assume that, like most of us, you’ll be heading out on the water in a boat up to 19 feet long. You’ll need:

  • One lifejacket for each person on the boat (and they have to fit properly)
  • 50 feet of floating rope
  • A ladder (if the boat sticks out of the water more than 50 cm)
  • A waterproof flashlight or three to six flares (depending on the size of your boat)
  • A paddle
  • An anchor
  • A bailer (basically a can or bottle to throw water out of the boat)
  • A whistle
  • A compass

If your boat is a bit bigger, you’ll need a fire extinguisher too. Your boat will also need lights if you’re going out at night, dusk, or dawn.

Big Ol’ Boats

The luxurious Grace Anne II yacht and lodge on the Lake of the Woods waterways. Photo: Virgil Knapp

If you’re going out in a bigger boat, you’ll need everything above, as well as:

  • A lifting harness to bring people out of the water
  • 12 flares
  • A bilge pump
  • A lot more fire extinguishers
  • Two axes
  • Four buckets

And that’s our list of what to bring when you’re heading out boating. The most important thing to bring, though? A smile! Remember, life is better on the water!

About Mike Jacobs

Mike is an avid Northern traveller, having spent years traversing its backroads, and visiting its remote lodges and fun cities by car, RV, motorcycle, and boat. There's always something new to discover in the North and Mike never shies away from the next great adventure. Mike is the chairman of the board for the Tourism Technology Company.

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