Boating Essentials: Items You Should ALWAYS Have on Your Boat

keep a variety of life jackets on your boat

There is nothing quite like enjoying a day out on the water of Lake Gaston. Whether you are out fishing or just cruising around with your family, boating on Lake Gaston is a great activity. However, nothing ruins a water excursion like running into a problem that you are not prepared for. Keeping essential items will ensure smooth sailing no matter what situation you may face out on the water. Eaton Ferry Marina has put together a list of essential items to always keep on your boat. By being properly prepared, nothing will stand in the way of a great day on the lake.


Boating Essentials – Items To Keep On Your Boat


Life Jackets


Of all boating essentials, life jackets are the most important item to keep on hand. In case of an emergency, life jackets will keep you and other boat occupants safe. Life jackets are also great to have in case you want to safely go swimming. Always keep more life jackets than you may need in a variety of sizes. Life jackets are not only a great idea, but they are also a state requirement. Anyone younger than 13 is required to wear a lifejacket whenever they are on recreational watercraft.


Fire Extinguisher


Boats may be surrounded by water, but that doesn’t protect them from fire hazards. Much like cars, boats can face engine or electrical fires. Keep a fire extinguisher on board to put out any fires that may occur. North Carolina state law also requires that all watercraft must carry at least one type of Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher.


Emergency Signal Devices


If your engine dies or you are stuck far away from other boaters, you need a way to call attention to yourself. Air horns, flares, and signal flags are an essential item to keep on board your boat. This way, if you are facing an emergency situation on the lake, you have a way to signal for help to nearby vessels.


First Aid Kit


Always keep a well-stocked first aid kit on board. Include items like bandages, wound ointment, emergency blankets, tweezers, and medical gauze at a minimum. The more robust your first aid kit is, the better prepared you are for any kind of injury or medical emergency.

anchor is an essential item for your boat



Keeping an anchor and line allows you to secure your boat in a location. If you decide to swim or relax for a bit, anchors prevent you from drifting into an unsafe location or even from losing your boat!


Cellphone Charger


It is a great idea to have a dedicated cellphone charger on your boat. If you encounter an emergency and need to call for help or you get lost and need maps, a dead cell phone is a worst-case scenario. Another great option to have a separate battery bank to keep all your devices charged. Battery banks are also great if you are utilizing a Bluetooth speaker for music.


Snorkel and Mask


Keep a snorkel and mask on board your boat. These are incredibly helpful in case your prop gets fouled up or you need to inspect damage underwater.




Flashlights are essential for signaling and seeing at night. Having one or two high powered flashlights on your vessel to ensure you are never caught in the dark.


Sharp Knife


If rope or line gets caught up in the prop of your boat, you need a way to remove it. Having a sharp knife on board allows you to cut your boat free of any obstructions. Knives are also a great tool to keep in your tackle box for fishing.


Lake Map


In the event that you lose cell phone service, keeping a lake map handy can be a game-changer if you get lost. Lake Gaston is a large lake and it is easy to get lost. Keeping maps onboard provides a secondary form of navigation.


Dock Fenders and Line


Dock fenders and lines are required if you are going to tie up at a dock. They will protect not only your watercraft but also any structure you are docked to. Keep at least three dock fenders onboard. Also, make sure to have extra lines to tie down to a dock.


Plastic Sandwich Bags


Plastic sandwich bags are great in case of an unexpected rainstorm. Keep items that need to stay dry in baggies. This includes electronics, wallets, car keys, and even clothing.


Bottled Water


A few bottles of water stored in your boat is a great idea. Dehydration is a real threat during a hot summer day. Also, having clean water onboard is useful for cleaning a potential wound or cut.


Sunscreen and Bug Spray


Nothing can ruin a beautiful day like a brutal sunburn. Make sure to keep waterproof and sweat-proof sunscreen in your first aid kit. Bug spray will also protect you from mosquitos or other annoying insects.

dog sitting on dry towel on a boat

Towels and Extra Dry Clothes


An extra set of dry clothes and towels are great to have as well. Store an extra shirt or change of clothes somewhere in your boat to change into if you get wet unexpectedly.


Proper Documents


Having proper documentation onboard is a must. Keep a copy of your license, insurance, and registration in case local officials make contact with you. It is also great to keep a copy of the local boating regulations for reference.


By keeping these boating essentials on hand, you can ensure nothing gets in the way of a beautiful day of boating. Whether owning or renting a boat on Lake Gaston, you want to be prepared. If you are looking for more information on Lake Gaston boating or if you want to stock your boat, visit us at Eaton Ferry Marina. Our full-service marina has the resources you need for a great day on the lake.