From Safety to Comfort, This Is Your 101 to Boat Hosting

Boating 101

By Bliss Drive Team


This is our fail-safe guide to your best possible day on the boat. Read on for what to pack, how to act, and tips for planning an incredible day for you and your fellow boaters.

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Our Ultimate Packing List

  1. Number one will always be life jackets. Make sure you have all sizes handy, especially for children. Fit them with jackets before you get on the boat – an ill-fitting jacket on a child can be dangerous, and is not worth the risk!
  2. Have all medical safety items conveniently located in a jump bag – i.e. a container with items necessary for emergency situations. Be sure to fill it with handy items like contact lenses (including solution and cases), Benadryl (in case of a nasty mosquito bite, black fly reaction, or food allergy), and Dramamine for seasickness.
  3. Water is a must-have, especially if you’re bringing alcohol.
  4. Always be prepared for pets. Bring extra water, a pet life vest, and knowledge of the pet's swimming abilities – dogs go overboard more than you might think!
  5. Sunscreen – know the difference between sport and cosmetic brands, and pack for young children and friends with sensitive skin.
  6. Extra sunglasses in case someone forgets them (or goes overboard). Always better to plan for a lot of sun than be left blinded by it.
  7. If your boat has a Head, be sure to have toiletries on hand – especially tampons and toilet paper.
  8. Personal Bag. The biggest question our founder, Nicole, gets asked is “What should I bring on the boat?” Her answer is: towels, a good book to read, sun hat, and a couple of layers to protect against the wind, sun, and cold. Above all, Nicole’s best tip is to not overpack – make sure you and your guests pare down to the essentials to help keep the decks clear of clutter.

C-Shells Daily Sunscreen by July Sky

The Mug Guard Face Sunscreen by DUNE

On the Boat Etiquette and Making Guests Feel Comfortable on the Water

Now that everything’s packed, it’s time to make sure everyone on board is comfortable. The most important thing is to know who your guests are, and try to be one step ahead by anticipating their needs. Some people may not love being on a boat, or it may be their first time. This doesn’t have to mean a bad time – and is up to you to take steps to ensure it’s not. Kindness in these scenarios comes down to setting the right expectations and being prepared. Providing things like ample shade on board and Dramamine in your jump kit are easy ways to make the time together a good one.

Speaking of shade, the boat should be well-equipped with it for young kids, elderly boaters, and pets especially. Making sure you know the diets, ages, and any allergies of all your fellow boaters before heading out is also helpful, and doesn’t hurt to know their favorite food and drinks to have on board for them as well.

To make guests feel comfortable in any scenario, be sure to show everyone the safety protocol once they get on board – location of life jackets and a tour of everything on the boat is a great place to start. Share information about where you’ll be boating and be prepared to answer questions about dangers and boating 101.

Instruct people not to get on and off the boat willy nilly, making sure they stay seated during docking, anchoring and while underway. This will create an environment where the boat captain (you!) can operate undistracted. Have Plan A, B, and C and know them forwards and backwards.

With these tips & tricks in mind, you’re steps ahead of the rest in being Boat Host of the Year. Happy hosting!