How to have a great boat day

One great thing about island life is the boat trips.

You might think that all boat trips are epic and awesome but I’ve been on a few now — day sails, powerboat rentals, small charters — and they can be uncomfortable if you don’t prepare! So what do you need?

I'm on a boat

But first…

First you need a good group of people. You know that guy from the lunch spot who you always chat with but just kind of irritates you after 10 minutes? Don’t invite him. Funny people, silly people, folks who know you, and folks you don’t mind being in your bathing suit around? Yes.

Next you need refreshments. I have friends who don’t agree, but if you’re going to be out in the Caribbean sun all day, your alcoholic beverages should be WEAK drinks and you should have tons of water. Don’t be the girl who’s out of control before lunch — or worse, losing your lunch. If you know yourself to be the type who might overdo it, get yourself a designated drinks fetcher who knows this about you or bring a thermos of something diluted that you can just sip on all day (my favorite right now is black cherry rum and coke).

While the object of the day might be fun in the sun, the very last thing you want is too much sun, so take all your sun protection. Of course sunscreen (which you need to put on multiple times throughout the day), but also shades and a hat. As I was discussing with a fellow boat-tripper recently, I might look like a geek in a hat, but I’ll take looking geeky over a scalp sunburn every. single. day. Seriously don’t get burned. Bonus points if you bring a hat/shades that you don’t mind losing because the sea… sometimes she claims your stuff.

Now food is a tricky one because some boat trips are planned around eating at a particular restaurant or beach bar, while on others you might be grilling right on the deck. Find out in advance, of course. Either way, snacks will be appreciated, as long as they aren’t a lot of work, so bring something easy to share that doesn’t come with a bunch of packaging that you aren’t going to be able to throw away. Nuts, chips, popcorn and pretzels have gone over well for me.

Finally, no boat day is ever completed without some element of the unexpected. Weird weather? Sharp reef creatures? Jellyfish? The potential for some uncomfortableness is high, so bring your good attitude and willingness to roll with it, and don’t let a little bit of the unexpected ruin your day.

If you’ve noticed that I haven’t talked about navigation or safety, that’s because if you don’t have a captain who has you covered on all that stuff, you aren’t going on a boat trip, because that’s just dumb.

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