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Safe at Sea: Next is the 'boating bag'
May 16, 2018

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(Editor's Note: This is part II in a three-part series. Part I ran in the May 9, 2018, issue of the Island Reporter and can be found online at www.captivasanibel.com under "Opinion" then "Local Columns."

Last week's column discussed the most important "bag" on your vessel: the first aid kit. This week's discussion is about the "boating bag," whose contents are based - to an extent - on personal preference. That said, there are essential items that every boater should have on board.

The following is a list of items a "well-provisioned" boating bag contains:

- Inflatable life jacket with a whistle and spare air cylinder

- Kill Switch with a lanyard

- Handheld VHF Radio with spare batteries

- Binoculars (for spotting buoy numbers, shapes and outlines)

- Handheld GPS

- Cell phone

- Charts of areas you plan to boat

- Boat registration

- Spare keys for the boat and your house

- Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses

- Rain gear (good for reducing the chill from spray)

- Plenty of water

- Energy bars

At this point, the following contents become a matter of preference. If you are a fisherman, you will most likely want your "bag" to include:

- Fishing license(s)

- Fishing regulations (updated as they change yearly)

- Copy of "Fishing Lines," by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

- Non-slip gloves to grip

- Regulations for fish measurement

- Fish identification card

Then, the list of items in the boating bag reflects the interests and needs of your passengers. Certainly, if children are along, a good "bag" will include plenty of snacks and even a few games or toys.

If you are a day cruiser and your boat has several passengers, you might consider a spare set of binoculars as the surrounding waters are filled with unique birds and sea life.

Of course, a well-stocked galley makes every trip even more enjoyable!

For more information, contact 239-985-9472 or Commander@SanibelCaptivaSPS.org.

Pat Schmidt is a member of America's Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva.

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