5 items you absolutely must bring on your first sailing trip

October 13, 2015

Sailing is a great way to have fun and enjoy the wonders of the great outdoors. Experienced sailors know how to pack for weeks or months out at sea, but for the first time sailor, a long trip might seem intimidating. Here is a list of five essential items that you'll need.

5 items you absolutely must bring on your first sailing trip

1. Headlamp

  • The best way to navigate around the boat and the waters is with a bright LED headlamp.
  • You'll need to have your hands free to work on the boat, which is why you should opt for a headlamps over a standard flashlight.
  • They strap around your forehead and provide a lighted path for you to see what you're doing. Usually, they are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased at a sport utility store or hardware store.

2. Goggles

  • You never know really know what the weather will be like while you're out on the water.
  • It's a good idea to bring along a pair of goggles so that even if the weather takes a turn for the worse, you still have clear vision.
  • Get a good quality brand of goggles with clear lenses, like ski goggles, which actually work well on the water.
  • They can be expensive, but they last a long time if you are careful and keep them dry and protected when you're not using them.

3. Sunglasses

  • Just like you want to keep your eyes shielded from the rain, you also want to protect them in sunlight.
  • Direct sun can be very harsh out at sea because it reflects off the water's surface.
  • Sunglasses with polarized lenses help to reduce the glare that could inhibit your eyesight and let you see better. Get sunglasses with UV protection as well for extra eyesight safety.

4. Life jacket

  • Not all boats will come equipped with life jackets so it's your responsibility to bring one.
  • Even if boats do have them, bringing your own has its advantages. Keep it in a convenient spot so you always know where to find it.
  • Check to see that it is certified and up to date. When selecting a life jacket in a supply store, keep in mind that this is one area where you don't want to skimp on quality — a great life jacket can save your life.

5. GPS

  • A handheld GPS unit with local charts will help you navigate.
  • You can also use the GPS to record data such as the distance you've traveled, your speed and weather conditions so that you can learn from your trips.
  • A quality GPS will last for many years if you take good care of it.
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