Summer in Utah is all about outdoor activities: sports playing, mountain biking, camping, hiking, and especially boating during the peak of the summer heat. Whether you are in the Red Rock deserts of St. George or the suburbs of Farmington, the heat often pushes us to our many freshwater lakes and reservoirs. There aren’t many things outside of work or school that are better than cruising on a boat across an open and majestic body of water. What happens though when something goes wrong? Being in the middle of a lake or river can be a little isolating, so it is best to be prepared! Here is a compilation of a dozen or so items that will come in handy during a time of need on a boat.
Sunscreen – Hazardous heat usually is accompanied by high UV levels, and a bad sunburn can turn a day’s trip from magnificent to miserable pretty quick!
Bug Spray – The outdoors is home to more bugs than you can count, and bug bites leave an after-effect of several days that irritate long past the times of sun-soaked fun.
Drinkable Water – Again, the warm weather is great, but dehydration can bring groups in well before the sun goes down.
First Aid Kit – You may not necessarily participate in the extremes of wakeboarding and tubing, but can still easily slip and fall from a wet deck or quick start from the boat. Bandages, tape, gauze, antibiotics and other First Aid items are always essential for safety.
Motion Sickness (and other over-the-counter) Pills – All the movement, the waves, and the constant stopping and starting can trigger dizziness just from the thought alone. Pills to alleviate motion sickness or other aches and pains will assist all that are aboard to have a good time.
Life Jackets – This one shouldn’t even need an explanation; you are surrounded by water and even the strongest swimmers need life jackets.
Extra Rope – It is never a bad idea to have more rope for your boat. You may need to be towed back to the dock, or anchor somewhere unexpected. If you only have one rope and it snaps or is not strong enough, you may confront serious trouble.
A Sharp Knife – If the rope you use gets caught in the propeller (see, you need that extra rope!), or you have another need to cut away at something, a sharp knife is definitely advisable. Be sure to carry it in a protected knife holder.
Communication Devices – This may be a long shot, but desperate times call for desperate measures. A whistle, bell, flashlight, or even a cell phone can sound an alarm that you need help. Your cell phone can be used for audible emergency tones or lights, and if you have service then you can notify anyone else not on the water to bring help.
Emergency Signal Flares – Whether you are far from any land or floating harmlessly down a river, people may not see you or know that you are in distress. A singular firework-like blast with ample smoke should signal that you are in need of serious assistance only resolvable by others.
Cautionary Items – Use ONLY With Discretion
Extra Gas – Boats’ gasoline meters are often misread or misunderstood. Having more gas may help you avoid being stranded. But NEVER place it in an area with toxic fumes or near flammable objects. ONLY bring this on the boat if you know you are going to a location far away and may need it.
Fire Extinguisher – This may come as a surprise, but an extinguisher may not be a bad idea to have with you. Engines can easily overheat and cause problems. But be sure that you use an extinguisher that is approved, and also place it in a safe place on the boat.
Each one of these items can make all the difference in an emergency. Even if you never run into an emergency, the possession of these items may end up helping others you find out on the waters. After returning to land from an emergency situation, be sure to consult an attorney or lawyer from Robert J. DeBry as needed for any personal injury or accident that may have been sustained.
Above all else, prepare for emergencies so that you can take full advantage of the warm weathered seasons of Utah!