Checklist for a Family Boat Outing

As a resident of Western New York, you know the unspoken rule – nice day, must play! The moment the sun makes an appearance and the temps rise above 50 degrees, Western New Yorkers emerge from their homes, determined to soak up every moment of good weather. And if you’re lucky enough to be a boat owner, your fun needn’t be restricted to land offerings. No doubt you’re ready to grab the family and get out on the water! But the key to any successful family boat outing is one word – preparation. We’ve compiled a list of things to be sure not to leave the dock without, to ensure you and your family a happy, safe day of fun in the sun.

Safety Items

  • United States Coast Guard Approved Life Jackets for each passenger on board
  • First Aid Kit
  • Documentation for all passengers – it’s always a good idea to craft a float plan
  • A full tank of fuel
  • Food and fresh water provisions
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flashlight
  • GPS unit and Personal Locator Beacon

FUN NOTE: If you are a family with small children, you likely already own a Puddle Jumper ®  vest that they wear in the pool, and you know how amazingly helpful these “floaties” are in keeping your little ones safe and comfortable in the water. Puddle Jumpers ® are actually U.S. Coast Guard Approved flotation devices, and can be utilized for your little ones as a life vest!

Weather Prep Items

  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Shirts and coverups to provide added protection
  • Dramamine or Bonine – to be used when wavy conditions cause sea sickness
  • Raincoats/ponchos
  • Layers – should it get cooler once the sun goes down

TIP: Always check the project marine weather conditions before planning and embarking on an outing. This will help you to prepare for potential weather hazards and/or adjust your boat trip accordingly. For targeted and accurate weather projections, visit


As a family, no doubt you’re already a pro at packing provisions for trips – including enough food and drink to get you and your family through a trip with both anticipated and unforeseen situations. That means plenty of individually wrapped food, finger food in sealed containers that you can easily break out when needed, fruits, and plenty of clean water. 

For a quick and easy guide to easily accessible restaurants, explore our Western NY Boating Destinations Map.


Making memories will be much sweeter with some incredible pictures to look at later. Don’t forget to bring a waterproof camera – extra points for cameras that work under water – to capture those moments on the water. If your camera isn’t waterproof, or if you’re using your cell phone camera, you can purchase waterproof sleeves to keep your devices safe and dry.

Other Parents!

As with any family trip, there’s a lot to consider when planning for a family boat outing. Luckily, the resources today are plentiful, and there are always ideas, tips, and important information available online. Social media has provided a new and especially rich resource for parents to visit when planning, to get suggestions and tips from other parents as they explore the water with their own families. Polling parents in local social media groups for tips and tricks can provide you some of the most useful, relevant information yet as you prepare to hit the water.