What to bring?

The SRC - boat thread got me thinking about all the different kinds of boats people use in this game. It also got me thinking about the different kinds of safety issues involved in small boating on the Puget Sound or Hood Canal. I'm trying to put together a list of things that need to be in my boat when I go fly fishing but I'm thinking more in terms of boating items because the fishing equipment list changes all the time. Rods, reels, lines, flies, all the junk in my vest, etc. won't go on this list.
The list I'm thinking of is more like a check list of essentials for safe boating and fishing.
Any how, I'll start the list here and it would be interesting to see what you folks would add or subtract from the list.

1. PFDs, one wearable and one throwable for each person on board.
2. Fully charged battery (my motor doesn't have an alternator) for running lights, sonar/GPS
3. Anchor and 100 ft. of 1/2 inch nylon line.
4. Mooring lines.
5. Sealable bucket with chart, first aid kit, TP, digital camera.
6. Full fuel tank.
7. Spare quart of 2 cycle oil.
8. Large canoe paddle.
9. Emergency tool kit (crescent wrench, screwdriver w/ interchangeable bits).
10. Flashlight.
11. Small igloo cooler type lunch box w/food and drink.
12. Sharp knife.
13. Thermos w/coffee.
14. Raincoat (even if it's sunny!)

What's missing? What would you leave at home?

I should probably work up a list for basic fishing stuff too. I got to the launch one day and discovered that I had left my flybox on the work bench at home.:mad:
I guess Im getting to age where lists become more and more neccessary. Now if I could just remember where I put the dang list!:eek:
Good start of a list. A few items I would add
Spare plugs for motor {a new set of plugs ready to go has save the day for me}
Spare starter rope for out board
Spare prop for that day you hit a dead head
cotter pin for prop
Tow rope
sun block
sun glasses
garbage bags for trash, fish or emergency use
a hand held VHF radio both for emergencies and weather reports
whistle on your life vest
compass else the chart may do little good
duct tape
electrical tape
a water pump or bailing device of some type


Active Member
good start to the list. i might suggest you check out the USCG or USCG aux lists of must have items for any registered boat. you might also want to take the time to get a courtesy inspection from your local USCG aux chapter to insure you have all of the required stuff onboard. its free and if you pass you get a sticker to display which just might save you a bunch of time down the road.
Some sort of optics to search for fish. I just got a waterproof brunton monocular. Don't get something too strong as the rocking wil make it hard to see.

Bring a killer lunch. Nothing like a FULL lunch 4 hours into the trip to make another 3 more pleasant. Heck sometimes it is the highlight when the fishing it tough.

A man overboard device. Making contact is critical in our waters.

Lastly if you are keeping fish a cooler with lots of ice. These are premium fish that need the finest treatment. That means ice immediately and constantly. A bag is good to keep the water off the fish and the ice in contact. Reminds me of the story of guys with huge tuna. The kind that go for $5000 in Tokyo's fish market and they didn't know enough to ice them down really well and bleed them. They made pet food by sashimi standard. No top dollar for them more like bottom dollar.
gt, thanks for the tips. I'm pretty sure I have all the required stuff on board. I also have some stuff that is normally onboard but not yet on the list. I was just curious what other folks would add or subtract to that list. Being as how the amount of storage space is very limited on a 12 or 14 ft boat I was curious what other people prioritized.
Hikepat, The horn is important and I forgot that on the list! Thanks for the reminder. I keep a small compass in the bucket. I'm still debating on the plugs and prop stuff. They would mean more tools too. Hmmmm... good idea but...
Duct tape is another must have item. I'll put a half roll in a ziploc. I have a spare start rope. Anchor line is a good tow rope.
I have a bailer, plus the igloo lunch box has already saved one boat:eek: My oldest boy used it to bail a sinking 17' glasply after we hit a submerged log and knocked a 6" hole in the bottom.
Sunglasses definitely belong on the list. I forget them about one out of three times. Sunblocker too.
A flare kit and VHF should probably find their way into the bucket. Garbage bags are also a good idea.
Another item that didn't make the list but is always in the boat is a fire extinguisher.
I wear my fishing/hunting license around my neck on a lanyard. If I can keep the list short enough maybe I can print it on a small piece of cardstock, laminate it and put it in there with the license.


Active Member
i think you have ticked off all of the required items, but here is the quick and dirty checklist:


if you come up with a VHF, you should google 'VHF channels' so you clearly understand just how to use that radio and the protocol involved. you can also get a handy sticker at westmarine or similar outlet that you can paste someplace obvious in your boat. it would also help you to simply turn the radio on and scan for a day or so to see how folks go about communicating. and keep in mind, the radio is of zero utility unless you have it turned on. check the NOAA weather channels frequently or just leave the radio on, your scan will be interupted with weather updates automatically.

i have also started requiring everyone to wear a PFD all the time while in the boat. the self inflating vests take up little space and are not cumbersome to wear. once again, sitting on your PFD is usless in an emergency.

Milt Roe

Active Member
Where are you guys heading for your SRC? Blue water out in the open ocean? I usually take a life vest, a cushion, my tackle, a camera, polariods, and a cold beer. That's it.

I guess the area you fish and the type of boat will dictate the gear requirements. For a 12-14 ft boat, fishing in relatively sheltered waters, I don't think a lot of the stuff people are listing is necessary. Where I fish for SRC, you can generally step out of the boat, pull it on shore, and walk home if conditions get too messy. It isn't like the USCG needs to send the helicopter for search and rescue if there's trouble. If you are making long open water crossings in questionable weather, that's another story. I wouldn't do that in my SRC boat, regardless of the gear I had along.


Active Member
if you click on the link i provided, you will see the regs are different for boats of various lengths. so not everything that has been mentioned is a requirement for all boats. on the other hand, common sense would seem to dictate having some of this stuff available no matter what sized boat you are running. just a thought....
You do need to check the Coast Guard list and make sure that you have what it says you need for the length of your boat. The Coasties are checking more frequently now (especially in the northern Canal and around naval facilities), and they will look at everything that's required. There are some stickers you may need on oil discharge and such. I don't see a fire extinguisher on the list, but it may be required with a gas outboard.

And make sure your PFDs and throwable device are Coast Guard approved and have the tag/statement on them. They will check that. Believe me on this one...


I used to take a lot more stuff then I do now, it just turns into clutter so I've taken a lot of stuff out of my boat.

One of the most useful things I do take is a piece of wire to clear out your cooling system if it ever gets clogged from running over kelp or other debris. I use a piece of wire from a wire coat hanger, if your outboards cooling system gets clogged you can be in a world of hurt. Usually a couple pokes into the water outlet hole with the wire and the debris gets shot out and I'm back in business.

Another one that gets used a lot is TP, when you're miles off shore and you have to go... you have to go.


Active Member
Another one that gets used a lot is TP, when you're miles off shore and you have to go... you have to go.
Provided your vessel has a head..right? Or am I to imagine someone hanging over the edge having a BM and perfoming a balancing act as you fight off moving water or swells? :eek: :eek: :confused:


It's not much of a balancing act if you hold on to something. Drop your pants and hang your ass. Like I said, if you have to go....

I've been on my boat before (17' whaler) when one buddy was puking off the left side of my boat, and my other buddy was shitting of the right side. I was standing in the middle wondering what I was doing there.
A fire extinguisher isn't required on most small outboard boats but I usually carry one anyway. They're cheap and small and you just never know......:eek:
The oil discharge and other pollution type stickers aren't required on small boats (under 26').
Sound producing devices (horn) are required on ALL vessels! A small mouth operated horn that can be heard 1/2 mile away will suffice.
Milt, lot's of the stuff I carry isn't really neccessary or required for short trips but I have been known to change my plans and run my little boat (14') all over the sound. It's important to me to be able to handle whatever kind of trouble I manage to get myself into.
In that regard I have to say that once you have been aboard a boat that is on fire you are never the same again. I would probably carry a fire ext. on a kayak.;)
I also have a 17' boat that I use in the Straits and we've run it to Canada and out to Swiftsure Bank lots of times.
I'm always interested in hearing how other people prepare themselves and their boats because you just can't have too much respect for the sea. I'm fascinated by the folks that do singlehanded ocean passages in small sailboats. I know some of them are crazy but most of them are also very very very well prepared.
Kinda cool in a boyscoutish way.:cool:
It's not much of a balancing act if you hold on to something. Drop your pants and hang our ass. Like I said, if you have to go....

I've been on my boat before (17' whaler) when one buddy was puking off the left side of my boat, and my other buddy was shitting of the right side. I was standing in the middle wondering what I was doing there.
I'll watch for you guys at Neah bay!
Be carefull, I have a camera!:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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