You’ve got your cooler, sunglasses, and your fishing gear, and you’re ready to head out for a day on the water. Most serious boaters keep things like a well-stocked first-aid kit and flares on hand, but what things are you leaving behind that might be necessary or useful? Read on for some suggestions for what to make sure you take with you when you take your boat out for the day.

Life vests are something every boater is used to having on hand. But have you checked your supply lately? Make sure you have the appropriate sizes for everyone on board and a couple extra just in case. You’ll want to check for wear and tear periodically and test buoyancy. Doing a little preparation ahead of time can literally save a life. Don’t forget about your four-legged friends too!

Another lifesaving device to consider is a locator beacon. In an emergency, the beacon can lead rescuers to your location. They’re designed to survive harsh and will work in areas cell phones can’t. You’ll want to change out the batteries as recommended by the manufacturer.

Lastly, make sure you have your boat registration at all times. It’s a good idea to keep it in a waterproof bag or container with other documents related to your boat. If you take the original, keep a copy at home, just in case.

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