Treating friends to a day on the water and boating is not the same as inviting friends over for dinner. Allow me to walk through a brief illustration to show my point. Wise dinner guests who want to be invited back again and again, offer to bring a dish – an appetizer, a side, or a dessert – and know to ask about allergies and how much to make. And if a host says, “no-no, not necessary!” to an offer to make or bake, friends usually show up with a bottle of wine in tow or a small hostess gift to say thanks for the kind invitation. Dinner hosts expect nothing more – just a good time and great conversation.
But with boating, friends who are not boaters may not realize all the prep and things that go into a full day onboard, or understand what to bring to be helpful and prepared. So, to set expectations, it is a great idea for boating hosts to suggest a few things to bring for a good time. Outlining in advance the day’s activities and the gear, food and supplies that are appreciated, will save you time and money – and frustration.
While not every boat ride or day on the water is the same, here is a list of helpful things to ask your friends to pack.
Their Own Towel
Tell your friends to tuck a towel in their beach bag. Trekking a dozen beach towels down the dock is hard enough when they are dry. When they’re wet and heavy, that’s two trips. Plus a full load of laundry later!
Sunscreen And Sun Protection
There are some items that are just better brought by the people who will be using them. Having a stash of sunblocks onboard is always important, but there’s no need for the extra pressure to have all the levels of SPF, or all the pricey sprays and lotions people like.
Folding Bag Chair
A lakeside day at the dock is dandy. If you don’ t have enough seating for everyone on the dock between boat rides, add an easy-to-pack folding chair to your guests’ packing list. No more playing musical chairs!
BYOC – Bring Your Own Cooler
When each friend brings a small cooler packed with the snacks and beverages they like, it’s a win-win. If everyone is open to sharing, suggest friends bring a frosty brew (or beverage) for the group to try for a special tasting. It’s fun when everyone participates!
Floats And Flippers
No need for fights over floats, or to have sore cheeks from blowing up all the toys! Plus, If swimming or snorkeling is on the agenda, having everyone look after their own personal goggles, snorkeling masks and mouthpieces is a joy.
What About Gas Money?
Lastly, there’s the topic of asking friends to help chip-in cash for gas to address. For some, the notion of asking friends to help fund the fuel tank is awkward and tacky. After all, a dinner host would likely not ask for money to cover the meat. But then again, filling up isn’t cheap!
Friends may not know what is the appropriate amount to offer, or even how much it costs to fill your boat’s fuel tank. So, if guests ask how they can help pay for the day underway, have your response ready. If you desire and expect some gas money, let it be known or you’ll always wind up being disappointed. But be warned, if you ask in advance for help filling the tank, be prepared to have some people decline your day of fun.
Another way some boaters handle it, is they decline offers from friends to help pay for gas with appreciation, and suggest a way to pay for something else, like lunch, or nothing at all.
There’s one more thing to bring. Smiles and good vibes!
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