Be Prepared

For your weekend on the water

August 2014 Feature

I love being on the water, but do you know what ruins it for me? Realizing I forgot something right when the engine starts. Since I’m a dweller, I can’t get over the fact that I didn’t get it done right the first time. The feeling stays with me and it’s hard to enjoy the day. Knowing that about myself, I’ve come up with a way to overcome this problem. I always come prepared. Wait a second. That’s almost impossible. Wouldn’t it be nice if it always worked out that way? But since it doesn’t, I have come up with some ways to make sure I’m usually prepared.

The Checklist

When I was first married, I had to introduce my man to the checklist lifestyle because he’s typically more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda guy. I still have a flashbulb memory of our first vacation together because I typed up two checklists of things to get done: one for each of us. I handed him his copy and then excitedly told him once we each got done, we could switch and double check the other person.

He stared at me like I had just suggested we skin a baby with a potato peeler.

Needless to say, thus began my life of being married to someone who is nothing like me and is averse to adopting some of my quirks. Luckily, we found a way and I’m still excited to see him when he walks in the door.

A little piece of me died and went to heaven when the App store came out. Why, you ask? Because I love a good checklist and now there’s an app for that. There are actually probably more than 100 apps for that. I personally love 2do because there is so much you can do with it and so many different ways to organize your list. It’s amazing. So I have standing checklists that apply to different travel situations. Here’s a sample of what my boating one is like.

Before You Leave

Preparing before you even leave your home is 90 percent of the battle. If you have a working boat, then you’ve completed the last 10 percent. Come up with a list of the standards, such as sunscreen, fresh towels, boating snacks and extra clothes. Pack that stuff first. That way, if you need to head to the store or do laundry, you still have time.

Plan Your Journey

After you have the basics, sit down and think about the location, the time of year and other factors that are atypical of your usual stuff. Make plans to accommodate for those things by taking windbreakers, additional food, or any thing else you might need. It’s so important to take this time. Even if you feel rushed, you will probably think of something that you’ll be grateful you remembered.

Know where you’re going to stop for gas. Is it just me or does it give anyone else anxiety to pull a long load into a tiny, cramped gas station? It’s typically cheaper to fill up on your way instead of at the marina if you’re towing, but if you are heading somewhere new, it’s best to think ahead and decide which gas station will best fit your needs.

If you are going to be doing water activities, make sure you have air pumps, nozzle fittings and a good rope. If you are like us, we typically leave those things on the boat year-round. And then the magic fairy elves get bored with their own lives and start taking these things back to Narnia. Or something like that. Double check your boat storage to make sure you not only have everything you need, but that it’s in good working order.

I Have Been There

It’s time for some more personal testimonial from yours truly.

Last summer, my man talked me into a weekend of boating and camping. I love to boat, but I think camping is the worst form of torture for civilized humans. But I agreed to it. We got everything prepared but when we arrived, we realized that we couldn’t complete our dinner plans without a pan, which we didn’t bring. So I ended up paying $24 for a travel frying pan at the nearby gas station. It was actually painful for me to spend the money because I knew we would never use it again. If you don’t come prepared, it’s going to cost you.

Right Before You Leave

I have an old beach bag that I got for free several years back. When everyone else is busy loading up in the truck, I grab it and walk around my house. I put anything and everything I think I might remotely need or have forgotten. Brushes, ponytail holders, water bottles, socks and a ton of other stuff end up in there. As we drive to the lake, I go through the bag and decide what actually makes the cut to make it on the boat. At the very least, I have all that stuff awaiting our return.

Now you know how I like to get it done. I would so love to hear you tips and techniques, so if you think about it, email me and let me know. My email address is

Just in case you’re wondering, the $24 frying pan was such a painful experience for me, that I incorporated it into my in-home collection. Sometimes I pull it out and use it just for fun. I’ll never go camping without a pan again. 

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