Personal Gear Checklist

By Tom Burden, Last updated: 10/4/2019

This list is designed as a guide to aid you in fine tuning your own personal gear checklist for a boating excursion or outing, and ensure your comfort and safety while enjoying time on the water.

kaenon anacapa polarized sunglasses

Many pro sailors, anglers, paddlers, ballplayers and other athletes prefer polarized sunglasses like this pair from Kaenon.


  • Foul weather jacket
  • Foul weather bibs or pants
  • Synthetic fleece or wool insulating layers
  • Quick drying base layer clothing
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Sea boots or boat shoes
  • Warm socks
  • Waterproof watch
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Sunglasses retainer


West Marine Offshore Automatic Inflatable Life Jacket with Harness

Offshore life jackets for sailing, like this West Marine inflatable model, include an integrated harness that attaches to your safety tether.

  • Personal Flotation Device — USCG approved
  • Signal mirror and whistle — Both are small and easy to carry
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit
  • Hand bearing compass
  • Rigging knife
  • Headlamp
  • Bright flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Handheld GPS
  • Handheld VHF
  • Weather radio


  • Safety harness
  • Tether
  • Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Garmin inReach or SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker
  • Personal flares (Skyblazer-4)