How to Plan a Stress-Free Boating Vacation

Your preparation shapes your experience on the water. If you are considering taking a boating vacation this summer, do some preparatory work, and you’ll be much more likely to have a blast on the water. Here’s a quick look at some helpful tips to plan a boating vacation that proves stress-free.

How to Plan a Boat Trip in 8 Steps:

1. Research Boating-friendly Destinations

Take a moment to envision your ideal boating vacation. Do you want to explore the Florida Keys? Perhaps your mind’s eye drifts toward scuba diving in Lake Erie. Maybe you prefer more of a local boating expedition closer to home. Research potential destinations, understand which is optimal for you and your travel companions, and take your time when choosing.

Read Next: 10 Best Boating Destinations in the US

2. Consider Your Ideal Boating Activities

Ask your family or friends about what they want to do while on the water. Most boating vacationers are partial to one or two on-water activities, such as fishing, sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving. Determine which activities your group favors and plan your boating vacation accordingly.

Find Your Ideal Boating Activity

3. Consider Your Travel Companions 


A boating vacation with friends will be quite different from that with kids. Bringing the little ones along requires additional planning, whereas a boating vacation with adults can be more carefree. 

If you plan on bringing the kids along, pack snacks and entertainment for them to enjoy on the boat. Confirming that the boat will have child-size life jackets on board is also essential.

Alternatively, if you are a solo traveler planning a boat vacation, a couple, or vacationing with friends, research yachts and other boats used for vacationing to get a sense of the adult-oriented activities available.

4. Book Your Boat Ahead of Time

Don’t wait until the last minute to book your boating vacation. After all, you aren’t the only one who has the idea of taking to the water for fun in the sun. Even if you aren’t ready to plan a trip this summer, you can look ahead for holiday or spring break trips.

Go Boating Today

5. Consider Hiring a Captain

The last thing you want to do is be stressed out on the water during your vacation. If you own or rent a boat, don’t embrace the DIY (do it yourself) ethos. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the view while an experienced captain leads the way.  

Ideally, your boat will have modern navigation systems, including GPS and additional tech niceties. Navigation technology makes it much easier to chart the trip efficiently and keep all vacationers safe throughout the journey. An experienced captain knows how to use such electronics to navigate hazards ranging from erosion to dredging, shallow waters, shipping lanes, and more.

6. Plan the Meals

Think long and hard about what you will eat and drink while enjoying your vacation on the water. 

Consider packing a cooler with bottled water, sports drinks with reenergizing electrolytes, and more. Be sure to include plastic cups instead of glasses that have the potential to break. 

Also, don’t forget to pack some energizing snacks that will help you power through sunny days of fishing, swimming, snorkeling, and water exploration.

Read Next: Plan a Boat Brunch

7. Get the Boat Inspected Before Departure

Most people get their car inspected and maintained before a cross-country road trip, so it only makes you do the same as planning a boating vacation. Have your boat inspected and maintained by a professional before departure, and you’ll hit the water confidently.

8. Map out Fuel Stations

It is a mistake to assume you’ll conveniently stumble upon fuel stations during your journey. Do your due diligence, map out fuel stations along the planned route, and you’ll have enough fuel to make it through your boat vacation stress-free.


Start planning your boating vacation today, and you’ll get the most out of your on-water adventure!

Our website will help you find the right boat, boat club, and boating destination. If you don’t own a boat or are considering upgrading to a new boat, we invite you to check out our Boat Buyer’s Guide.