a woman walking to a yacht for a boating trip

The Complete Sailing Checklist For Your Boat Trips

Are you planning on going on a sailing trip? You’re now probably wracking your brain on what you need to bring to avoid the hassle of going back and forth on the day itself. A sailing checklist is a handy tool for newbies and experienced sailors alike, so you know what you’ve packed and what you’re still missing. Together with a planned itinerary, a pre-departure checklist is a good way to stay organized and keep everything in place until you set off.

The good news is that we’ve come up with a complete sailing checklist of everything you need to bring with you on your boat, so you’ll have the essentials.

itinerary and travel documents

First Off, Add an Itinerary to Your Sailing Packing List

An itinerary is an important part of sailing since it organizes the places you need to get to and keeps you on time. To start off your sailing checklist, you first need to organize your itinerary, from choosing from the best sailing docks in the Philippines, choosing a destination – maybe Palawan or Boracay – to plotting out the exact or estimated times that you’ll be setting off and when you’ll be arriving. You can also plot out specific instructions for your crew or your companions on when they would need to check equipment throughout the journey, or who would be assigned for crew rotation. Try to provide everyone on board with a copy of the itinerary and post a copy on the boat itself for easy perusal.

Don’t Forget to Pack Your Travel Documents

Whether you’re planning a local trip or an international trip, don’t forget to add your travel documents to your sailing checklist. These are always useful for identification purposes or if ever a local government is requiring proper documentation of all visitors. Bring identification cards, passport and any type of documents that will prove your citizenship and your permanent address. These might also become useful in case of emergencies.

For international sailing trips, don’t forget to check the requirements and possible application processes you need to complete before you can enter the country. Check whether you’d need a tourist’s visa or any other documentation. Make sure you accomplish everything before setting off to avoid any roadblocks that you might encounter. Additionally, store your documents in waterproof containers or bags to avoid them getting wet during the trip.

clothes for a sailing trip

What Clothes to Pack for a Sailing Trip?

Wearing appropriate clothes on a sailing trip is crucial for both comfort and safety. You don’t want to be wearing clothes that will stay wet for the whole day, so you’d want fabrics that are appropriate for seafaring. While you might be tempted to wear something pretty or flowy to enjoy the ocean breeze, these aren’t suitable and might even cause a few accidents if you get caught in the boat’s many nooks and crannies. Here are a few recommendations on what clothes to pack for a sailing trip:

Quick-Dry, Layered Clothing

Knowing what clothes to pack for a sailing trip is important since it would make a big difference when you’re out sailing, especially with the often-unpredictable weather and cold sea breeze. There’s always a risk of rain showers out at sea, so you will need to pack quick-drying, durable clothes. Even though you might think that sailing is often accompanied by warm temperatures, you still need to be ready with multiple layers since temperatures may drop unexpectedly.

people wearing boat shoes and sneakers on a yacht

Boat Shoes or Non-Slip Shoes

Wearing appropriate shoes is also important in sailing since you’d want good grip and non-marking soles. Boat shoes or sneakers are good options so you know your feet will be able to stick to the floors even when the floors or deck is wet. If you don’t like walking around with wet shoes, it would also be a great idea for you to pack at least one extra pair that you can change into while you’re waiting for the other pair to dry.

Sun Protection

Add sun protection, such as sunblock, sun-protective long-sleeves, large hats, and polarized sunglasses, to your sailing trip packing list, since you’re probably going to battle it out with some painful sunrays out at sea. While you’re sailing, you’ll notice that sunlight is much more painful on the skin and on the eyes since it’s being reflected by the ocean.

Bring enough sunblock so that you can reapply accordingly to protect your skin from the harmful rays. This will also help you avoid getting sunburned, which is not something you’d want to happen during a sailing trip. Always go for broad-spectrum, waterproof sunblock ideally with at least SPF 30 so you get equal protection against UVA and UVB. As much as possible, reef-safe sunblock should be the norm to protect coral reefs and the ocean from environmentally harsh chemicals, such as benzophenes and parabens.

Sweaters, Jackets, and Rain Suits

Bring enough warm clothing, like waterproof and windproof jackets, to keep you that ready for any type of weather you’ll encounter during your sailing trip. Add waterproof raincoats and rain suits to your sailing checklist just so that you’re prepared for anything.

What Food Should You Pack for a Sailing Trip?

One of the questions that you might be asking while you’re doing all the planning is what food to pack for the sailing trip. For people who get seasick, this is probably one of the most important questions you can ask, especially since some food may not sit well with you when you’re eating them out at sea. If you easily get dizzy or queasy, it’s best that you stick to light snacks and bland options, like saltine crackers or plain bread. While it might seem like a good idea to skip meals until you’re able to dock, this might, in fact, exacerbate your nausea especially when you’re starving. Stock up on saltine crackers on board just so that you can munch on something on the way.

For people who don’t get seasick, there are numerous options you can go for, from fresh fruits and salads to luxury gourmet meals prepared by an onboard chef. If you’re planning on eating complete meals on your yacht, plan out every meal so your crew can properly prepare all the ingredients that they will need. And, of course, don’t forget to feed your crew as well!

a first aid kit

Sailing Safety Essentials Checklist

Lastly, we’re going to talk about the safety essentials that need to be part of your sailing trip packing list. Like with many water activities, sailing comes with a few risks, making it absolutely crucial that you have emergency guidelines and devices at the ready. Your boat must be adequately equipped with floatation devices, kits, and life rafts in case you encounter any type of accident or difficulties offboard or onboard during your sailing trip.

The Philippine Coast Guard also requires regular vessel safety enforcement inspections to assess yachts or boats if they are safe for voyage. For you to be cleared, you need to reach the minimum requirements for safety, including safe and healthy conditions onboard, ability to communicate during distress situations, and the adequate life saving devices corresponding to the maximum crew capacity.

To help you tick off all emergency safety essentials before leaving, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to bring along with you to ensure that you’re safe, comfortable, and happy during your sailing trip.

First-Aid Kits

Wherever you’re going, first-aid kits are always a must-have on checklists, be it for sailing or for hiking. This will help you be prepared if any accidents happen. As much as possible, place your first-aid kits in a waterproof bag to ensure that all the contents stay dry and usable for the whole sailing trip. Pack up on antiseptic wipes, bandages, adhesive tapes, gauze pads, cold packs, and medications. You can even pack multiple kits for your sailing trip just to be sure.

life jackets on a yacht

Lifejackets or MOB Equipment

Man Overboard (MOB) equipment and Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) are essential for sailing since there’s always a risk of someone accidentally going overboard.

There are numerous ways someone can fall off the boat, from getting accidentally hit by the boom or slipping on the deck. If anyone on board isn’t experienced in sailing or swimming in the open seas, it’s best that they’re fashioned with a vest. Having throwable MOB devices are also useful to have around, so you can throw them to anyone without a tether.

Some examples of MOB equipment include throwing lines, ladders, and rescue straps. These will help anyone who’s fallen overboard get back on deck easily or at least provide them with a device to keep them afloat until help arrives. Personal floatation devices, on the other hand, are equipment that help people tread water or swim to safety without the risk of drowning. Some examples of these are life jackets, life savers or flotation suits. Make sure that these safety devices are part of your sailing packing list every time you set off.


When you’re in the open seas, distress signals are extremely important, especially in cases of emergency or if you need to get to safety. One of the materials that may be of use is a whistle or a horn. Whistles are recommended since blowing on it would require less energy than screaming for help. Ideally, whistles should be attached to personal floatation devices so individuals can signal where they are when they are off boat, which is especially important if it’s nighttime or there is reduced visibility. These sound signals will help you be located faster.

Harnesses and Tethers

These refer to the tethering equipment linked to individuals to keep them connected to the boat if ever they do go off-board. In some cases, safety tethers are attached to life vests to give the wearers the ability to link themselves to a strong anchor point on the boat to avoid drifting too far into the open sea.

a stranded man using a smoke signal

Signal Flares and Other Signaling Devices

Signal flares are important parts of your boat’s safety equipment. They would come in handy when you need to summon for help in case you are in a dangerous situation or you’re in need of immediate boat repair. Some examples of visual distress signals include red hand-held flares, orange smoke signals, and red meteors. Do not leave shore if you haven’t crossed this out of your sailing checklist.

Let Marine Care Take the Helm for Pre-Departure and Post-Departure Maintenance

After you iron out your sailing checklist, the next thing you need to do is to make sure that your yacht or boat is in peak shape to minimize the risk of any breakdowns or any accidents that may arise from an undermaintained vessel. With Marine Care’s expertise in yacht cleaning, maintenance, and repair, you won’t need to worry about anything before or after you set off on your sailing trip. We’ll be responsible for tuning up your yacht, doing the required system checks, and repairing anything that might have been damaged after your sailing trip. Let us do our job in keeping your vessels in the best shape while you relax and plan out your next sailing trip.

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