So you’ve just passed your online boating exam from BoaterExam.com, and you’re ready for your first boating adventure. The first item on your checklist is safety gear for you and the family. As you may have noticed during your search, all that prep material has taken a rather dry approach to safety equipment.
We’re here to tell you however, that it doesn’t have to be so drab. In fact, numerous options not only meet safety standards but also add a dash of style. Think Jacques Cousteau meets Jean Paul Gauthier… Well, sort of..
Life Jackets & Vests
Image Source: Inhabitat
The number one piece of safety equipment is a personal flotation device (PFD), also referred to as life jacket or life vest. A PFD has to be worn at all times on the boat, but it doesn’t have to be the fashion and comfort problem you’d expect it to be. In fact, today’s high-end PFDs are quite lightweight and flexible, and they come in wide range of style options such as the inflatable belt life jacket (pictured above) designed by Kathleen Westerhout and Dana Ramler. Discreet and sleek, it can even pass off as a regular accessory.
Image Source: Jem Jigs
Safety always comes first and that means dressing appropriately. Now, that’s sometimes easier said than done. A warm day can suddenly feel quite cold out on the high seas. So the trick is to layer. You can arrive in shorts and a t-shirt, but have something more substantial available in your bag. Also, choose clothing that does not hold water, and have a spare outfit on hand.
Image Source: Overboard
In order to keep those extra clothes dry, you’ll need a waterproof bag. Sport-oriented knapsacks and duffle bags are both good choices, and since you’ll be carrying these on your person to and from the boat, there is a style opportunity! Also, your main bag is a good option to hold most of the personal items you bring.
Waterproof Fanny Packs
Image Source: Coast International
For the small items, the waterproof fanny pack is very useful, and it’s an opportunity to add a splash of colour to your ensemble. You certainly don’t want to bring a purse or something similar on board, so the oft-ridiculed fanny pack is a great choice to store all those small items you want to have accessible.
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Shoes are a crucial aspect of any stylish ensemble, but they are also a very important practical choice. Boat shoes are the most popular option, but many sneakers are often solid choices as well. They key is to choose a shoe that is non-slip and waterproof or at least water-resistant. It’s not a bad idea to have a second pair on hand, and don’t choose anything easily detached from your foot, such as flip-flops.
Hat & Sunglasses
Image Source: Zennioptical
Last but not least, don’t underestimate the value of a good hat and a strong pair of sunglasses. If you’ve never been, you might be surprised at just how bright it can get out on the open water. Without a good pair of sunglasses, you might just find it impossible to get comfortable. As for a hat, baseball caps are solid options, but why not try an extravagant sun hat which will give your face and shoulders more protection.
After all, it can mean the difference between a great day and a too long day that leaves you feeling drained.