4th of July Boating Essentials

America’s birthday is also one of the biggest boating days/weekends of the year, and the festivities come with a little added pressure to have a good time. So, if you’re looking for a surefire way to dump cold water on what would otherwise be a perfect boating day, just tell everyone you need to make an unscheduled trip back to shore for something you forgot. And, oh, spoiler alert: no, we can’t go without it!

Don’t be that guy/girl. Use the list below to make sure you have the essentials, then add some of your must-have gear to complete your packing list.

Even if you’ve had your boat out on the water plenty of times this season, it won’t hurt to look things over again and make sure it’s as ready for the holiday as you are. Check out our blog about How to Prepare Your Boat for the Season.


Keeping the boat stocked with the right accessories, gear, and toys will help you prevent a mutiny that leads to you getting tossed overboard.

+ Floating Mat

When you’re just setting out, you’ll probably cram as much as you can into the boat. But eventually, you’ll want to spread out a bit. Double the space that you and your crew have to play around and float about with our REEF inflatable mats.

+ Fenders and Ropes

At some point over the holiday, you’ll end up docking, anchoring, or tying up with another boat. Even if it’s only once, make it as simple as possible by having quality ropes and fenders that work for your boat. Check out our selection of boat, docking, and tie-up fenders.

Boat, Docking and Tie-Up Fenders

+ Towels

All good things must come to an end, so make sure you’ve got a towel for everyone when they’re ready to climb out of the water and get all warm and cozy. Looking for towels that dry quickly and pack small? Check out our TUKO Towels.

Snacks, drinks, and adult beverages

The boat captain might be the hero the second everyone hits the water, but what about when you’re four hours into your aquatic excursion? Enter: The Keeper of the Cooler. That clairvoyant mastermind who had the foresight to prep and pack every conceivable food and beverage you didn’t even know you wanted.

+ Coolers

    Nothing ruins a good time like warm drinks or spoiled food. From the leakproof zippers, welded seams, the convenient mesh pockets, and closed-cell insulation to keep your refreshments refreshing for up to 72 hours, MISSION has you covered. Check out our Coolers and Ice Chests.

    Hitchhiker, Hydra, Tempest MISSION Coolers

    A well-fed, well-hydrated boater is a happy boater. So, here are some of our go-to options for boating nourishment and refreshment.

    + Boat Drinks

    • Water – Because: duh.
    • Lemonade – This is, like, the definition of “refreshment.” Drink it straight up or mix it with an adult beverage. The real question is: are you Team Lemon or Team Sugar? Yes, we are. Thanks for asking.
    • Sports drinks – Even if you’re not an elite athlete, you’ll probably perspire a smidge out there. Toss a couple of these bad boys in the cooler to add some flavor to the hydration equation.
    • Beer – Please drink responsibly, because: also, duh.
    • MISSION Margarita
    MISSION Margarita Recipe

    + Boat Snacks

    • Sandwiches – Snacks are great for filling the gaps between meals, but you need something more substantial to keep you going for the long haul. Slap some meat, cheese, and a tangy sauce between a King’s Hawaiian Bun and bust out your trademark eatin’ jig. If you haven’t discovered the buttery majesty of King’s, do yourself a favor and remedy that ASAP.
    • Trail mix – Small, simple, salty, savory, satisfying, and some other word that starts with “s.” Just get your bear claws in the bag before the other foragers eat it all.
    • Fruit & veggies – If someone says you can’t be healthy while boating, tell that caveman to climb back in his time machine. Also, find out where he got his time machine—asking for a friend.
    • MISSION Chicken Salad
    MISSION Chicken Salad Recipe

    Safety Gear

    Like we always say: Safety first, fun a close second. Accidents can happen when you least expect it, so make sure you’re ready by keeping your boat stocked with a fire extinguisher (that isn’t expired) and first-aid kit, life jackets for each passenger, and an additional throwable floatation device.

    + Flotation Devices

    One United States Coast Guard-approved life jacket per passenger. It’s the law, and it’s the smart thing to do. Also, be sure your boat is equipped with a throwable floatation device that’s easily accessible to the driver. This can be a ring buoy, cushion, or sling.

    + Fire Extinguisher

    Even if your fire extinguisher doesn’t “expire” for another five years, it could still lose pressure or become damaged over time. Be sure to inspect it regularly and replace it if needed. Again, make sure it’s Coast Guard-approved.

    + First-aid Kit

    Injuries on the water are a bummer, for sure. But having the supplies you need to treat minor bumps and scrapes will keep that bummer from sinking your whole day. Keep your first-aid kit stocked with the basics and be sure to check the expiration dates on things like pain relievers, antiseptics, chemical ice packs, sunscreen, and bug repellant.

    Feel free to add or modify this list for your crew’s needs. Whatever you do and wherever you are, we hope you have a safe and memorable 4th of July.

    See you on the water!