What To Bring On A Pontoon Boat

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If you are planning a boat trip with your friends and family, you should have a clear idea of what to bring on a pontoon boat.

A boat trip can be super exciting for all involved.  But the experience can go from good to bad and worse if you fail to bring essential supplies like a first aid kit or sunscreen.

Once you’re out on the water, you need supplies to stay comfortable, as well as supplies to protect yourself in case there is an emergency.

Make a list of essential supplies to bring onboard. Do this several days in advance and arrange everything before the day of the trip. Taking this approach will help you avoid leaving any vital items back home.

Make a list of essential supplies to bring onboard several days in advance and arrange them before the day of the trip.

Continue reading and we’ll explain what you need for your next toon trip!


What to Bring on a Pontoon Boat

Below, is our list of essential items for all pontoon boat voyages.

1. Sunblock

When you and your crew are out in open waters, there are no trees, shades, or buildings to shield you from the harmful rays of the sun.

Believe us when we say that it can be very hot! The harmful rays even hit the water and bounce back on you with greater intensity.

To protect yourself, you need to come on board with sunscreen. Wearing a hat to protect your face is a good idea. But you need sunscreen for parts of your body that will be exposed to the sun. Never go out on a boating trip during summer without sunscreen in your boat bag.

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Also, you could go for a bimini top or choose to otherwise cover your toon!

2. Food

Food is perhaps one of the most important items to bring on your trip, especially if you plan to spend a long time away from land.

Remember, there are no cafes and restaurants in the middle of nowhere (though we do think a boat-through restaurant would be cool)! Just you, your crew, the boat, and the wide-open waters with all the nature it contains.

Due to the often large space available on pontoon boats, you can bring food loaded in coolers. As well as nonperishable snacks like crackers, chips, nuts, etc, to keep everyone fed throughout the day.

3. Water

The only item more important than food is water. Unless you have never gone on a boating trip before, you may probably think, “Why do I need to bring water along when I am surrounded by water for miles”?

Well, the water may be slimy, bateria-laden, the wrong temperature, etc. It’s always a good idea to fill up those water bottles, and make sure everyone who’s drinking a lot of alcohol has a glass of water or two!

So bringing along sufficient water to last everyone for hours is the best move to make. Consider filling a thermal cooler with cold water or another nonalcoholic cold beverage. This is so it remains cool for several hours.

4. Clothing

The clothing you bring on the trip matters! It should be comfortable and provide the appropriate warmth. If you plan to swim or your traveling party intends to swim, everyone should come in their swimming suits.

For watersports, the appropriate wear should be worn.

Towels are also essential clothing to be brought onboard to dry yourselves after having fun in the water. A line should be set up at a corner of the boat to dry the towels, and they should be held in place with clips.

During summer, light clothes are appropriate. This is so you don’t sweat or feel uncomfortable under the glare of the sun.

Just don’t forget the wind can be stronger over the water, so be prepared for a cool breeze.

5. Life Jacket/Floaters

Never go boating alone or with a group without ensuring that there are enough life jackets for everyone. Though Pontoon boats are quite safe, there are some dangers to be aware of!

The number of life jackets should correspond with the number of people on board. If you have 5 people on board, you should bring five life jackets or floaters along, not 3 or 4.

Before the trip, check the life jackets to ensure that they are in good condition. Having these onboard will help everyone stay alive in case there is an accident. They are required for emergencies if the aluminum tube punctures or the boat capsizes. It is better to be safe than sorry, so don’t leave anything to chance.

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6. Music

Life in the middle of nowhere can seem so quiet! While a little quiet can be beautiful, it can be helpful to have some tunes along as well. While engaging in your favorite activities like swimming or fishing, what better way to keep your spirit up than playing your favorite song?

Modern pontoon boats have USB and Bluetooth connectivity functions. So you can connect your smartphone to the speakers or bring a woofer along with you to keep the fun up.

Just remember you may not have cell signal or wifi out on the water. You may want to pre-download your next toon mix!

7. Utility Battery

You never know the value of electrical power until your gadgets rub out and there is nowhere around to charge them back up. This is what utility batteries are meant for. With a utility battery onboard, you can charge your gadgets, such as your:

  • Smartphones
  • Fishfinders
  • GPS device
  • Walkie talkies

Rather than draw power from your boat’s battery, you should bring a portable battery along, especially if you have a traveling party onboard.

Very good portable batteries have higher MAH capacity that will last for hours.

8. Toiletries

Bringing extra toiletries will save everyone the inconvenience of using their towels or clothes to wipe off the dirt. The last thing you want is a soiled boat that will be of no one’s interest. Toiletries can be paper towels, toilet paper, sunblock, and hand sanitizers.

Remember, though, that many pontoon boats do not have bathrooms, so be prepared.

9. Snacks

We have mentioned food previously. Nothing beats good boat snacks, especially energy snacks before the main course meal.

Snacks are for emergencies in case something happens to the food you bring on board — maybe your cooler didn’t stay cold and your food all rotted. Or maybe a shark got in there and at it all.

Snacks are also good if you feel unwell and lose your appetite. Munching on your favorite boat snacks will keep hunger at bay until you get to land!

10. Tape

Make sure you have some good waterproof tape onboard, as you never know when you may need it. And we don’t mean just any tape but duct tape because it is waterproof! Duct tapes can be lifesavers to bail you out of trouble when you least expect it.

This item can be used to fix more problems than you can imagine. You can use it to fix a tear to reduce leaks; you can use it to bind wires together or hold objects in place. Always have one on board, even when you think you wouldn’t need it, as you never know.

MacGuyver away!

11. A Well-Stocked Toolbox

Having a toolbox in your boat filled with different tools is a no-brainer. Your toolbox should be sturdy and weather resistant. It should contain items like pliers, wrenches, and screwdrivers. A standard tool kit should suffice, plus any specific tools sized for your engine.

It may take you a while to gather all these items.  But the good thing is once you have them on board, they will serve for years since they hardly go bad. Just keep the water away from them!

12. Disposable bin/bag

For a medium or large traveling party, a disposable trash dry bag is essential. Littering the deck with garbage and trash will make life onboard uncomfortable for everyone. And those trash bags are easy to forget!

Bring some disposable bags onboard so you’ll have a place to put your trash.

You and your guests should not be throwing your trash in the water, unless it is 100% food. The water doesn’t need any more plastic…

13. Blanket/Extra Jacket

This clothing is only necessary if the weather is cold or potentially windy. Some experienced boaters and anglers never leave shore without a blanket or jacket.

Even though the skies may be clear and sunny, you never know when the weather will go from warm to cold or rainy!

Wool blankets and thick weatherproof jackets are always a good choice.

14. Lighting

Your boat may have its lighting, but you need to come with extra lighting of your own. You may be out for longer than you expect, and when night falls, extra lights will help you see your way through.

Plus you can totally deck out your toon with fun party lights!

LED navigation lights for seafarers are very powerful. It also illuminates spaces several yards out.

Just be mindful of power consumption, and have a good idea of what your boat’s batteries can handle.

15. Charts

If you own a pontoon boat, you should have navigational charts (not maps, technically) on board. And by charts, we don’t mean digital maps but old-school charts of your harbors, bays, and topography.

Imagine getting lost in the middle of nowhere and not knowing where you are and how to find your way back home.

You need a nap or a set of maps if your judgment fails you.

We all know that technology can fail, you can drop your phone overboard, Russia can take out our GPS satellites…, but an old school captain’s chart never fails.

Besides the help a chart will provide in case you get lost, charts also help get a birds-eye view of your water body and where you want to go. Charts will almost always be bigger than marine GPS, so they are still a big help.

16. Extra Keys/Key Floats

One advice every boat owner should take seriously is to have extra keys to start their engine. This is because if they only have one and it gets dropped overboard, that will be a huge problem.

But with extra keys, you are safe. Besides having extra keys, you should also have all your keys on key floats.

Key floats help to keep keys afloat on the water in case you accidentally drop yours or forget to take them out of your shorts before you jump overboard.

Rather than sink, the key will remain on the surface of the water.

17. Extra Fuel

If you’re planning on going on a fairly long excursion, you should plan to pack extra fuel. You may plan to cover a shorter distance, only for the thrill of the adventure to lead you farther away.

Moreover, boat fuel gauges are not always accurate, so you may be deceived to bring less fuel than you need.

The moment you realize that you read it all wrong, you will already be far away from your local marina and gas station.

So it’s a good idea to plan to bring extra fuel if you’re going on a longer trip.

18. First Aid Kit

It is always in your best interest to stay away from activities that will expose you to the risk of accidents.

But accidents do happen. 

You or a member of your traveling party may suffer motion sickness, accidentally cut themselves, suffer a snapping turtle bite, etc.

Having a first aid kit on board is a lifesaver. The first aid kit should contain pain medication like aspirin, decongestant, drugs for allergies, and antihistamines. And don’t forget motion sickness medication!

If the region is insect-infested, you may bring open-air auto insecticide on board.

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19. Comfy Shoes

Wearing the right type of water or deck shoes is important for two reasons. Firstly, comfy shoes will make it easy to walk freely on the pontoon boat deck. Be reminded that not all water sports shoe soles are ideal for a pontoon boat.

Secondly, the right shoes will prevent you from slipping and hurting yourself. Water shoes with good soles and traction are what you should wear on board at all times.


The things you need on a pontoon boat will depend on the planned activity for the excursion! If you plan to fish, you need fishing equipment; if you plan to swim, you need a swimming suit.

However, our list is universal, with essential items to bring along on pretty much every trip.

And remember, it’s a good idea to start organizing the items for your trip well in advance of the excursion!