Day cruising is about enjoying one day or part of a day on the water without necessarily having a destination or a specific goal/activity in mind. That said, fishing, wakesurfing, sailing, gunkholing (like a Sunday drive exploring coves and beaches) and picnicking are perfect ways to cruise on a boat and they are fairly specific adventures.
Are you hoping to go day cruising on a boat? Here’s what to expect, what to bring and what kind of boats are perfect for a great getaway on the water.
What to Bring Aboard for Day Cruising
Your preparation for a day on the water will depend on many factors including the size and type of boat, the anticipated activity if any, the weather and the length of your outing. Every boat needs the minimum safety items including:
- Appropriately sized PFDs (lifejackets) for everyone aboard;
- Signaling device;
- Throwable flotation device;
- Fire extinguishers.
Other safety regulations depend on the size/type of vessel and location (lakes/rivers/ocean, etc.). You'll also want to think about how you'll be spending your time on the water:
- If you’ll be in the water, bring water toys, skis or boards. Make sure the boat has a ladder so you can get back aboard easily.
- For fishing, bring rods, tackle, bait and a cooler with ice to keep your catch.
- Bring your smartphone to connect your music with the onboard stereo or record the outing on video or in photos but bring a dry bag to keep electronics and your car keys dry.
- For open boat cruising of more than a couple hours, snacks are good and you should always have plenty of drinking water and sunscreen.
- Bring timed personal medications and seasickness medicine if you suspect you may be susceptible.
Best Day Cruising Boats
Day Cruising FAQs
What is the difference between a cruising boat and a day cruising boat?
The definitions blur since you can day cruise on any kind of vessel but usually cruising implies longer outings (often overnight) on larger, more comprehensively outfitted yachts. Day cruising is typically a few hours to a day spent on simple open boats.
What if something goes wrong on a day cruise?
That depends on the nature of the emergency. If someone becomes ill, it’s imperative to get to shore immediately. If there’s a fire you should have fire extinguishers and if someone goes overboard unexpectedly, they should be wearing a PFD. Communication should be done via cell phone or VHF radio to reach help quickly. Bring a flashlight in case you end up staying out after dark and bring appropriate clothing for a change of weather.
What does it mean to “cruise” on a boat?
For many, cruising implies longer-term explorations of a week to many years on boats that are specifically outfitted for that purpose. However, a different definition of a cruise may include a weekend getaway to an island, a harbor happy hour outing, or a day sail with lunch.