Following is a list of suggested items that come in handy when bareboating. If you don’t have some of the items, a link is included to order them from amazon.

Handheld Radios

A few handheld radios will come in handy at anchorages. Your crew may split up with some on the boat, some ashore, and others elsewhere. The boats are equipped with VHF radios, and although a VHF handheld will work, they are typically more expensive and the channels occupied with ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore traffic. For these reasons, you may consider an inexpensive set of handheld radios that use the FRS or GMRS bands. Note that the “official” radio used for marine communication on your boat is a VHF radio. The handheld radios will communicate on a different frequency, which just means you don’t have to worry about interfering with marine communications.

Although not necessary, waterproof handhelds are recommended, particularly for anchorages where there are no dinghy docks. In these more remote anchorages you will often wade in the water near shore as you land on the beach or occasionally swim to shore if you choose.


A small, waterproof headlamp or flashlight will come in handy each evening. Choose one small enough to fit into a swimsuit pocket, and bright enough to provide ample light in a dark boat or a darkened anchorage. A headlamp is preferred to a flashlight so you have both hands free to attend to the tasks at hand. Keep it by your bed in case you need to get up in the middle of the night. And take it with you when you dinghy ashore for the evening. Your return trip to the boat will be through a dark anchorage, and the headlamp will help you avoid running into anchor lines and help you read boat names, which may spare you the embarrassment of climbing aboard the wrong boat some evening.

Glow Sticks or similar Lights

You may have had the experience of losing a rental car in a crowded parking lot before. The vehicle is unfamiliar to you, and there are probably a dozen other similar vehicles vying to confuse you. The same thing happens with a chartered sailboat in an anchorage at night. It is a good idea to bring some kind of distinct lighting to hang on the rail or in the cockpit. This will make returning to your boat much easier, and along with a headlamp, will go a long way in preventing the embarrassment of climbing onto the wrong boat in the middle of the night!


Some boats are equipped with tvs and DVD players. If not, a laptop or ipad makes a great movie for a small group. The sun sets early at this latitude, so plan ample evening activities. Although your boat may have internet access, it is typically not fast enough to stream movies. You can pick up some favorite sailing movies ahead of time, a few are recommended below.A few recommended movies are Master and Commander, Pirates of the Caribbean, Perfect Storm, and Captain Ron. Links here are affiliate links, feel free to use them if you wish.

Movie Comments Where to Buy
Master and Commander Excellent movie on the age of pirates, privateers, and the golden age of sail. Get it from Amazon
Pirates of the Caribbean What else needs to be said? Disney has captured the legend, fantasy, and magic of the Caribbean in these films. Get it from Amazon
Captain Ron A sailor’s favorite, Kurt Russell does some humorously incredible sailing on a not-so-incredible old boat. Get it from Amazon
50 First Dates This romantic comedy takes place in Hawaii, but has great Caribbean-themed remixes of popular music in the soundtrack. Get it from Amazon


Because the sun sets early at these latitudes, you will find yourself spending time either at restaurants on shore listening to local bands and talking with other sailors, or you will be enjoying the beautiful warm caribbean evenings relaxing with friends onboard. For such nights, it’s a great idea to bring some fun group games. Card games (a personal favorite is “Bang”) or social ice breakers such as “TableTopics” (available in card form, or better yet as a mobile app, which you can download here) make for a fun evening.

Another favorite for teaching basic sailing is the incredibly realistic dinghy sailing simulator, Top Sailor, which you can download to a iPhone or iPad by clicking here. This is very useful for teaching interested crew, or even for experienced sailors to challenge one another in a race around the buoys.


Following are a few additional items that you may consider bringing.

DC powered christmas lights for the boat’s cockpit will make it a great place to relax and spend time together in the evenings. Most cockpits have one or more 12 volt dc outlets, and Christmas type lights can be found online or in RV supply stores.

Knife sharpener. The cutlery aboard a charter boat is often long-overdue for a sharpening. Bringing your on cutlery may be difficult, but a small knife sharpener is worth bringing.

Underwater flashlights. Great for exploring the underwater caves in Norman Island, peering under ledges, and for an other-worldly experience, try night snorkeling.

Blender. Great for crushing ice and making tropical drinks if your boat is equipped with a generator. A smaller drink blender is preferred in case the generator is a little underpowered, or if there are several other items trying to run at the same time. The Magic Bullet blender works well.

First Aid Kit

Although most charter boats come with a minimal first aid kit, it is a good idea to bring one for your group with the medications and supplies you need. Kits on the boats often run short of supplies in several categories and are not restocked regularly. Following are a few of the more common items charterers need:

The most common injuries while chartering involve brushes with coral while snorkeling. Bring bandaids and be sure to clean cuts carefully, as small pieces of coral can spread and grow inside the skin. An antibiotic cream is a must for treating cuts

Electrolytes, usually available in tablet or liquid form, are also helpful in treating dehydration. Heat exhaustion and dehydration can set in quickly when sailing.

Sunburn treatments are also helpful. The best way to treat a sunburn is not to get one, but once it happens, having sunburn relief spray and lotions will be very helpful, particularly when you find yourself around uninhabited islands or smaller islands with no stores.

Motion Sickness Medication. Follow doctor’s recommendations, and see the section in this guide on motion sickness for more information.