The cruise is booked, the boat is waiting. Now it can finally start! Almost - because our beloved Hermes, also known as the god of travellers, decreed that packing suitcases comes before the sailing holiday. Underwear, toothbrush, pyjamas - check. On a boat you need the same basic equipment as on any other holiday. But what else should you pay special attention to? We dug into our wealth of experience and filled up the duffel.
The right bag
It should be big enough - check. Everything has to fit inside. But leave the big steamer trunk and elegant hard shell luggage in the attic. Remember: when the bag is empty it still has to be stored somewhere. The smaller or flatter the bag can be folded down, the better, because storage space is also in short supply on most boats.
Dressed for every occasion
The cupboards in the cabins are usually very small. Too many outfits will probably exceed their capacity and living out of a suitcase makes everyday life on board a hassle. Your wardrobe must be practical and appropriate, and of course it should be in line with the climate where you are going. You’ll also need swimwear and perhaps a more elegant outfit if you plan to go out for dinner or dive into the nightlife on shore.
But more important are proper oilskins and sturdy boat shoes that dry quickly and have white, low-profile soles. Small stones and black marks are the arch enemy of any deck surface. A pair of seaboots should also always be taken along. Even in summer in the Mediterranean it can be cold and rainy and there are days when you just can't stay in the harbour. If you’re heading to colder regions, thermal underwear is the way to go. Long underwear is also much more comfortable inside oilskins than bulky jeans. And for trips to the sanitary facilities in the harbour, make sure to pack your flip-flops or sauna shoes!
The sun has a completely different intensity on the water than it does on land. That's why you should be sure to pack sunglasses and a cap or sun hat. Polarised lenses help against reflections on the water. Sunscreen with a high sun protection factor and a light, long-sleeved shirt are also indispensable.
As you make your bed…
Charter yachts in particular can be equipped very differently. Find out what the situation is on your ship. Do you have to bring your own bed linen or sleeping bags or can everything be booked? On some ships there isn’t even a pillow. It's worth asking, because these things take up a lot of space in your luggage. Otherwise, earplugs and sleep masks are recommended, because ships are hardly ever soundproof and only very few have blinds.
Passports and licences please!
Depending on your destination, you will of course need a valid identity card or passport, possibly a visa and also your vaccination card. In addition to the usual wallet arsenal (insurance card, driver's licence, debit/credit card and some cash in the local currency), don’t forget your sailing licences and nautical mileage logbook. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of your passport separate from the original, just in case. Another pro tip: Carry with you an envelope with important emergency information. Contact person or emergency number, special medical history, allergies, information about any medication you’re taking. That way, if something should happen to you, the crew will have quick access to all your important information.
Nice-haves: The best gadgets
A few little things will make your life on board much easier. A pocket knife or multitool is always handy. A small flashlight or headlamp will help you find your way around the ship and harbour at night without having to switch on any lights. A goggle strap may not be the coolest accessory, but fishing a pair of goggles out of the water isn't cool either. The same applies to your mobile phone: A waterproof cover and a lanyard strap are useful if you want to use your smartphone as a camera, navigation instrument or music source, rather than leaving it below decks for the entire trip. A small backpack or, even better, a wet bag is great for day trips and swimming trips and to always keep important items for emergencies at hand while sailing.
Sturdy boat shoes with white soles
Flip-flops, sauna shoes
Sunscreen with a high sun protection factor
Long-sleeved clothes (shirt, trousers)
Remedies for travel- and seasickness
Remedies for diarrhoea
Wound care material
FFP masks for shore excursions
Bed linen or sleeping bag
ID card or passport
Visa if applicable
Nautical mileage logbook
Envelope with emergency information
Pocket knife or multitool
Flashlight or headlamp
Waterproof cover for smartphone
Backpack or wet bag
Sailing: Beginner's Topics
Newcomers to sailing will find all the information and advice they need from experienced sailing experts at boot Düsseldorf in hall 15.
Beginner´s sailing info
Sailing is a fascinating watersport and an ideal balance for everyday life. It's worth trying out - no matter at what age.