The One With The Unexpected Products We Use The Most Living On A Boat

As a travel blogger I’ve shared tons of packing tips over the years. I have a method for making my lists and, in general, I’m pretty good at anticipating the products and items we’ll need for a trip. 

However, moving onto a boat full time was a whole new ballgame. 

Obviously we knew we’d use the typical boating products.

For example, a lot of lines and fenders (or rope and bumpers as I keep calling them…and getting corrected ALL the time.) We knew we’d need the obvious items like clothes, shampoo and White Claw.

Brent knew he’d need a fully stocked tool box. And yes, he’s used it a ton (he’ll probably do a post specifically on this soon. Unfortunately, we’ve had to re-purchase a lot of tools that he got rid of when we moved onto the boat.) 

But there’s been a whole batch of unexpected products that have been absolutely critical for living on a boat. 

(These are the unexpected products that we either ordered because we realized we really needed them. Or the ones we brought “just in case” but without realizing how important it would be):

Mini Keurig

I started out with my regular size Keurig, but realized really fast that it wasn’t going to work. I felt really guilty spending the money for ANOTHER Keurig, but honestly the mini is perfect for a boat! My coffee makes me happy every morning and therefore, the new Keurig was worth every penny!

Waterway Guide

We bought a bunch of these before we started our trip and they sat in a cabinet. One day I pulled it out because I was struggling with researching our next possible stops. Quickly I realized it’s basically the Boating Bible. The Waterway Guides contain tons of maps, tips, marina information and even concise information about various coastal towns. Absolutely valuable!


This is a beach travel product I’ve loved for years, but I had no idea how much I’d appreciate having on the boat. Sharkbanz technology repels sharks (even the Navy SEALS use them!) My kids are jumping into the ocean all the time these days and it gives me total peace of mind knowing they have their Sharkbanz around their ankles. 


Y’all when Brent added this to our Amazon order I thought he was being ridiculous. Another boater recommended it, but I was not convinced it was necessary. Until we got our anchor caught around an old crab pot and the only way to free our boat was to use the machete to cut ourselves free. We’ve used it about 3 other times for boat projects. Here’s me, admitting I was wrong.

It is a necessary product for every boat!

Coca Butter Lotion

Bugs are a reality of boating. And some of the worst bugs of boating are things called no-see-ums. Someone gave us the tip that Coca Lotion repels them. Since I’m not a big fan of chemical bug sprays, and my natural essential oil bug spray didn’t seem to have an affect on the no-see-ums, we tried the lotion. It worked!  

Go Pro

Some of the things you’ll see while boating (on the Loop or not) are truly once in a lifetime experiences. We try to have a camera rolling at all times on the front of our boat. Some days we just film over if nothing extraordinary happens. But often our Go Pro captures things that we wouldn’t be able to get on our iphones. 

Marriage Saver Headsets

Everyone with a big boat will tell you that you need these. And I’ll confirm that recommendation. There are lots of blind spots on the boat and it can also be very loud when docking. (Not to mention there are sometimes well meaning people standing around giving instructions that are NOT correct.) These walkie talkie style headphones allow Brent and I to carry on a conversation while docking that doesn’t involve yelling. We also wear them when anchoring in bad conditions. 

Crock Pot (Or Instant Pot)

I really debated bringing my crock pot on the boat. At home, I used it more during the winter. And pretty infrequently. I wasn’t sure it was worth bringing considering it would take up a lot of space. Brent and I finally agreed that we would donate the crock pot along the way if it turned out we didn’t use it. But man am I glad we have it! On the days where we plan a very long day on the water (60+ miles) I make sure to have something going in the crock pot. The last thing we want to do after navigating all day is cook dinner. It’s so nice to have something ready after we finish docking. 

Knee Pads

This was another purchase where I rolled my eyes. Really Brent? But I found out quickly that he spends a lot of time down in our engine room performing checks or troubleshooting issues. These knee pads make it much more comfortable for him. In fact, he’s so comfortable in these that one night we looked down and realized he’d walked to dinner wearing them- haha! 


We moved onto our boat with a lot of sunglasses. From stylish Blenders to cute Target specials. But I realized really quickly that sunglasses made specifically for boating are really important. After doing some research, I decided on Rheos for the whole family. For starters, they float. We’ve tested this feature several times! Secondly, they are polarized which is so important when you are out on the water. We’re able to spot crap pots, logs and other hazards much earlier than with our other brands of sunglasses. Plus, we look like real boaters wearing Rheos!

4 g LTE+ wifi wireless router

We have 4 people on our boat who enjoy having wifi. We stream Disney +, work a full time job, blog, download videos, etc. In other words, it’s pretty important. After trying two other (less expensive) options, we ended up with this router and we’ve been very happy so far. If you enjoy being connected to the internet, don’t try to save money. You’ll end up spending more in the long run when you realize the cheaper products don’t work well. (We have an AT&T Sim Card in ours because we have Verizon for our phones…trying to diversify in hopes to always have access.) 

Drying Mat

I had a dishwasher at home. And I loved it. On the random occasion that I washed something by hand, I would just use a towel to dry it right away. I tried the same method on the boat (minus the dishwasher) and realized I was going through at least 5 kitchen towels per day. Since we don’t always have access to a laundry room, and I don’t have the space to store 30 towels- I needed a better solution. I love my drying mat so much that I’ve actually ordered a second one. 

Here are two products that we have not technically used, but I highly recommend having on your boat:


Thankfully we haven’t had to use these, but I’m glad we have them! We attached small marine whistles to all of our life jackets. If someone were to fall overboard, the whistles are very loud and can be heard for a distance. 

Safety Turtle

Along those lines, our kids (well, specifically Miller) are just old enough that we can really trust them to follow the rules. However, if they were any younger we would definitely invest in in the Safety Turtle Immersion Alarm. We’ve met two other families with young children living on boats and they both swear by this product.

While this might seem like a lot of must-have products, I really can’t stress the importance of having the right stuff on your boat!

Storage is precious on a boat and you want to make sure you reserve that space for necessary products. 

There’s also the issue of not having immediate access to stores at all times. Often we don’t even have an address planned out to ship Amazon packages to. Again, having the right products on board when you need them is extremely valuable!

If you’re a boater, I’d love for you to leave a comment with your must-have products!

Thanks for keeping up with our crazy adventure. You might also enjoy reading:

The One Where I Explain Cooking On A Boat

The Best Ways To Make Your Travel Memories Last

How To Sleep Better When You Travel

*This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase after clicking on a link, Mom With A Map will receive a commission. 

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  1. […] The One With The Unexpected Products We Use Living On A Boat […]

  2. Kent on July 21, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Just curious if you are allowed to bring the machete with you entering Canada or not? It is considered a tool or a weapon. =)

    • momwithamap on July 23, 2020 at 2:22 pm

      Good question! I’d assume yes because we got the tip to have one from several other Loopers and no one mentioned it being an issue. Maybe we’ll move it into our tool bag for traveling in Canada. Right now we have it in a more accessible spot incase we got in trouble and had to cut our lines away from a dock or something. But…I guess I’ll let you know.

  3. Sam ofer on December 28, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Very interesting since I am planning on
    Hopefully starting the loop this year.
    How can read all your blog ?

    • momwithamap on December 29, 2020 at 2:42 pm

      Hey Sam! So excited for you- the Loop has been the most incredible journey! We started June 1, 2020 out of Brunswick GA. SO many adventures! You can find the main site page at

      All of the boating adventures are at the top in a section I call “Captains Log” You can scroll back to all the past posts. Hope you enjoy. Please reach out if you have any questions as you prepare. We love helping, encouraging and inspiring others!! -Sarah

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