The 12 Days of Boat Trip Planning


‘Tis the season! The season for giving presents, decking the halls, baking lots of holiday treats and boating...but not for everyone. Sadly, for many boaters who live in cooler climates, it isn’t really the season for boating–leaving many to only daydream about their next adventure on the water. Why not put your daydreaming to good use and take this time to plan your next boat trip? Trust us, a great cure for the winter blues is an amazing boating adventure to look forward to in the warmth of spring. To help you get started, here is some advice from all of us at Grady-White – we like to call it the ‘12 Days of Planning’.


On the first day of planning… choose the dates.

After you’ve narrowed in on your destination, decide what dates you’d like to take your trip. Some research you might do first includes what are the average weather conditions around the time you plan to take your trip. This can help you determine if you’ve picked an ideal time of year to travel there.


On the second day of planning… choose your destination.

Naturally, deciding where you want to go is the next step on your trip plan to-do list. If you’re planning an extended trip, determine which destinations are realistically within your boats’ cruising range and for farther trips, decide what stops you’ll need to make along the way.


On the third day of planning… map your route.

Take the time to map out your boating journey. Even if you have the best electronics, it is always a smart idea to have a paper map with your route charted. (Don’t forget to map out where you plan to stop for fuel or overnight lodging if it’s needed.)


On the fourth day of planning… make reservations.
If you plan on docking at marinas, call ahead and make reservations. Make sure that your dream destination isn’t fully booked for the date of your travel. By planning far enough in advance, you can often avoid this problem – all the more reason to take the time this holiday season to plan ahead.


On the fifth day of planning… research currents.

Make sure that you are properly informed about the currents and tidal exchanges in the areas you are traveling. This will keep you safe and make for a much smoother, more enjoyable trip.


On the sixth day of planning… update your electronics.

During this day of planning, take the time to update your electronics to the latest versions. By doing this, you can be sure you are aware of navigational hazards like newly discovered obstacles, shipwrecks, channel changes, and unexpected shallow waters.


On the seventh day of planning… review your owner's manual.

The best guide to operating and maintaining your Grady is your owner’s manual. Make sure to review it before your next outing.


On the eighth day of planning…. make a list of the supplies you will need.

Use this day to create a comprehensive list of everything you will need on your trip. Keep this list on the refrigerator or somewhere you see it often and add items to it as you think of them. Here are some of our suggestions to get your list started: safety gear including a fully charged fire extinguisher, provisions for each day, extra lines, chargers and cords for your electronics, and your boat’s proper documentation.


On the ninth day of planning… make sure items that you don’t use regularly are in good order.

Some items on your boat, especially safety gear, go unused most of the time. This is a good thing, of course! But, if the time should come that you need to rely on these items, they need to be in good, working condition. Check your fire extinguishers, sound signaling devices, and visual signaling devices. If any items don’t seem to be working at 100% or are in need of repair or replacement this is the time to get it done. 


On the tenth day of planning… get your boat Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number and set it up on your marine radio.  

This nine-digit number is your unique calling number and can be put into your DSC-VHF, your GPS and other electronic devices on your boat. If you send a distress signal the MMSI number provides the U.S. Coast Guard with important information about your boat such as the name, size, make and model. Working in conjunction with your GPS it can also help in search and rescue efforts. While we hope you never need this feature, setting up your MMSI number is relatively simple. In the United States, contact the United States Power Squadron . Canadian residents contact Industry Canada. MMSI numbers also work outside the United States and Canada but must be set up through the Federal Communications Commission.


On the eleventh day of planning… schedule boat maintenance and/or a tune-up.

Smart boaters winterize their boats and perform a spring tune-up. If this is something you have neglected in the past, it is extremely important to get this done before your journey. We advise every boater taking a multi-day trip to do this regardless. Take this day of planning to call your dealer and schedule the necessary professional maintenance.


On the twelfth day of planning… tell your boating friends, they may want to tag along!
By your final day of planning, you’ve probably already started to count down the days until your departure. Share this excitement with your friends and invite them to join you! We’re sure that an invitation on your incredible boating adventure will be the best present they’ll receive all season!