Warning: Packing for the Lake may be Hazardous for your Marriage
Serious boaters have a system in place for getting to the lake as quickly as possible. Serious boaters who are married are equally motivated but it requires more effort. This may seem odd because there are two people trying to accomplish a single goal. The tricky part is these two people have a separate agenda and only one boat.
Take it from someone who knows. When my husband and I head to the lake, it goes like this.
Me: I have the towels, tubes, food, sunscreen, extra clothes, life jackets, drinks, cooler and ice. Oh yeah and the kids.
Him: I have my fishing pole. Let's go.
Me: Gee, don't stress yourself out there, Captain.
Him: I didn't.
This example speaks to my validity in writing on this topic. The secret here is I like it this way. Heading to the lake is all about being organized and in my situation, that's not my husband's strong suit. With the right organizational skills, Rome can be built in a day. If my husband's leading the project, nothing needs to be built if the fishing's good.
I handle tubes two different ways. If we are heading out early for the weekend, I use a pump I keep in a plastic container on my boat to blow it up at the dock. This saves space during travel time for the extra stuff I have to carry because of the extended boating time. A pump worth the investment can blow up your tubes in mere minutes.
If we are trying to hit the lake by 5:05 p.m. on a workday, then my hubby blows them up at the house because he gets off earlier than I do. For less than $15, you can pick up an Airhead Tube handler which is a two inch strap that keeps the tubes safely and conveniently strapped to your boat as you drive. It attaches to your tube's handles and then uses suction cups and stretch cords around a cleat or rail. Seriously, the best thing ever for the on-the-go family. Since it’s 2014 in America, I assume every family is on the go and, thus makes this a worthy investment for all.
I like things that serve a dual purpose on the boat. It saves on room and weight. Our cooler is a prime example. At the end of the day, I use the excess water to pour over my kiddos feet thirty seconds before they jump in the truck. This means no sand or dirt, just happy sun-kissed faces. I have a canvas shoe caddy on board that Velcros to the bimini top for additional storage. This typically in-door wall hanging stores shoes out of the way plus holds drinks and other things that typically blow in the wind. At the end of the day, I roll it up and put it under a seat.
3. Before You Leave the House
This is one of the most critical steps. Before you even leave your home, make sure you know the expected weather conditions, length of trip and number of people going. Take a second to sit down and brainstorm everything you might need. Write down every thought and then narrow it down to the necessities. You'll be surprised how good you'll feel walking out of the house when you know you haven't forgotten anything.
4. Organize, Organize, Organize
When you're loading the truck up, take a second to make sure everything has a place before you even leave the driveway. We have a truck-bed extender that slides out to load and then slides right back in the under shell of the truck once we're done. It's so much easier to keep the truck organized when you don't have to shove everything in and then hope it stays put. When you get to the lake, you'll know where everything is and you'll be ready to go.
5. Everyone Helps Out
On our boat, everyone has a job and no one gets in the truck until everything is done. Make sure your family members understand their roles and who is responsible for grabbing what. It goes so much faster with lots of hands and it's a great opportunity to start teaching your little ones responsibility.
Family time on the lake is one of the best ways to create memories. Getting ready doesn't have to be stressful. If you do it right, then you're setting yourself up for a perfect day on the water.
Article written by Katie Burke
Katie Burke is the Editor of Houseboat Magazine and the Assistant Editor of Pontoon & Deckboat Magazine