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Must-Have Items for a Fishing Boat

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Like any other boating trip variety, all-inclusive fishing excursions by boat will require some preparation in terms of basic gear and equipment. From safety and related legal requirements to various fishing-specific gear and items, it's important to take some time before your trip to ensure you have all the right equipment on your boat before departing.

At Pybus Point Lodge, we handle all this for you. Our halibut fishing trips, for instance, are carried out on one of our three modern fishing vessels, which we'll outfit comprehensively ahead of your excursion to ensure all the proper items and equipment are present. What are some of the basic items we'll arrange for you? These are valuable to know, both for your own interest and so you can arrange them on your own if you're in charge of a boat-fishing trip in the future. Here's a simple rundown of the items typically needed on a fishing boat.

License and Registration

If you'll be operating the boat in question, you must be fully licensed and registered to do so. However, for the purposes of our fishing trips, our guides exclusively operate our vessels, so this will not be a concern for you.

Life Jackets

Another major item area to consider here is personal flotation devices (PFDs). We provide all our guests with life jackets, so there's no need to bring your own.

There must always be enough life jackets on board for everyone on the vessel, and each jacket must be in good condition. In addition, the life jackets must be of the right type -- there are inshore, offshore and inland varieties, and which you choose will vary based on the body of water in question.

Each life jacket must be free of damage, and it must fit you properly (for this reason, PFDs are sometimes available for passengers to wear during the trip).

Fire Extinguisher

All boats under 26 feet in length are required to have at least one fire extinguisher on board, and these requirements only increase with the size of the boat. Many larger vessels have two or more.

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit must be readily available on the boat at all times. You don't want to find yourself without proper supplies should an accident occur suddenly. The kits should contain antiseptic ointments, adhesive bandages (both sterile and regular), non-latex gloves, burn treatments, other assorted dressings and medications (including antidiarrheal, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory) and oral thermometers.

Visual Distress Signals

Another item that's present on every single boating vessel, including fishing boats, is a set of visual distress signals. These should be packed in a watertight container and mounted somewhere clearly visible.

Each one must be activated manually from the outside, without assistance from people inside the vessel -- not an easy task if you're injured or busy fighting a fire! The purpose of these signaling devices is to alert search-and-rescue personnel and other boaters that there's been a serious marine accident.


In case of emergency that includes dark conditions, you'll definitely want a flashlight on board! A handheld flashlight, as opposed to a headlamp, will prove most effective. For larger vessels, also the benefits of a spotlight.

Anchor and Rode

If something were to happen to the boat that required it to receive a tow or other forms of assistance, this would be the most important item to have on board. You definitely don't want to find yourself drifting in the ocean or any other large body of water without a way to hold your position!

For larger boats, there may be multiple anchors used -- all are required to hold the boat securely, even when conditions are challenging. If an issue arises, the boat's captain will first lower the anchor and ensure that their position is being maintained, and then will call for help and inform search-and-rescue of the precise location of the boat and its anchor.

Tool Kit

All boats require tools of some sort, and this is especially important for fishing boats. Common items that should be kept on board include a knife, pliers, screwdrivers and adjustable wrenches in the larger sizes.

The further your vessel will be traveling, the more tools you should potentially consider bringing along (all to fulfill the unique demands of your trip and catch!). These basic tools often come in handy for tasks like removing hooks, making repairs and attaching equipment.

Phone and Marine Radio

Communication devices are also vital for any fishing trip. The most basic of these is a VHF marine radio, which can be used to contact on-shore rescuers, other boaters and emergencies services like police and ambulances (if such channels are active in your area).

Though some fishing boats do come with cell phones mounted, the reception that they provide on the open water is unpredictable at best, and the limited view that many fishing boats have of the sky limits their effectiveness as well. It is still a good idea to bring your phone along in case you need to contact emergency responders -- just remember that local cell towers can be up to dozens of miles away from where your boat will be.

And given how widespread cellular coverage has become in the last few years, you should check with your cellular provider to see what sort of support is available at sea. Many providers are now offering options for boaters that include access to calls, texts and data coverage when on open water.

Rain Gear

Even if the weather forecast doesn't directly predict it, we recommend packing rain gear for any fishing trip. This includes things like ponchos, rain jackets and boots or other protective footwear (depending on the wet conditions that are predicted).

Though these can be brought on board in addition to life jackets, it's important to consider the space restrictions on a boat -- don't bring too many items along, otherwise you could run the risk of overcrowding. It may be better to purchase items that can double as rain gear and life-saving devices, such as a PFD that's waterproof, or a pair of shoes that are designed for safety on board.

For more on the important items that must be present on the boat for a fishing trip, or to learn about any of our all-inclusive fishing and wildlife packages, speak to the staff at Pybus Point Lodge today.

Alaska Packing List PDF


Download, share, or print out our PDF Packaging list to make sure you bring all the gear you need for your Alaska vacation!


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Discover why people like you can’t stop talking about Pybus Point Lodge. More than 30 years ago, the lodge opened as a simple fishing camp, drawing a devoted following in spite of basic accommodations. With new owners and experienced captains and crew, our corner of Alaska has become an unbeatable fishing and eco-tourism resort.

Andrea Tate

Incredible Experience!

Pybus Point Lodge has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. I mean absolutely breathtaking! In addition to the amazing fishing, I hiked to a beautiful secluded lake, soaked in some hot pots, saw several waterfalls, went whale watching, saw bears and all kinds of wildlife and marine life. As a photographer, photographing a wedding under a waterfall will remain a highlight of my life.

Shirley Johnson

Pybus Point Lodge - WOW!

We had the best time! This was our first visit to Pybus, but it definitely will not be our last. The stunning scenery, amazing fishing experience, and the joy of meeting new friends – all outstanding! We did not want to leave!!! If you are thinking about this trip – don’t think any more, just book it. You will not regret it!!!

Sharon Hedding

Trip of a Lifetime!

We had such an amazing time the staff was so wonderful and the lodge was fantastic! capt Joe was so helpful and always doing what ever he could do to make each day special. a special thank you to both Scott and Jody for taking the time to make us feel like family. can't wait to go back next year

Jason Nielsen

Wonderful and Magical Place

We had an amazing business retreat to Pybus Point Lodge.  Everything was top notch... the fishing, the staff, the boat captains, the food, the accommodations, and especially the scenery. I really liked that Pybus took care of everything from start to finish. Chef John is an amazing cook. We had delicious hot meals the entire trip.  The cabins were amazing and very comfortable.  The fishing was awesome and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t fish that much.

Brandon Foote

We brought home 100lbs of fish!

My wife and I spent a week at Pybus Point this Summer. We had a beautiful, private room overlooking the bay and our own new, ensuite, private bathroom. What an amazing place for couples to get away together. We set our own breakfast time, met our boat captain after, fished the day along, and returned to clean up and enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Next time Alaska is on the trip list, Sherrie and I will go together, and it will be to Pybus Point!

Kent Danjanovich

Fun in Alaska

This was my first trip to Pybus Point. I stayed in one of their new cabins. The accommodations were incredible, the view onto the bay in the mornings was stunning. I loved the staff and the food was really very good. All of this and they have new boats to take you out onto fairly calm waters to fish. The fishing guides were great. Overall a great experience. Definitely going back.


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