Welcome sailor! You’re about to embark on a high-seas adventure! Soon, you’ll be sailing along blue waters, soaking in the tropical sun, listening to the waves – the true picture of paradise. But first, you have to pack!

What do you bring on a sailing trip to the Bahamas? 

First, I want to go over the ‘obvious’ packing items, just in case they aren’t that obvious. This list includes your passport, toiletries, swimsuits, cover-ups, loungewear, sandals. When it comes to clothing, anything light, breathable, comfortable, and casual will do. Remember you’re on a boat in the middle of the ocean, not a 5-Star restaurant. Even if you do dock for lunch or dinner, sundresses for the ladies and shorts with a linen shirt for guys will do. The Caribbean is hot, so dress accordingly. 

Now that we’ve gone over the basics, what other miscellaneous but essential items should you bring? Here’s everything I brought with me during my sailing trip to the Exuma, Bahamas with The Moorings Yacht Charters

What to pack sailing bahamas

Dufflebag or Travel Backpack


What you pack is almost as important as what you pack it in. 

While boats range in size, most rooms are not equipt to store a carry-on bag or anything larger. The best thing you can do is pack everything in a duffle bag or backpack that is easy to fold up.

The bag I use and would recommend is the Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack. It has a ton of room (46 Litres to be exact), and it comes with a hip belt and adjustable sternum strap so you can comfortably carry it while you travel. The Osprey Backpack is the same one my husband and I used during our hikes to Havasupai Falls and on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Water Shoes


Many Caribbean islands are made up of from dead coral. Some islands don’t even have beaches, just sharp rocks that will tear up your feet. So if you’re hoping to explore these uninhabited islands by land, definitely pack water shoes. They’ll give you the freedom to roam around on any of the islands you come across. 

If you think you can wear sandals, don’t. I promise rocks are sharp enough to pierce the soles of flip flops.

The shoes I use are Dreamcity Water Shoes. They’re breathable, lightweight, and have rubber soles – perfect for exploring a rocky Caribbean island. 

Waterproof Cellphone Pouch


‘Pictures or it didn’t happen,’ right? Well, documenting your trip might be tricky considering most activities in the Bahamas require getting wet. And you certainly do not want to ruin your electronics. 

The solution: A waterproof pouch for your cellphone! Specifically, the Mpow 097 Universal Waterproof Case.

You might be a little skeptical if they work, but 89% of buyers gave it a 3-star review or higher. However, you should always test any ‘waterproof’ pouch before totally submerging any electronic into the water. 

Another excellent option for those who want to take their underwater photography skills to the next level the Yi 4k+ action camera with a waterproof case! This is my preferred camera equipment for any water-related activities since the quality for both video and photos are always amazing. 

If you’re interested in learning more about my travel photography equipment, feel free to check out my post on Essential Travel Photography Gear | What’s In My Camera Bag.” 

Fun Floats

On a sailing trip, there’s a lot of sailing, swimming, and snorkeling. But what do you do if you want to float in the turquoise waters? That’s where the fun inflatable floats come in!
You can buy any brand of floats from just about anywhere, but my favorites are from BigMouth Inc. Since My bag had limited space, I just brought the donut float.  Everyone LOVED the float and ended up using it at least once! It’s a fun way to enjoy the water without having to do anything work. 


If you are prone to motion sickness, please, bring Dramamine. Even if you’re not sure you need it, it’s always a good idea to have just in case you or anyone else is feeling nauseous.
Once you start sailing, there’s no pharmacy or general store for a few hours or until you dock at another harbor. So, do yourself a solid and pack Dramamine before you go. 
If you don’t like taking medication, some other options are Sea-Sickness Wristbands or Anti-Nausea Ginger Gum

Reef-Safe Sunscreen

You probably already know you need to pack sunscreen. But did you know that the very thing protecting your skin from the sun is killing coral?
The sunscreen you apply does not all stay on your skin. When it washes off into the ocean, those chemicals designed to protect us from a heavy dose of UV rays end up bleaching coral reefs. This causes the coral to lose their symbiotic algal energy source and become more susceptible to viral infections. 
According to The Ocean Foundation, “An estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen is believed to be deposited in oceans annually with the greatest damage found in popular reef areas such as Hawaii and the Caribbean.”
That is why it is crucial to use reef-safe sunscreen. Some trusted sunscreen brands under the Safe Sunscreen Council are All Good, Babo Botanical, ThinkSport, Badger, Kokua Suncare, Mama Kuleana, and Suntegrity. I use Badger Clear Zinc Sports Sunscreen 35 SPF. Like most zinc sunscreens it is thick and will take some time to rub in, but works great!

Hat With A Tie

You need a hat to help keep the sun off your face, but because of the ocean breeze, you’ll want something with a string. I learned this the hard way.
One sunny day, I was hanging out on the side of the boat, when suddenly a gust of wind came out of nowhere and carried my straw hat into the sea. I was able to recover the hat, but once it dried, the shape was ruin. 
Don’t let this happen to your favorite hat. Take my advice: buy a hat with a string and keep it around your neck at all times. 


Packing sunglasses might also be obvious, but, don’t just bring one, bring two. 
Why? You might ask.
Because there is a very good chance your sunglasses will fall off the boat or get lost at sea in some other way. Once it’s gone, good luck finding another pair. I guess there’s always the option to buy Croakies or a sunglass strap, but that’s not very fashionable and you can still lose your sunglasses. 

Quickdry Towel

Have you ever tried drying off with a damp towel? It sucks! This may happen to you in you don’t bring the right kind of towel.
It is very humid in the Bahamas, which can make air-drying towels very difficult. So the best things to do is pack a 100% cotton Turkish towel. Not only are they light, absorbent, and easy to dry, they weigh less than regular towels and take up less space in your luggage. Plus, Turkish towels are versatile so you can use it at the beach, in the home, or on the road!

Eye Mask

If you are someone who loves being woken up by the sun, then skip the paragraph. But if you sleep with blackout curtains or wake up annoyed by the sun shining on your face, this one is especially for you.
Most boats don’t have window shades, or if they do, they aren’t thick enough to block out light. On my first sailing trip, my room had blinds, but as the sun got higher, the room filled with light. So during my trip to the Bahamas, I made sure to bring an eye mask that would block out any sunlight. As a result, I woke up refreshed every day and ready to go on adventures. 

Ear Plugs

News flash: Boats make sounds, even sailboats.
During the day when you’re too busy gazing out at the shimmering sea and soaking in the sunshine, you won’t hear a thing. But at night when the excitement of the day is over, and everyone falls asleep, you’ll begin to notice little irritating sounds. Some of those sounds include waves rocking the boat, rope swishing against the mast, and creeks from the walls and doors. If you’re a light sleeper, this will be a problem. So unless you want to stay awake all night, I suggest you pack earplugs. 

Snorkel Gear

Most charter boats will provide you with their snorkeling gear. However, odds are, they aren’t the best quality and won’t fit correctly. If you’re a snorkeling or free diving enthusiast, I’d recommend bringing your own gear to guarantee comfort and quality.
Fins might take up too much space in your bag if you only plan on bringing a carry-on. So honestly, you can rely on your boat charter to provide that. But I would try to find a good mask and snorkel before the trip if you intend to spend a lot of time in the water. 

Waterproof Speaker

Your boat will most likely have some speaker system. However, if you want to bring the party to a beach, a waterproof speaker is a must!
The VicTsing Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker is perfect for this sort of occasion. It is resistant to water spray and splash, compatible with all Bluetooth devices, supports up to 6 hours of playing time, and has a metal hook so you can hang the speaker from a bag. For such a small speaker, it’ll be the biggest hit on the beach!

Dry Bag

At the end of the trip, you’ll have at least one wet bathing suit and no time to dry it before packing. You don’t want a wet swimsuit in your bag, so what do you do? 
For years my family would use plastic grocery bags to keep the wet and dry clothes separate but not anymore.
I want to introduce to you the Wet/Dry Bag. These bags have an inner waterproof lining so there are no leaks and your dry clothes stay moisture-free! If you’re interested in a Dry Bag, you can find many affordable ones on Amazon. 

Reusable Water Bottle 

During my time sailing in the Bahamas, I noticed that on and off the boat, people serve water in plastic bottles. I did some research and discovered that Nassau and some islands in the Exumas have suitable drinking water. However, because it has a particular taste, people choose bottled water. Also, while many charter boats have a watermaker, clients still prefer bottled water. 
In 2017, 6.1 million tourists visited the Bahamas. That’s potentially 6.1 millions bottles of water being drunk and tossed away daily. We all hope those bottles will get recycled but will they? 
To prevent more plastic from entering our beautiful oceans, I encourage you to bring along a stainless steel water bottle to refill and reuse during your sailing adventures. 

Disclaimer – Some of the links used above are affiliate links meaning if you place an order through those links, I get a small percentage of the order amount. This doesn’t cost you extra. So if you decide you purchase something through an affiliate link, I just want to say thank you! 

– Angie xoxo