Ah! Boat Camping! There is nothing more enjoyable than camping on the beach with your boat – if you do it right!
You can make Boat Camping as easy or as difficult as you like.
It can be Heaven! But boat camping can also be the Greatest Nightmare.
Here are my top 5 hints to make your boat camping (and possibly) fishing adventure easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
1. Parking the boat while camping.
When boat camping, you really have only have two options - beach the boat or allow it to float; each with pros and cons.
If you plan to beach the boat select a location which is free of bottom debris and either flat or gently sloping. If you allow the boat to float you must anchor and tie up well, allowing for strong tides and swell. Always anchor up stern to beach.
I have a preference for beaching my boat over night when I go boat camping. I like to know it is going to be there in the morning as I have seen boats drift away during the night with disastrous consequences.
2. Anchoring up while camping.
Whether you float or beach the boat, if you want to sleep during the night you really need to make sure the anchor is firmly set. Follow these simple steps.
> Go astern into the beach and from the bow, lower (not throw) the anchor.
> Continue to go astern slowly allowing all the chain to lay flat, straight and tangle-free.
> With the chain all out, tie off and continue to go astern slowly until the anchor beds well. The boat should not move when the anchor is properly bedded.
> Release the bow anchor line, go astern all the way to the beach and then tie off.
> Tie a stern line from the boat all the way to the beach. Tie off to a tree if possible or bury your second anchor into the beach.
I like to tie a rubber stinger to my bow line to take the pressure off the anchor - just in case the winds pick up during the night.
3. Know your Tides
However you anchor your boat, you must know the tide chart. (Tide tables seldom give you all the information you need.)
On the local tide chart, locate the time and the depth of water on your arrival and slide your line across to determine when (or if) you can leave. In the example above, if you anchor up at (A) your boat will be out of water all night with your earliest departure time at (B) the next day. You also have to be out before (C).
That sounds like a good plan to me, if your idea is camping overnight.
It might by lousy if you are only planning to picnic for the day. In this case you will need to keep moving the boat to deeper water with the outgoing tide.
Tidal information is available from hundreds of web sites. The official BOM site provides the most comprehensive coverage.
4. Packing the boat for camping.
Consider the trim when packing gear around your boat. Try to balance the load from bow to stern and port to starboard. Keep your camping gear to those out of way areas on the boat so that you can actually fish without tripping over.
Keep all your access areas (anchor well, fire extinguisher, bait well) clutter free. Load the boat at home and walk around to see if you can do everything you plan on doing.
5. Pack lightly and efficiently.
You can’t take too much water when camping, but freeze it in bottles to reduce your ice. Having food in vacuum packs and keeping them frozen also minimizes ice demand.
Try taking dual purpose items. Don’t sit on your esky unless it is built for it but it makes a great table for your camp stove. Storage boxes that stack make great dinner tables. Pack non-returning gear (grocery items) in cardboard boxes that can be used to start your camp fire (if allowed)
Pack in lighter loads. It is a sorry sight watching some poor person lug heavy loads up and down the hot soft beach.
Seal all food containers to keep critters away from your tucker. Take a sealable bag/box/container in which to keep your rubbish and bring it home. Good quality light, waterproof sealable containers are worth every penny.
Camping on a beautiful beach which you share only with the local flora and fauna can be a special kind of heaven.
What are your favourite camping locations?