Most fishermen live for those weekends when they can get away on an overnight fishing trip with friends or family. Planning the fishing trip is the hard part but once you have everything booked you can look forward to a fantastic time on the boat.
You’re looking forward to a full day on the water - pulling in your limit of swordfish, tuna or whatever you happen to target. Spending the evening cleaning your catch, sharing a beer with your boatmates and getting ready to do it all again tomorrow is often just as wonderful a way to spend your time as the fishing itself.
If it’s your first time sleeping on a fishing boat (or if sleep didn’t go so well last trip) you may have some preparations to make. We’ve put together this list of tips to help you get the best night’s sleep possible so that you’ll be well-rested for tomorrow’s catch.
Pack for Sleep Comfort
No matter what season it is when you take your fishing trip, prepare for the temperature to drop considerably at night. Pack in preparation for this.
Bring along some heavier pajamas or sweats as well as some thick sock to keep your toes warm. At some times of the year, you may even want to bring a hat to wear to bed. If you’re chartering a boat, try to find out ahead of time what blankets will be available. It might be a good idea to bring along a sleeping bag for insulation and a more restful night’s sleep. Those looking for winter clothes on a budget might want to look around for sales or coupons.
In addition to keeping you warm, bringing something from home may actually help you sleep because of its familiarity. Trying to mimic the conditions at home can make it easier if it’s your first time sleeping on a fishing boat trip.
Prepare for a Restless Night
If you’re not used to sleeping on a boat of any kind, it’s not likely you’re going to get a full eight hours. There will be aspects of sleep at sea that are new to you, and they may be a bit off-putting your first time.
First of all, it’s possible that you may experience motion sickness, even if you don’t normally get nauseous on the waves. Lying down with your eyes closed is completely different at sea than standing upright with a visual on your surroundings.
To combat this, be sure to pack anti-nausea medication and sleep aids - many fishermen with nausea issues swear by either Dramamine or CBD (but don’t combine the two). It’s also worth noting exactly how to get to the bathroom (or at least to the deck) quickly.
Secondly, the noises at sea are likely a bit different than those you’ll hear in your own bed. Foghorns, other boats’ motors, boat horns and even wildlife can distract you from sleep or wake you. Consider using a white noise machine, ear plugs or ear buds to help block the sounds.
Finally, your fishing buddies may not have the same idea of “quiet time” as you do. In fact, they may even fish overnight while you try to sleep. Prior to your trip, agree on rest hours so that everyone has the opportunity to get a little shuteye. If that’s not possible, your white noise and ear plugs should help here too.
Remember the Wildlife
You’re on the boat to fish, but not all wildlife is contained in the sea. If you’re sleeping on a fishing boat, you’re going to encounter some flying and crawling critters, too.
View your overnight fishing trip as if it were a camping trip. In other words, prepare for bugs, especially in the warmer climates. Bring bug spray, optimally containing DEET. Consider a mosquito net for your sleep space, and it may be a good idea to invest in a Thermacell or even a bug zapper.
Bag Your Belongings
You already know that your boat’s going to rock. For some this is one of the most relaxing ways to fall asleep, gently swaying to the sound of the ocean. For others, it’s an absolute nightmare.
Imagine trying to get to sleep while everything around you is clattering to the floor. Your pocket knife. Your watch. Your flashlight. Plan ahead, and bag up your belongings before you get in your bed. Be sure everything on deck is secure as well; there’s little more alarming than waking up to a crash on deck.
Pack a Hammock
This is really more of a fun tip than a practical tip. If you really want to make the most of sleeping on a fishing boat trip, pack a lightweight hammock.
You can find lightweight, compact hammocks online that are perfect for use on a boat. String your hammock up in your cabin or stargaze yourself to sleep in the open air.
If you’re able, you can also secure a hammock to a hammock stand. This is more feasible if the boat is, say, borrowed from a friend. Not all charters will allow you to bring larger items like a stand on board.
Keep To Your Routine (If Possible)
If you’re planning to do a bit of night fishing, good for you! You’ll be up late and likely up with the sun. Don’t expect a full night’s sleep on any overnight fishing trip, much less one where you’ll be up later than normal.
That said, it’s helpful to try to maintain a routine when you’re sleeping on a fishing boat. If you usually go to bed at ten at home, try to do that on the boat as well. Your body grows accustomed to certain rhythms and maintaining those rhythms can help you rest better on your trip.
Above all, keep your safety in mind first and foremost when you’re planning your overnight fishing trip. Be sure your boat is anchored securely in a protected area like a cove, if possible. Keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum, please!
Have your safety gear close to you, or familiarize yourself with its precise location. Double check that all galley equipment, if applicable, is shut down. Finally, keep a close watch on the weather. If storms are forecast, consider postponing your trip.
Planning your first overnight fishing trip is exciting, but you’ll have to plan a bit in advance to make sure it’s an enjoyable trip.
Just remember: sleeping on a fishing boat is obviously different from sleeping in your own bed at home. You may not get a perfect night’s rest, but it will absolutely be a night you’ll remember.
When you have sleep apnea, the mere thought of traveling and having to lug your CPAP with you can be overwhelming. You may even avoid travel all together because your bulky CPAP machine doesn’t fit into your vacation plans.
Here at Alaska Sleep Clinic, we understand the frustration that accompanies having to coordinate traveling with the use of CPAP. Travel size CPAP machines that are lightweight and compact make vacations you once thought out of reach possible.