Pilots are mission-minded, and they are also mindful of weight and balance. Through trial and error, they’ll assemble and make room in the confines of a cockpit for the equipment that will work best. Check out what you need for a floatplane trip.
Being belly down on a Cessna 180's straight float, fishing a screwdriver out of a lake in northern Alaska, leaves a lasting impression as a lesson learned the hard way: If it (whatever “it” is) is not physically attached to you, zipped or strapped in a pocket, or connected to a float—whatever you have on your person or in the cockpit could slip or fall and sink into the water, turning an adventure into a predicament. That's true whether scrambling onto the float to dock, or as in my case, helping with an oil change.
That's why my favorite seaplane accessory is a jacket with zipper pockets (a fishing vest works in summer—see slideshow below). As long as I don't fall in the water, my cellphone, small wallet, sunglasses, and anything else I stash in there won't get wet.
Speaking of falling in, I wear shoes with traction so that I don't slip on wet floats. Quick-drying clothes are convenient—particularly pants that roll up or zip off around the knee for wading through shallow water. Pack extra clothing or gear that's going in a float compartment in a dry bag, because the compartments leak.
Sunglasses are another key item. Forget the polarized/nonpolarized debate; wear specs that cut the sun's glare on the water.
Check out more in the 2018 AOPA Gear Guide.