Good Hat, Good Dog, Good Boat

Jay Lloyd/Scott Zeigler

Getaway Guide: Good hat, good dog, good boat

July 12, 2018 - 12:33 pm

By Jay Lloyd

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- A "Good Hat, Good Dog, Good Boat." As the lively Chesapeake Bay tune tells us, that's all you need in this life. It may also be all you need to beat the heat in the "Dog Days of Summer" while enjoying life on the water. Give the song by the Eastport Oyster Boys a listen and then I'll explain how to apply the wisdom. 


Your mother probably told you to wear a hat when going out in the sun. Those among us who take our recreation on boats are among those most exposed to the effects of the rays. After three surgeries for those pre-cancerous cells, I can tell you, a hat is essential. So what kind of hat? I favor two.


When I was a youngster, there's were books and movies galore about the adventures of the French Foreign legion - rugged mercenaries, criminals fleeing the law and others just fleeing personal entanglements. They listened to their mothers. In every illustration of Legionnaires in the Sahara they are seen wearing the kepi. In America, Henry Fonda famously wore one in "Fort Apache," a tale of cavalry in the scorching Southwest. Simply, it's a hat or cap with a flap in back to cover the exposed and vulnerable neck. Today kepi often refers to a Civil War campaign hat without the flap. So, when looking for that protective piece of gear, search for a "flap hat" or a "sun hat." They cost between $10 and $35.

Kepi Hat
Richard Maloney


I like the bucket hat for two reasons. It gives you all around protection, including the neck and ears. And on a sailboat when things get real steamy and the wind has dropped dead, simply reach over the side, dip the hat and plop back on your head. The soaking will cool you off fast. Bucket hats can be found anywhere, some companies even give them away. They come in a variety of brim widths for men and women, and range in price from free to $30.

Bucket Hat
Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio


So, what good is a good dog while boating on a broiling day? Not much, you might think. But consider this. It keeps you company, seems to sympathize and doesn't complain. That's inspiring. And, if it likes to swim, when it comes back aboard after a dip in the bay and shakes it's whole body to dry out, the spray is incredibly cooling. Besides, you'll love the company. And like Stacey Harp of Montgomery County, many boaters have a "Pup Preserver" on their dog or very handy.

Riley the dog
Scott Zeigler


Boats make good use of nature's own air conditioning system - the breeze. Forward hatches on cruising boats, power and sail are angled so that when they are facing the wind, the hatch cover scoops the breeze and funnels it through the boat. Experienced boat owners know this. But if you're new to boating, remember that when underway, the pitch of the boat and an open hatch can make for a wet cabin. While at anchor, the craft will always swing toward the wind and with the hatch open, create a natural fan.


To provide cockpit shade, a good boat will have a canvas "Bimini." That's essentially a large cover that spans the cockpit, doesn't interfere with vision and protects crew from sun.

Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio


Fishing charters need open deck space. Casting a line and smacking a sun shade won't add fish to the chest. But you do want a boat with a hard top, covering the forward part of the deck to duck under, hydrate and then go back aft to the open part of the stern to look for the next "big one."

Hard Top
Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

Enjoy and stay cool.