Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top 10 Tuesdays: 10 Items You Can Not Have Too Many of on a Boat

Our impressive collection of sunglasses.  Excessive?  Perhaps.
There are so many items that make living on a boat more comfortable.  I've probably touched on many of these items before but I thought it might be nice to consolidate them into a Top 10 Post for reference.   These are all items we use pretty much daily and have learned that you simply cannot have too many of them aboard a cruising sailboat.  Here are our

Top 10 Items You Can Not Have Too Many of on a Boat
  1. Bungees. Bungee chords are useful for everything from quieting slapping halyards to securing items on and below deck.  We have a dedicated "bungee bin" with a wide variety of bungees and shock-chord in different sizes and thicknesses.
  2. Zip-lock bags.We have a LOT of ziplock bags ranging from quart size to extra large.  We use ziplock bags to store everything from small electronics (to protect from water and/or salt air) to open packets of cookies or crackers (to prevent from going stale) to flour and sugar (always double or triple bagged!).  I aslo bought a big selection of oversized ziplock bags before we left and keep everything from clothes to spares in them (the large are the most versatile).  For quart and freezer sized bags, we prefer the Hefty brand with the lockable zipper, much easier to use.  We also carry the standard zip-locks as well for everyday things.  In fact, it's pretty safe to say if there is a ziplock out there, we've got it on board somewhere!
  3. Flashlights/head lamps.  Boats have lots of nooks and crannies in them and boat lighting sometimes doesn't cut it if you're looking for something deep in a locker somewhere.  We actually have three airline-grade emergency flashlights that are permanently mounted to bulkheads in our boat which are fantastic for the quick and easy grab and go type stuff but in addition to these we have countless smaller flashlights and about five LED headlamps.  We also have two LED high-powered spot lights which are excellent when navigating a harbor or anchorage at night or looking at sails in the dark.  We have two because in the event that one runs out of juice (which has happened more than once) we have a backup charged and ready to go.
  4. Line.  We have SO MUCH line.  Spare halyards and dock lines are a given, but I'm talking about smaller line from twine to line that is the diameter of a pinky finger.  We have lots of smaller line which is great for everything from making lanyards for tools, to using for a laundry line, to securing our outboard motor to our motor bracket and much, much more.  Keep lots of lengths and sizes of line handy (not just the mooring and docking lines!) and you'll use it!
  5. Bins.  I've sung my praise of bins many times before.  Just about every locker and lazarette in our boat is fitted with bins that stack and fit perfectly in those spaces.  We label each bin with the contents and keep them in their designated places.  It makes finding items much easier, less messy, and helps to keep our boat organized and tidy.  Aside from those obvious benefits, water-tight bins protect whatever it is that is in them from water, mildew and rust, and also contain any spills that might happen inside them (we once had an oil spill in a locker and because we keep all our oil in a very large bin, it stayed contained and didn't spill all over everything else in the locker).  Again, we have a variety of sizes from jumbo to small and keep everything from gallons of oil, to spares, to screws in them.  Keep in mind that square store better than round.
  6. Batteries.  Speaking of 'bins', we also have a "battery bin" where we keep tons of spare batteries in every size and shape.  Each type of battery is removed from the packaging and put into a ziplock bag and labeled so we don't have to deal with packaging and loose batteries when we need them.  We also have a small array of re-chargeable batteries on board Rasmus.  We stocked up on these in the USA because batteries (especially long-lasting lithium which our SPOT tracker requires) are not easy to come by on all islands and are much more expensive.
  7. Chip clips and Clothespins.  Chip clips are great for obvious reasons.  Down here, if you leave a bag of chips or crackers open for longer than a few hours, it's stale city.  We have a variety of chip clips to help fight the staleness.  Some people use clothespins to secure food bags, but I have found they are not strong enough and don't really work well for this purpose, hence the proper chip clips.  We do however, use the plain old wooden clothespins every single day to hang laundry or just dry dish towels or bathing suits on the lifelines.  
  8. Bags. Tote bags, duffel bags and re-usable shopping bags all come in handy on a daily basis.  Remember - bags with PLASTIC zippers are best.  We've had to perform surgery on most of our metal zippers and our new policy on the boat is that if we can buy it with a plastic zipper, we do.  No more metal zippers on board if we can help it - such a pain in the butt.
  9. Sunscreen and Sunglasses.  The sun is brutal down in these parts.  If you saw what it does to gear out here (from breaking it down to bleaching it) you'd hate to imagine what it's doing to your skin and your eyes.  We use SPF 30 and 50 daily and use UV protected polarized sunglasses and carry lots of both (and yes, we have a sunscreen bin!).  Because glasses have a tendency to find their way to King Neptune, it's best to carry a few spares however one need not carry as many as we have.  That's just ridiculous.  How in the heck did we end up with so many I wonder?!?
  10. Amps.  When I asked Scott for his input on this post this was his answer and it is pretty much the best one.  "Amps" is slang for "Ampere" which is a unit of energy measurement.  Because live-aboard cruising boats are (for the most part) self-sufficient most of us are constantly looking for ways to boost the input of amps into our boats with solar, wind or water power to keep our electrical systems running.  If you want to make friends with a cruiser, admire his or her solar/wind setup and ask about their boat's energy maintenance and/or use.  You'll be talking for a long time.
Other great items that we also use daily or regularly that folks suggested via our Facebook Page are books (love my Kindle), toilet paper (we pay a little extra and use the quick-dissolvable marine kind that can be flushed in a marine toilet - throwing TP in our garbage is just gross to us), paper towels, zip ties, hair ties (for ladies), bug spray and of course spare parts (stay tuned for a more in-depth blog post on this soon).

What are items you use on your boat daily that you couldn't live without?

Brittany & Scott


SailFarLiveFree said...

Really good list! Who couldn't use more amps? To your list I might add multi-tools/Leatherman. We've got three onboard and use them for everything from cooking to rigging repair.

Deb said...

I would add an infrared trigger style thermometer. We use it on the engine and associated equipment but I use it more in the galley to check bread making liquids and oil temp for frying potato chips and we even use it to check the water temp before we dive in!

SV Kintala

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