Essential items for your boat

We were in Bangor on a fairly windy day and with my work schedule, doing jobs for Beverley's mum and poor weather there was only time to sort out a few boat tasks, so the task that I sorted out was changing the lines on our new snuffer and replacing a shackle that was loose, I also whipped the block attachments, and added the blocks to the sheets so that they were in place for attaching to the cleats. Meanwhile Beverley added a grove to the fender step following a viewers comment and finally added a layer of wood preservative to them so they were protected.

What are the essential items for your boat?

This was a question asked of us, so we decided to put a post up and ask our audience and they came back with

  • Wife and Kids
  • Beer and Wine
  • Dog

A few said a sea worthy boat and that was about it really. Certainly there were nothing that we could use for our answer, so these are our essential items and we have split them into two groups, minor and major. They are all essential but the minor category you can get by without or you can use other things instead.

Minor

  • The life raft - Pretty essential, but if you are sailing very close to home or inshore, then you can get away with using your dinghy. Also, its only really essential when you are sinking so as long as you look after your boat then it is something that you hopefully do not need.
  • Builders bucket - A builders bucket has a heavy base so that it sinks, this is great for when you need to clean your decks quickly because you can drop the bucket into the water, to clean your decks. You can also use a bucket as a drogue for emergency steering.
  • Auto pilot - This should be high on your list of desires, but you can get away with steering the boat by hand, we certainly lived without an auto pilot for a good long time, but it so handy to have
  • Torch - Really useful for seeing where you are going at night, so if you are going to sail at night then get a torch with plenty of lumens. The one we have is 600 lumens which is equivalent to a head light. We do have other torches as well and another we like is the one that go around your head for hands free mode.
  • Light in the engine compartment - If you are going to fit extra light anywhere then put a light in the engine compartment so that you can see what you are doing when you are checking your oil levels etc.
  • Jiggle hose - Used to syphon diesel from a can into your tanks. Really good so that you do not need to suck diesel
  • Splicing kit - You have so many ropes and lines on a boat, that being able to whip them is pretty essential

Major

These are needed, some all the time while others are needed if you are going to keep a boat for any length of time

  • Radio - Always have a radio with you, we even have a radio for when we are in the dinghy. It is the 6W version rather than the 5W version as it has slightly larger range and that larger range has helped us on a number of occasions.
  • Boat hook - We class this as so essential that even when we are in the dinghy then we take a boat hook with us as it is so essential for grabbing into things and helping you in a load of other jobs
  • Life Jackets - We have two different sorts, our normal life jackets and a dinghy vest for when we are out on the dinghy. In some countries like Southern Ireland then having a life jacket is mandatory
  • Warm clothes - Seeing as we are sailing around the North then having warm clothes and we will be for at least the next two years, then having warm clothes are pretty essential. One day we might be some where warmer where we can be in a swimming costume all the time but we are not there yet.
  • Food and drink - Having something to drink and also having a snack on board are essential. Especially water as the wind will dehydrate you and if you dehydrate then you can go slightly mad. I have suffered from dehydration and I could hardly string a sentence together.
  • Knife - Used for so many things and really handy in an emergency, but do keep your knife sharp otherwise it can be quite dangerous
  • Binoculars - Used for finding things. Having a compass inside the binoculars has been really handy and can help you say things like, "Look at that heron on a bearing of 220°" and the other person can see what you are talking about. We have also used them for reading the pontoon numbers in a marina.
  • Power tools - Used for making so many jobs easier
  • Vice grips - So handy and will get you out of trouble in a number of occasions.

Life Jackets

While we were checking the life jackets, we noticed that for three of the life jackets the firing mechanism was going to go ping over the summer, so we replaced them

Raising money for the RNLI

The RNLI turned 200 years old on 4th March 2024. So as sailors and people who promote the joy of sailing, we thought that we would like to raise just £200. What we hope is that other people take up the shout and raise their own £200. In the last 200 years the RNLI have saved over 144,000 lives and yet they are funded entirely by people like you. They are not government funded.

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