After living aboard our sailboat full time since 2014, we have some tried and tested kit that we refuse to live without. These are the items we use on a daily basis and make a massive impact to our lives. Before you set sail make sure you have these items or similar. They’ll surely make your experience easier, safer and/or more enjoyable and comfortable!
We use our Leatherman non-stop around the boat. I use it to tighten the fittings on our reefing lines, lift up the windless anchor lock, unscrew halyard fittings and more. We use this tool at least once a day. It’s always in the cockpit.
We have a range of different types of knives on the boat. With all the ropes and lines around there might come a time when we need to cut something quickly. For the most part, however, we use this type of knife to cut fishing line off our prop. I’d love to say that it doesn’t happen often, but that’s not the case. We’ve had fishing line and/or fish netting around our prop more times than I’d like to count. Yes – we have a rope cutter on our prop and I’m sure that works well, but when you run over a whole net or a long floating line the rope cutter won’t get everything. Make sure you have a knife with a rope tied to the end (to slip over your wrist) handy at all times.
Dyson handheld vacuum
They Dyson helps keep the boat looking good. We have to vaccuum every day at least once. Even with screens on all the windows, dust, crumbs and foreign particles seem to fill the boat. I’m not sure where the mess comes from but it appears every day.
Magma Pots and Pans
These nested pots take up very little room and are the perfect size for our boat oven. With the removable handle, the easily fit in our cupboards leaving room for other items. We’ve now had our Magma pots/pans for over five years and they’re still in perfect shape.
A sailor without a waterproof backpack hasn’t been a sailor for very long. The amount of times we’re caught in the rain or have a very wet dinghy ride are often. When transporting iPads, iPhones and computers a waterproof backpack is a necessity.
Headlamp or headtorch
We have several headlamps. They’re helpful when looking in the engine bay, down into the bilge and throughout night sails and/or anchoring at night. We use a headlamp during the day and the evening. It helps to see back into dark spaces and ensure that everything is looking as it should be. Our favorite headlamp is the Mantus Headlamp but we also use this one.
Rapid Hydration Drops
Dehydration is a big issue amongst sailors. It’s so easy to lose water and it can be hard to get all the good stuff back into you. We put a few of these drops in our water every day or every other day and haven’t had any reoccurrence of dehydration.
Waterproof Solar Inflatable Lights
Every night before we leave the boat, I blow a couple of our four inflatable lights up and turn them on. It helps us to easily find our boat and when we’re in the cockpit we prefer these lights more than our boom lights. They’re inexpensive, run on sun power and can be squashed up to take up very little space. I suppose it’s important to note that they won’t last more than a season if you keep them in the sun. They, like everything else, disintigrates. But for the price they’re an awesome way to light up your boat and use solar power.
Yeti Drinking Cups
Getting ice can be a difficult task. We have metal reusable ice cubes that we keep in our freezer but they warm up too fast. And ice melts too quick. We’ve found that the best thing to do is to keep your beer or wine cold in the fridge and then use a Yeti as these cups will keep liquid cold for ages. The lid works well too when we’re out sailing.
If you’ve watched any of my YouTube videos you’ll see the quality of the videos I take with my camera. It’s fantastic – especially at night. This camera has a handy screen that flips over so you can see yourself in the view finder making it perfect for vLoggers. The photographs it takes are also excellent. Magazines and newspapers often ask me if they can buy my photos! The reason I love this camera is that it’s not a pain to carry around. The SLR cameras are so large – I have one but I never use it. With the GX7 I pop it in my tiny handbag and pull it out whenever I need it.
We use this handy device to download our weather reports, send and receive emails and even tweet on Twitter when we’re out at sea. When paired with the Predict Wind service you can also get a cool map showing your location to put on your website. Note that speeds are very, very slow. Think 1980’s dial-up. But it’s affordable and provides you with a way to communicate outside of cell coverage. It also doubles as a safety device as there’s an SOS button. HOWEVER, while in the Caribbean we have ours turned off. It’s not really needed. You can get cell phone coverage almost everywhere – even between islands. You might go off-grid for a couple hours here and there but that’s it. I do recommend the IridiumGo! for crossing oceans and going to more remote parts of the world.
We have this in most of our cupboards and we cut it up into placemats to put around the boat when we are sailing. We use a mat on our cockpit table, next to our plotter, on our saloon table and in the kitchen area. These mats really do a great job at reducing movement in the cupboards and keep things from flying around.
Oil and/or Liquid extractor
We use this daily (unfortunately). What do we use it for? To suck out water from our bilge. After checking our strainers, cleaning the bilge and/or working on the engine, generator or any one of our pumps water gets into the bilge. To avoid having our bilge pump go off automatically (and scare me!) in addition to elimination the risk of mosquitos from laying eggs we get rid of all water from our bilge as often as it arrives.
There’s only so much space on a boat but if you can manage it, we use our little Shop Vac often. It helps us to clean out the bilge after we service the engine, check the raw water strainers, replace something on the engine(s). Sea water gets into the bilge in areas where it doesn’t quickly drain out. With the Shop Vac we can make sure the bilge is dry (so to spot leaks quickly if we have any!).
Light For Your Dinghy
For years I’ve used my iPhone flashlight to light us up when traveling from land to the boat. It’s really not good enough. A new product range that we’ve come across is the NaviSafe lights. You can get these lights with a magnetic base and mount them on the top of your outboard or get a pole pack system. We got the pole pack system with the magnetic light. When we arrive on land, we take the light off (so no one can steal it). It’s a fantastic system.
Light Pole Pack
And this is the pole pack system we use with our NaviSafe light. Simon has installed it at the back of the dinghy by the outboard.
Other Items Worth Having
We many not use our Mantus mini Scuba tanks all the time, but when we need them we’re happy to have them. These have come in hand on multiple occasions to clear a fouled prop, check on our anchor and even to add another anchor to an existing one while at the bottom of the sea. We also use these tanks to change our hull, prop and shaft anodes. The Mantus mini tanks only last about 10 minutes but they’re perfect for quick jobs like those mentioned. Furthermore, they’re small and take up very little space. We have two on board an the whole pack fits easily under our forward berth. Check out the Mantus Pack here.