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VOL. 8 NO. 6
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Onboard checklist

Consider what tools, supplies and spare parts you need on board

Onboard checklist

We all need to keep certain tools, spare parts and supplies on our boats. The items may vary from cruise to cruise, so before shoving off, take some time to consider what you need to bring aboard for each trip and what you need on all voyages.

These suggestions go above and beyond what’s required to pass a vessel safety check. Some will be more suited for outboards and some for inboard-powered boats. Although not all inclusive, this list is meant to get you thinking about your boat’s specific needs.


At minimum, you need a pair of pliers, screwdrivers (flat and Phillips), an adjustable wrench, a sharp knife, and perhaps a stainless steel multi-tool. You can store small groups of tools in zippered baggies and sprayed with a metal protector. The farther from shore you venture, the more tools you should carry. Tool kits in form-fitted plastic cases are great, just give the tools a dusting of metal protectant before storing away. These kits usually have an assortment of sockets.

A dead-blow mallet (rubber/brass) can encourage a hung-up starter or disobedient crew. A hacksaw and spare blades are mandatory if you have all-chain rode. Consider adding magnetic and claw part retrievers, locking pliers, and tongue and groove pliers. A small stainless steel wire brush for cleaning electrical contacts just might save the day.

Spares and supplies

Duct tape, electrical tape and stainless safety wire can be used to fix leaks, tears and hold things together. (A great substitute for electrical tape, the new silicon tape can even temporarily seal a leaky fuel hose.)

You also might need a small selection of hose clamps; a tube of sealant; oil, fuel, coolant and steering fluids and filters; fuel filters and spare fuel; and swim masks and snorkels. Tapered wooden plugs or a Nerf football can be shoved into a broken sea cock or hole in the hull. And on inboards, a spare impeller and puller could come in handy.
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