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Use this handy suggestion tool
to check off each item before putting out to sea.


Peace of Mind

  • Have the boat surveyed. Hauled out, hull inspected and bottom painted.
  • Rudder checked. Rudder fittings checked.
  • Steering cables & pulleys inspected.
  • Zincs checked.
  • Thu-hull fittings inspected.
  • Engine shaft, prop etc. inspected.
  • Batteries checked out.
  • Masthead, spreaders & rigging thoroughly inspected.
  • Ship's main compass checked and adjusted for deviation by a qualified person.

Building Blocks of Free & Independent Mobility

  • Certified life raft (preferable a Givens)
  • Class B EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon).
  • Emerson suit.
  • Self steering: don't put out to sea without a good wind vane!
  • PARA-TECH Sea Anchor.
  • Delta Drogue.
  • Cockpit dodger (a must for cruising).
  • Loran, Satnav or GPS .

Sail Inventory

  • Heavy (6 oz. minimum) cruising mains'l near new.
  • Heavy working jib.
  • No. 1 & 2 Genoas.
  • Storm jib, near new.
  • Drifter/Spinnaker
  • All Sails: stitching, reef points & raffling systems checked by a sail maker.
  • All running rigging, blocks and winches inspected and refurbished if necessary.

Safety First!

  • VHF radio.
  • Life jackets & safety harnesses for all.
  • Whistles for the crew (make them wear it around their necks like dog tags).
  • Man O'r board flag, life ring or horse shoe.
  • Approved fire extinguishers in working order.
  • Flare gun and assorted flares.
  • Marker dye.
  • Horn.
  • Signal mirror.
  • Hand held strobes.
  • Running lights, spreader lights, navigation lights and masthead strobe checked.
  • Assorted flashlights and spare batteries.
  • Pumps, bailers and buckets.
  • Dinghy, tender and paddles.
  • Boat hook.
  • Heaving line.
  • Boarding ladder.

Ground Tackle: "Oversize, Oversize, Oversize".

  • Ships reserve/storm anchor (preferably a genuine oversize CQR plow).
  • Ship's working bow anchor (preferably Danforth Hi-tensile).
  • Ship's stern anchor.
  • Lunch hook.
  • Adequate lengths of high test anchor chain.
  • All told have at least 600' of nylon anchor rode for various anchoring applications.
  • Related hardware (oversize mooring, swivels, shackles etc).

First Aid

  • Prescriptions/medications etc.
  • Bandages and bandaids.
  • Eyewash.
  • Compress.
  • Inhalant.
  • Antacids & laxatives.
  • Antiseptic cream & spray.
  • Codeine.
  • Aspirin.
  • Dramamine.
  • Vaseline.
  • Chapstick.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Water purification tablets.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Nail clippers, scissors & tweezers.
  • Dental floss.
  • Oil of cloves.
  • Emergency dental kit.
  • Spare prescription glasses

High Priority Items

  • Wet suit & diving weights.
  • Mask. Snorkel, fins and spare straps.
  • 2 alarm clocks.
  • Binoculars.
  • Foul weather gear.
  • Sailing boots.
  • Assorted parkas, jackets, gloves and thick wool sweaters.
  • Hammocks to keep clothes high & dry.

More Electronics

  • Hand-held VHF (invaluable in rescue situations)
  • Depth Sounder (might help you locate your position by comparing readings with depths shown in the chart).
  • Radio direction finder (worth its weight in gold when it comes to homing in on a single station but don't rely too heavily on your RDF alone when it comes to "getting fixes").


  • Ship's main compass.
  • Ship's backup compass.
  • Hand bearing compass.
  • Sextant.
  • Quartz watches.
  • Short wave receiver (to set the watches by, tune to WWV 5,10,15 and 20 Megahertz for the time ticks).
  • Nautical almanac.
  • Reduction tables.
  • Parallel rulers.
  • Pens. Pencils & erasers.
  • Ship's log, note books and jotting paper.
  • Triangle, protractor etc.
  • Coast Pilot (domestic).
  • Sailing directions (foreign).
  • Pilot charts (shipping lanes and a great deal of other very useful information on pilot charts).
  • Tides, tables, etc.

Tools, Tools, Tools

  • Assorted screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers.
  • Large vise grips (cam action will cut through ¼" wire in 5 tries).
  • Small vise grips.
  • Wire cutters.
  • Spanners.
  • Sparkplug wrench & gapper.
  • Allen wrenches.
  • Scratch owl.
  • Files, chisels and hammers.
  • Axe & crow bar.
  • Wood saw, hacksaw and blades.
  • Hand drill and bits.
  • Rope clamps (2 will do the job of one nircopress).
  • One large C-clamp.
  • Nuts, bolts & nails.Glass cloth epoxy resin & resin.
  • Assorted glues.
  • Lacquer thinner.
  • WD 40.
  • Silicone caulk.
  • Lots of duct tape.
  • S.Steel wool.
  • Industrial razor blades.

Marine Items

  • Barometer.
  • Anemometer.
  • Radar reflector.
  • Masthead feather (shows you which way the wind's blowing).
  • Bosun's chair (better yet, maststeps).
  • Spare winch handles.
  • Spare turnbuckles.
  • Assorted snaphooks, SS shackles & fasteners.
  • SS cotter pins (never use cotter rings).
  • SS seizing wire.
  • Hose clamps.
  • Rigging knife & stone.
  • Sial repair kit.
  • Dacron straps.
  • Assorted lines, cables, webbing shock chord, Velcro.
  • Emergency underwater epoxy.
  • Flags.


  • Crankcase/2 cycle and gear oils.
  • Grease.
  • Plugs.
  • Spare filler cap wrench.
  • Sheer pins.
  • Spare prop.
  • Spare parts.
  • Filters, gaskets.
  • Diesel additives etc.


  • Rods, reels, hooks, lures, weights, gaff.
  • Three prong grappling hook (also good for retrieving lost anchor lines).
  • Camera and lots of film.
  • Hats & spare sun glasses.
  • Blankest etc.
  • Tarps and shades.
  • Sandwich, zip lock and garbage bags.
  • Plastic wrap.
  • Aluminum foil (wrap some around a fender, hoist it up on a halyard and you've got an emergency radar reflector).
  • Drinking straws. Waterproof matches & lighters.
  • Candles & clothes pins.
  • Towels.
  • Paper towels.
  • Toilet items.
  • Toothpaste & brush.
  • Sea soap (else use liquid detergents).
  • Can openers. Large Scissors. Propane, kerosene & alcohol for the stove. Several stainless steel Thermos jars.
  • At least one gallon of fresh water per person per day.
  Don't forget to file a Float Plan with friends or relatives. Take along valid registration, Passport, Visas& documents along with phone numbers addresses and travelers checks.


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