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Old 14-11-2011, 13:34   #16
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Re: Advice Needed on Tools for Boats

I am working towards a 3 tool box approach

1 general / day to day
2 Engine, including any special tools
3 Tools that would be useful once in a blue moon - but just don't know which ones

Their is also a woodwork box.....not sure if that counts as No.4 and there be a drill roll floating around (wood and metal) - in addition to those in the general tool box A "Tool kit" for painting would also be nice......

oh, and the electrical "Bits & bobs" box has a few (v.small) screwdrivers in it.

But at the moment still on the refurb phase - so my general tool box looks like this (and has acquired a few things that won't be in there later):-


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Old 14-11-2011, 16:48   #17
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These guys are good giving lots of advice. I would add flashights. Hand cranked one too. Standing on you head trying to get to a hose clamp isn't fun. Extra tools for when they go over the side occationally. You will also need spare parts for things that go wrong like impellers.

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Old 14-11-2011, 16:53   #18
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Re: Advice Needed on Tools for Boats

An impeller puller and an oil filter wrench...

Plus my husband swears by our set of dental tools (donated by his dentist) to clean corrosion out of tight places, along with a good brass brush ...
Cheers! Jan
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Old 14-11-2011, 17:14   #19
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Depends on the boat and location

What you'll need will depend on the boat and the location. No use for steel repair tools on a fibreglass boat for example.

Your most versatile tools could be cash and a smile.

Most of the tools needed are not expensive to buy in the US and Oz, other countries may cost more. Tools are heavy though, so if you're flying across the country to find a boat it may be easier to sell the lot and to buy new as needed.

Rather than thinking larger boat with tools it may be better to consider smaller, newer boat with fewer tools.

There is the possibility that the boat you buy could come with a full complement of tools.

Our members love discussing boat buying options so if you'd like to share your preferred options and intended cruising area many here would love to help.

It's much nicer to fit new curtains than to fix old engines.
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Old 15-11-2011, 03:39   #20
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Thanks everyone! Thats a combined total of over 50 things to look for without counting the duplicates. Some very good advice on how to 'manage' a tool collection too. Thanks also jr for the link to the magazine article. With few exceptions I think that I will be able to put together most things on the list I have written down. Very helpful. With the exception of an impeller puller and turnbuckles I should be able to recognize the rest! Really motivated to do this now! Thanks again!
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Old 15-11-2011, 03:59   #21
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One more suggestion, saltwater and moist air are a corrosive environment. Your tools will rust away to nothing if your not careful. I occasional spray mine with Boeshield T9, others just use an oily rag. Either way it's best to keep them lightly coated to prevent corrosion.
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Old 15-11-2011, 04:52   #22
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Re: Advice Needed on Tools for Boats

Bring the tools you know how to use. The best tools in the world are useless if you do not know how to use them. Take repair classes if possible. Once you know how to do things you will know what tools you need, everyone has different skill sets and will want different tools. Good luck and jump in with both feet the water is fine but deep! hope to see you out there.
Capt. Wayne Canning, AMS
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Old 15-11-2011, 05:48   #23
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Re: Advice Needed on Tools for Boats

Here are some lists that I have collected from a number of different threads and from different forums over the years. You can pick and choose from them according to your skill level and your cruising areas.

- chain wrench
- a good multi tester for elec. issues
-several metric sets of wrenches - the ones I use all the time are the small set with*ratcheting and flexible ends in order to get into tight spots
-a good extensive*metric and American socket set with extensions and a 24"-30" long arm handle for large sockets to tighten eng. mount bolts etc.*where you will need a lot of purchase
-a temperature gun - you aim it at a spot on mechanical gear and give you the temperature - you will use this while under way to check for hot spots - like the packing gland, the temp. of oil going to/coming from your keel kooler, etc.
-a prof. oil filter wrench, not one of the cheap auto supply ones, but an expensive one that looks more like a large channel lock with real long arms
- a ratcheting screwdriver with multiple bits is very handy
-a full set of screwdrivers and good ones
-a couple of mirrors with handles for finding stuff
-a good magnet with long handle to pick up stuff dropped in the bilge or under an eng. - ugh
-a good headlamp flashlight to put on your head so you have light without using your hands
-a rubber mallet for beating the commercial grade Velcro tape that holds your headliners up - you literally have to*hit it hard with the rubber mallet for it to reattach itself
-a hard plastic headed hammer for tapping check valves that have hung up - all you drains will have them and from time to time the CV hang up and you will need to tap them to get them flowing again - a small regular hammer will work but the plastic headed one is lighter and easier on the CV bodies
-an electrician's parts bag with multiple pockets for keeping screws/bolts/washers/etc. in separate compartments - a plastic bin assembly could work for this to.*
-a light work pouch for hauling tools around the boat with you - I actually use the bag for a Crown Royal bottle part of the time but once in awhile a good bag with multiple pockets for tools is great.

I actually have a few hand tools in the bridge (I can quickly grab a tool while at sea, working in the bridge or out on the foredeck), a few down by the accommodations area and then a full set in the eng. room; oh, and a small set on the tender for outboard work if necessary.* This keeps me from running up and down stairs as much whenever I need a basic tool.

I was lucky as the original owner left me almost a complete set of Craftsman tools in a Craftsman metal tool box permanently attached to a bench in my eng. room.* Craftsman tools are excellent but expensive, but have a life-time warranty with them.* Any good tool will work.* I would caution* you to stay away from the cheap, usually China-made tools as they tend to fall apart just when you really need them to perform.


Great list,
One thing that should be added is the "grabber" tool that allows pick up from hard to reach places.
For anyone not familiar it is about 2 1/2 ft long flexable bowden cable with 4 claws that extend when the head is depressed, release and the item is grabbed strongly and allows for carefull withdrawl of the lost item.

Having simple sets in many ares saves a lot of time as mentioned.

Auto-wire stripper

Ratcheting terminal crimper

Continuity tester which places a tone on a wire that can be heard by the other part of the kit.

Various wire cutters to include flush cutters

Heat gun for shrinking adhesive tubing and terminal connectors. Can also be
used to soften hose to get it on and off barbed and smooth pipe connections
- essential.

Fabric-backed sandpaper to clean corroded items.

Contact cleaner spray with silicone to remove oxidation and protect against
future oxidation.

SS wire staples and stapler

Black electrical ties for exterior use (UV resistant)

Various types of electrical tape including that which only sticks to itself (self amalgamating).

Other useful items:

SAE and Metric nut driver sets

Hacksaw with bi-metal blades

Cobalt, 135 degree point drill bit set for SS and other hard metals.

Set of files

Set of small diamond hones

Brushes - stainless steel, brass, and artificial bristles

Stubby versions of wrenches and ratchet handles

4lb. short-handled sledge hammer - don't laugh, there will be a time when you may need it.

Set of cold chisels

Strap wrenches with rubber, non-marring straps

Vise-Grips - every model they make.

Huge pair of channel-lock pliers for hose removal.

AWAB SS hose clamps - ONLY! Except for "T" clamps.

Ratcheting hose and PVC cutter

Riveting tools - Marson brand with SS and aluminum blind rivets


Auto center punch

Digital calipers

Various epoxy glues to include putty sticks and underwater glue

Dremel drill with cutting wheel set

Bedding compound to install any new fittings

Impact wrenches both battery and 110V powered

Various knives to include a box of replaceable blades

Extension bar for leverage on wrenches

I may have missed these in previous lists: but here goes:
Swiss army knife--Huntsman--seems to have the most common "little" tools you need everyday for those minor tasks. Corded 1/4 and 1/2 inch drill with 6 X 25 feet of 10 gage cord with locking plugs. "Sawz All", corded, with at least 6 of each type of blade. Face shield and safety goggles. Ear muffs and ear plugs. Adjustable height work lights and extra bulbs. Electric welder and skill to use. "MAP" gas torch and 6 small bottles of MAP gas. Gloves--pig skin--they don't get "hard" after being wet. MD type exam gloves. Work type gloves. Chemical "proof" gloves. Hard Hat. 1/2 face respirator with appropriate cartridges and get the lung function test to help ensure you can wear and use it. 2, 3 and 4 inch schedule 40 pipe in 2, 3 and 4 foot lenghts for use as "cheater bars", get them so the pipe ID fits the handles of the wrenches/tools use will use and so the pipes fit inside one another for extensions when you really need to "lean" on a fastener. Locking tool chest(s) with holders for the sockets/wrenches/etc--helps to keep things organized. People sometimes don't consider manuals as tools but...they are. Paper and pencils and pencil sharpener. Clip boards. White board with marker, eraser and cleaner. Glass cutter. Suction cups--various sizes with and without "levers" and handles. Measuring devices--metal and wood. Levels, roofing square, T-square, carpenters square, metal scribing tool. Saber and Skill saw--corded and cordlesss. Metal, plastic and wood blades. Hand saws--"shorty" and "regular lenghth." Plastic pipe and hose cutting tools. Reamers. Tap and die set. "Fishing snake."
Sharpening stones or hand held or electic sharpeners. Saw tooth set device. Hack saw--metal and plastic with blades. Will probably come up with more
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Old 15-11-2011, 07:49   #24
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Re: Advice Needed on Tools for Boats

Originally Posted by sailvayu View Post
Bring the tools you know how to use. The best tools in the world are useless if you do not know how to use them ...
Actually, in many anchorages you will find knowledgeable & willing people, with the skills to help with technical repairs, but not the tools.
If you have the appropriate tools, and (perhaps) the manuals, they can & will be able to help you out.
I recommend that one bring all the hand tools that you can reasonably accommodate.
Gord May
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Old 15-11-2011, 09:34   #25
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While i totally respect people volunteering help or offering their services for pay. Be wary. Not everone is above board. Tell them you will give it some thought then check them out with others.
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Old 15-11-2011, 09:42   #26
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Re: Advice Needed on Tools for Boats

Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
I am working towards a 3 tool box approach
I'm up to five. Electrical, mechanical, woodworking, drill-related, large tools. The dink also has its own waterproof tool kit. There's also a riggers kit with everything from fids to sewing palm, et cetera.

I guess that's seven?
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
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Old 15-11-2011, 10:36   #27
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Re: Advice Needed on Tools for Boats

Um, bolt cutters or some method of cutting your rig away.

Buy big and useable, wrap them and oil them and hope to goodness you have wasted your money!

When I was younger and racing we lost 2 rigs in 3 weeks both at sea. They are very hard to cut away. Everyone will tell you that you just push out the pins, true, but don't risk your life getting to the pins because you don't have a backup.

Go to a rigger see if he has a scrap of your rigging.

Get in the shower, cold tap only, in the dark with just a torch, in full wet weather gear and try cutting a piece of your rigging, it will:

a) improve your technique
b) ensure you take exceptional care of your rig

"I get knocked down but I get up again" eventually.
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Old 15-11-2011, 20:41   #28
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Re: Advice Needed on Tools for Boats

Welcome Aboard, Awesome Grandma,

Newly separated, back in the '70's, a man friend gave me this advice: "you are not as strong as a man, so you must use leverage." It may have been the single best bit of advice I received just then. Ever since, my Breaker Bar (not a crowbar, but a 1/2" drive extension handle about the size of a torque wrench--also very useful) has been a steadfast helper.

In terms of flashlights, as mentioned above, I'd strongly recommend an LED headlamp, great for working in dark places, and on deck, too, both hands free, and the light is where you need to see.

Good luck with it all.

Ann Cate, s/v Insatiable II, lying Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia
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Old 15-11-2011, 21:44   #29
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Re: Advice Needed on Tools for Boats

If there is an small angle grinder, dremel tool, or power sander in the garage, bring them too.
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Old 15-11-2011, 22:26   #30
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Re: Advice Needed on Tools for Boats

Some great advice above. I want to re-iterate that it's better to have the tools without the knowledge to use them than the other way around. Someone in the anchorage will know what do with them to help you out.

Also, corrosion is a big deal for tools on a boat. Maybe easier to find than Boeshield T9 is simple silicon spray. Sraying the tool kit lightly once a month or so with this lubricant will ensure they don't rust. Silicon spray is cheap, easy to find and lasts MUCH longer than WD40, which is what most people use.

And have fun.


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