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Inexpensive, but useful/helpful items on your boat

JoeStangJoeStang Member Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭✭
So, after one year of boating I am starting to learn and see what items I thought I needed and what I used a lot. I have quite the cache of items in my Amazon cart right now, with most of them being under $100 a piece.

Here's a couple I found I liked a lot, and were pretty inexpensive:

Dorcy Invertible Lantern ~ $15

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This little guy was really inexpensive, but we used it a ton. Yes we have LED cockpit lighting, but its only really good for lighting the floor. This can be used on the tabletop or hanging upside down with the light projecting down & out. We hung it from the bimini frame all the time in the evening (not when under-way though), and it gives off a nice warm yellow light (its a Xenon bulb), not a harsh LED blue. Its not the light to use for lighting a room for reading, but for dim light for a relaxed evening its perfect. It'd be nice to use on the hook too, as you dont have to worry about running the boat batteries.

Craftsman 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac ~ $25

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Again, its pretty inexpensive but worked great for us. Its MUCH stronger than any cordless vacuum I've tried, but its still easy to store and just the right size for the boat. It makes quick work of dog hair, crumbs, and even water in the bilge. Its 110V, so unless you have an inverter you're stuck using it at the dock, but most times I cleaned the boat it was at the dock anyways.

Quicksilver/Mercruiser Oil Drain Pump
~ $25
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Due to some unforeseen issues I had to change my oil a couple times last summer. Each time was 100% mess-free and very easy due to this item. As long as the oil was nice & warm it would pump out the oil in under a minute and never failed to get as much oil out as possible. There are other systems that put a smaller diameter tube down the dipstick tube, but I've read horror stories with the tube getting caught or falling off inside the crank :O  I know the this leaves a tiny bit (it seems like maybe less than a 1/4 quart) of used oil in the crank, but the only other alternative is the plug/tube on the bottom of the oil pan, which looks like quite the PITA to get to. With this & the remote mounted oil filter I can literally have the oil change done in under 10 minutes, and thats with a generous beer & music break in there. :)
2013 276 Cuddy ~ 350 MAG / B3

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    LaReaLaRea Member, Moderator Posts: 7,627 mod
    Handheld electric bug zapper, $15 at any Walmart.  Functional, yet emotionally satisfying on a primal level. 

    Also, for spiders and other insects that don't fly:  lint rollers (those little masking tape thingys).  Kill the critter, then peel off the tape and toss it.
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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Scented dryer sheets keep spiders away too.

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    JoeStangJoeStang Member Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭✭
    I know they are a very common issue, but for some reason we didnt have much of any issue with spiders last year. We didnt do anything special to keep them out either.

    Maybe because we were on the boat a lot? We would get out almost every weekend and at least once or twice during the week.

    I am mad at myself for forgetting to put a couple dryer sheets around the boat before storing it for winter. Its indoor heated and I dont have access to it now. Hopefully its not musty when I open it up in the spring. Its only got the mooring cover on, so its not air tight.
    2013 276 Cuddy ~ 350 MAG / B3
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    Dream_InnDream_Inn Member, Moderator Posts: 7,594 mod
    That's a nice little list you started jtkz. I have a built in vac, but bought one of those vacs that mount on a five gallon bucket and leave it in my dock box for cleaning the bilge. I have a couple of those push button led lights that you can just set wherever. Great when you have kids that like to use lights. Another great thing is one of those fold up tool containers (mine is from Sam's club). Gotta have the 1/2 inch ratchet to be useful with some deep sockets to allow for engine work.

    Dream 'Inn III -- 2008 400 Express

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    212rowboat212rowboat Member Posts: 2,591 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Paramedic shears cost about $5 or so, and will cut through just about anything on a boat.... Maybe even he boat itself given enough time and beer.. I have three sets onboard.. on in med kit, one in stern passthrough cubby hole, and another at the helm cubby hole..

    First aid kit.. decent one is maybe $30.. also add some ibuprofen, aspirin, and bourbon.. don't wanna run out of bourbon.

    Rechargeable spot light.. maybe $40, small enough to go in the glove box. Good for navigating unfamiliar shoals at night or in fog, or in fog at night.. helps with docking/loading, too.. its a nice signaling device to, Ifn it becomes neccissary..

    Cheapo binos. The pocket sized ones with variable power. Stowed in the glovebox, too.. never know when you'll need your distance peepers, or for what. I leave these on the boat, so they aren't great quality..

    An extra(s) hub, hub nut, and pin (i also have breaker bar and socket for said nut) .. yeah, my drive doesn't have a pin, but other boats do... Wanna ingratiate yourself to someone? Bail him out when he's got his family on board and is stranded.. free beer, at the least..

    Always an extra line or two.. always a fender or two(i call them bumpers, but that **** somebody here off one time for some reason) ...

    Anyway, this was a good idea for a thread.. I'm going to be shopping again, it looks like.. :-)
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    JoeStangJoeStang Member Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    Couple other items I found recently:

    Tow strap - $20 Overtons. Hope I never have to use it, but is much safer than some old dock line or chain that was laying around. I only wonder if 30' is optimal, or if it should be longer?



    2013 276 Cuddy ~ 350 MAG / B3
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    JoeStangJoeStang Member Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭✭
    Rechargable/12 volt fan $20 walmart. I'm getting this as we dont have Heat/AC, so the cabin can get a little stuffy in the marina due to no cross-wind. I like that it doesnt need to be plugged in, and it uses the same batteries as my flashlight and lantern, so we always have them on hand.

    image
    2013 276 Cuddy ~ 350 MAG / B3
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    MarkBMarkB Member Posts: 3,969 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I like my $80 Tassimo coffee maker - one push and you have fine coffee!

    Also we have some of those spray bottles with fans on them. Basically fill them up with water and squirt water through the fan at the top of the bottle. I mounted some bottle holders at the helm to slide them into, so when we are cruising and its hot, I can have the fans running and give it a few squirts every once in a while. They are a great idea until my 5 year old gets a hold of them and decides to use them as a portable shower.

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Boat + Water = Fun"

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    TikiHut2TikiHut2 Member Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    JT, Great topic. I'd go for a longer strap for a boat tow but I keep one of those in each of my cars. Very handy. We've used those fans for years even when the a/c is on to move some air into the aft bunk. They're an excellent choice for low current draw vs airflow while being easy to stow.

    We use a 10 cup coffee press just because one cup at a time is too slow to start the morning I.V. after a night on the TikiHut. Simple and plenty of joe to get your get-up-and-go going. Easy to prep the water w/o stoking the genset on the nice quiet gas stove too.

    image


    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
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    nhsdnhsd Member Posts: 182 ✭✭✭

    Bimini clips. May not be as appropo to you cruiser drivers, but I find them useful on my 212 for hanging towels and keeping other things from blowing away. If you do a google search you DIY types can find all the info needed to make unlimited numbers of these from a couple bucks worth of PVC pipe...

    http://www.overtons.com/modperl/product/details.cgi?i=75813

    Another nice item is a decent dry bag to help keep those important things dry. I usually put my wallet in mine, keep charging cords in it and whatever other small items need safe keeping from accidental wetting. Below is a link to the concept. There are lots of options and price points out there, even down to a Glad freezer bag...

    http://www.thewaterproofstore.com/drypouchblk.html

     

     

    Dave

    2002 Captiva 212, 5.0 220 hp, Alpha 1, 1.62 gears

    Moon Township, PA - boating in the Ohio River

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    JoeStangJoeStang Member Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    [quote=I'd go for a longer strap for a boat tow but I keep one of those in each of my cars.[/quote]

    I wonder if its better to have the hook, or not? I have one in my car also, but it just has loops at the end. Reason being if the hook breaks free under tension you've got a missile flying towards one of the cars.  The hook would be more easier hooking up to the tow eye of the boat being towed, but I guess a loop wouldnt be impossible as long as it wasnt too thick?

    2013 276 Cuddy ~ 350 MAG / B3
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    JoeStangJoeStang Member Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014



    2013 276 Cuddy ~ 350 MAG / B3
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    212rowboat212rowboat Member Posts: 2,591 ✭✭✭✭✭
    in a situation where you are approaching 1/2 the strength of the line/rope/strap, you should 'flag' the anchored ends and the halfway point.. the easiest thing to do is to tie either a piece of fabric on to the line/rope/strap, or, a short piece of rope.. it will shorten the velocity and distance traveled if there is a break by a tremendous amount.. it may save a life or a limb, or at least a gel coat in this circumstance. 

    we used both dynamic kernmantle and static kernmantle ropes in our applications while doing HRST type stuff, and though the rating for the dynamic was nearing 8k# and the static 12k#, we used them only three times each and tossed them- and only once if the sheathing showed any signs of picks or wear.... Nylon straps are better for multiple uses, but the point is once you stretch it one good time, you've reduced the rating a huge margin.. if it is contaminated with oil or some such by being stored with other rarely used stuff, it's life and rating is even lower.....

    it doesn't take a lot of line strength for one boat to tow another if done properly, and it's a good thing folks over apply tools to do it with, but these things should be considered before loading a line, and if you are- properly flagging the line in effort not to break stuff you really don't want to break.
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    Capt RonCapt Ron Member Posts: 217 ✭✭✭
    The proper way to tow a boat is by attaching the boat to be towed to the side of the tow boat. The tow boat should be tied just ahead of the boat to be towed. Tie a spring line and front and rear lines and keep the two boats snugged between the fenders. This way the tow boat can have complete control of the situation even enough to put the boat to be towed into their slip. So many times I've d seen someone towing a boat behind them only to have the boats run into each other or someone try to go between them.
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    TikiHut2TikiHut2 Member Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Weather and other boat traffic conditions will dictate how safe a side to side tow could be. In ideal glassy seas a side tow would seem fine but larger wakes or waves from a normal day on my home waters would be a disaster.

     In nearly any situation a normally stout tow line of a safe length rigged appropriately, assuming a cautious captain, will produce the best results. There is a maritime liability related to the vessel that actually throws the tow line to the other vessel but I cant remember which assumes the liability in that interaction.

    Chapmans piloting and seamanship is the default resource for safe towing and many other small but useful items that the mariner might need. Great reading on a blustery day too.

    My .02c  Mike
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
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    JoeStangJoeStang Member Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭✭
    Agreed, plus I would probably not attempt to get the the disabled boat (either mine or someone else's) into a slip while being towed. I'd get them either to a seawall or even a small, calm bay and get them securely anchored, and then let them figure out how to get into their slip.

    I had a guy with engine trouble ask me to tow him back to his marina 10 MILES AWAY in normal weekend chop (1-1.5' waves from all directions). I told him I'd make a phone call to the tow company, but he didnt have coverage and couldnt afford the minimum $500 charge.......
    2013 276 Cuddy ~ 350 MAG / B3
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    TonyWalkerTonyWalker Member Posts: 744 ✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    Oh Lord!  Do not leave the dock without tow insurance.  My admiral has Sea Tow which she obtained before we knew one another for her Scout 185.  When we purchased the Salt Shaker, I purchased Tow Boat US because of my membership in Boat US.  So we are bullet proof on coverage.

    I needed Tow Boat US to tow us from our dock on the north side of the Titusville harbor to the repair yard dock on the south side of the harbor.  With the insurance it was just a phone call and about a 45 minute wait.  It was flawless.  If the tow is across a harbor or across a bay, the complications are the same.  All I paid was a tip to the tow boat captain who was very good by the way.

    Tony
    Salt Shaker 342
    Post edited by TonyWalker on
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