Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Polarised and non-polarised readers for sailors

Top 10 pieces of gear for boats 20 feet or smaller

by BoatUS on 14 Jan 2014
Having two anchors aboard gives you more options for anchoring. BoatUS Press Room
There's much to be said for owning small runabouts, center consoles or bow riders. While they are affordable, easy to store, and can keep everyone in the family happy, they have their limits, though, if you want to venture into coastal waters and big lakes. But these journeys can still be done, with the right ten pieces of equipment.

Here's what Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) recommends should be aboard every boat 20 feet or smaller:

Paddles: If your engine quits, paddles are your propulsion. Keep the outboard or sterndrive down for a rudder, and if you've got a buddy or a spouse aboard, you can make decent headway. A T-handle paddle, the kind used for whitewater canoeing, gives you a great grip. The aluminum shaft is light and strong, as is the high-impact plastic blade. Those materials don't mind sitting out in the weather, either. Make sure they're at least five feet long.

Dry box: Small boats typically lack dry storage. Large, plastic marine dry boxes with lids with O-rings seal out moisture and an extra-deep model can hold the radio, smartphone, flashlight, GPS and more, leaving them dry when you need them.

Anchors and line: Some small-boat manufacturers barely leave space for a lunch hook. But what happens if your engine quits, or you want to anchor overnight in a quiet cove? Stowing two anchors with different line lengths gives you options. Chain between line and anchor also helps. And don't forget a few docklines.

Wearable life jacket: Luckily, life jacket design has evolved and you can find Type III vest-style models that are comfortable to wear all day. Plenty of small-boat owners wear inflatable jackets. They're more buoyant, but more costly and require some care. Your best choice is any life jacket you'll always wear.

Compatible power source for electronics: When your cell phone runs out of juice during a nautical emergency, that's a crisis. Same goes for your flashlight, handheld GPS unit and VHF radio. Get devices that run on the same power source such as AA batteries and stow and extra sealed pack of batteries in the dry box.

Manual bailer: Small, closed-deck boats rely on a single, submersible pump to keep the bilge dry. But if that pump fails, or seawater comes over the gunwales or stern, or there's heavy rain, you've got a problem. Keeping a hand-operated bilge pump aboard is cheap insurance.

Air Horn: The US Coast Guard says small boats must have a 'sound-producing device' for distress signaling, capable of a four-second blast that's audible one quarter-mile away. While a plastic whistle or an installed electric horn may meet the letter of the law, a better choice is a handheld, gas-powered air horn, which can be heard at much greater distances.

Spare prop and fix-It tools: A submerged ledge or log can whop your prop and cripple your boat. Having a spare prop and the right wrench is common advice, but changing a mangled wheel while afloat is easier said than done. Dents in aluminum props can be put back into serviceable shape, at least enough to get home. Beefy, vice-grip-style locking pliers and slip-joint pliers are essential for this repair.

Have a charging source: Cell phones don't run on AA batteries. That's why you need a marine rated 12-volt receptacle with a weatherproof cap. Mount it away from spray and rain, and don't forget the charging cords for other electronics.

Paper chart in plastic cover: Even a waterproof chart is hard to manage underway in an open boat. But by putting it in a clear, plastic holder, wind and water won't matter it will always be ready when you need it. You can buy one or make one with clear plastic from the hardware store and duct tape. BoatUS website
Zhik Dinghy 660x82Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

Related Articles

The evolution of Verdier-VPLP IMOCA over three generations
The chine is distinctive and spreads over entire length of hull, 5.50 m wide. There is less wetted surface than before. The chine is distinctive and spreads over the entire length of the hull, 5.50 m wide. There is less wetted surface than before.
Posted on 19 Jan
North Technology acquires North Sails Australia
Renowned Sydney loft joins North Sails worldwide network of owned lofts On January 3rd 2017, the North Sails Australia licensed operation was purchased by North Technology Group. North Sails Australia is the country's leading sailmaker with a diverse market ranging from dinghy, One Design, 18' Skiffs, cruising, racing, Grand Prix and Maxis, dating back to when Australia defended the America's Cup in Fremantle in 1987.
Posted on 16 Jan
When whales meet sails
CAMPER helmsman Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermudez found himself nearly face to face with whale in middle of North Atlantic Ocean. Currently the database for marine mammal strikes is very sparse. We are requesting sailors and boaters help to submit information on current and past incidents, however long ago that may be. By giving a location, date, identification if possible, and any other relevant information you can help scientists better understand where marine mammals are at risk for strikes
Posted on 8 Jan
Hyde Sails extends partnership with Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
We are pleased to announce Hyde Sails is returning for the fifth consecutive edition as Official Sail Partner We are pleased to announce Hyde Sails is returning for the fifth consecutive edition as Official Sail Partner
Posted on 5 Jan
New 2017-2020 World Sailing Rules Racing Signals sticker just printed
Sticker cannot show all the rules' details thus the wording is brief help only and refers to the official rules' numbers The sticker cannot show all the rules' comprehensive details, thus the wording is brief help only and refers to the official rules' numbers. The official World Sailing Rules book was published in September. I believe it is the ONLY sticker that shows all the signals.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
TowBoatUS comes to the Caribbean
Capt. Robert Manley has opened TowBoatUS St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). Capt. Robert Manley, a New Jersey native who has been running marine businesses in the Caribbean for the last 25 years, has opened TowBoatUS St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). “I’ve been towing boats and helping boaters ever since I came to St. Thomas,” he said. “The only real difference now is that I am working with BoatUS, which has great member benefits.”
Posted on 21 Dec 2016
From PLC to ZHIK- Crowie's transition from the multinationals
We spoke to Zhik's CEO David Crow, known as Crowie, who works alongside the founder and former-CEO, Brian Conolly. We spoke to Zhik's CEO David Crow, known as Crowie, who came into the company from a corporate background and now works alongside the founder and former-CEO, Brian Conolly.
Posted on 12 Dec 2016
Great Barrier Reef managers and industry prepare for summer
Marine park managers, scientists and experts recently met for the annual pre-summer workshop Marine park managers, scientists and experts recently met for the annual pre-summer workshop to assess climate-related risks to the Great Barrier Reef over the coming months. Current predictions by the Bureau of Meteorology and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are for a summer of average sea temperatures across the Great Barrier Reef.
Posted on 7 Dec 2016
Speed Thrills. Pain Kills. Minimise potential damage with Kollition™
We all love seeing the foilers get faster and faster. We all love seeing the foilers get faster and faster. One brand, Zhik®, was the first to develop a range of lightweight, low profile, flexible and waterproof padding in a purpose built wetsuit to help protect the sailors from damage when they or boat stops abruptly.
Posted on 7 Dec 2016
Figaro Bénéteau 3 – The world’s first production foiling monohull
In 2019, as the Solitaire URGO celebrates 50th anniversary, the Figaro Bénéteau 3 will take over from its predecessor In 2019, as the Solitaire URGO– Le Figaro celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, the Figaro Bénéteau 3 will take over from its illustrious predecessor, the Figaro Bénéteau 2, which has been sailing the length and breadth of the French and Atlantic coasts since 2003.
Posted on 6 Dec 2016