Please select your home edition
Edition
Predictwind - Iridium

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
Insun - AC ProgramRS Sailing 660x82Southern Spars - 100

Related Articles

World Sailing and Volvo join forces for the future of sailing
The partnership is a signal of the Volvo Ocean Race's commitment to the sport and future of offshore sailing. As part of an ambitious plan, World Sailing will partner with the Volvo Ocean Race, owned by Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group, to develop the next generation of offshore sailors.
Posted on 18 May
TIMEZERO by MaxSea extends navigation partnership with Clipper Race
TIMEZERO by MaxSea, has been named as the Official Navigation Software Supplier for Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Returning for its second race partnership, TIMEZERO by MaxSea, has been named as the Official Navigation Software Supplier for the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race.
Posted on 18 May
North Technology buys Hall Spars from receivership
North Technology Group (NTG) has announced the acquisition of the Hall Spars business out of receivership. North Technology Group (NTG) has announced the acquisition of the Hall Spars business out of receivership. The Hall Spars US parent company announced in early 2017 that it would be closing the doors due to well publicized financial challenges. The acquisition covers Auckland and Brekens and Hall Spars will re-establish in Rhode Island
Posted on 9 May
SAP brings cutting-edge solutions to World Sailing
World Sailing announces SAP, a market leader in enterprise application software, as its Official Technology Partner Over the next four years, SAP will bring its cutting-edge, innovative solutions to World Sailing's World Cup Series of events. SAP will transform the events by improving performance on the water, reinventing the fan experience on the shoreline and at home, simplifying operations for sailors and coaches and supplying media with information and insights to deliver a more informed commentary.
Posted on 2 May
New addition to North Sail for Volvo Ocean 65 racing machines
Their sails have powered eight out of nine Volvo Ocean Race winners since 1989-90, with Steinlager 2. Instead of assembling cloth panels into a particular sail shape, the Volvo Ocean Race sails are composites. This means that 3Di material 'tapes' are laid in a specific arrangement, offering stable structure to the sail where it is needed most.
Posted on 24 Apr
Crewsaver appointed as Official Safety Provider to 35th America’s Cup
Crewsaver has announced today that it has been selected to be the Official Safety Provider to the 35th America’s Cup Crewsaver has announced today, 21st April 2017, that it has been selected to be the Official Safety Provider to the 35th America’s Cup, which will take place in Bermuda from 26th May to 27th June 2017.
Posted on 22 Apr
Marine Resources expands Boatbuilding Team with two key appointments
Marine Resources have recently expanded their in-house boatbuilding team, with the addition of two new key members. Leading leisure marine industry and luxury yacht recruitment specialists Marine Resources have recently expanded their in-house boatbuilding team, with the addition of two new key members.
Posted on 16 Mar
Southern Spars takes to the air with new composite engineering project
One of the challenges for companies who have had their roots in the marine industry is diversification beyond that field One of the challenges for companies who have had their roots in the marine industry is diversification beyond that field. Moving into the composites engineering for non-marine projects is becoming a more common occurrence as clients realise the opportunities from utilising the expertise of composite boat and spar builders.
Posted on 8 Mar
New Xperformance - Optimising the cruiser/racer range from X-Yachts
X-Yachts have built a wide range of 'Cruiser/Racers' as well as dedicated racing yachts which have won many Intl titles Since the company was founded back in 1979, X-Yachts have built a wide range of 'Cruiser/Racers' as well as dedicated racing yachts which have won many famous International titles, and of course One Design Class yachts such as X-79 and X-99
Posted on 14 Feb
World Sailing unites Kiteboarding governing bodies
World Sailing has today signed a landmark agreement with the IKA and the GKA to unite the kiteboarding community World Sailing has today signed a landmark agreement with the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and the Global Kitesports Association (GKA) to unite the kiteboarding community and provide clarity of kiteboarding's governance structure.
Posted on 13 Feb