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12 Non Boating Items You Should Keep on Your Boat

We often talk about all of the things you should keep on your boat for various purposes. Most of them such as life jackets, fire extinguishers and first aid kits etc. are related to safety, but there are some things that seemingly are not even related to boating that you also may want to keep aboard.  Here is a list of 12 things that fall into that category and why you should have them.

1.        Chapstick – Yes, I suppose you should have lip balm aboard to care for your lips since you will be spending time out in the sun, but there is another reason.  It makes a great lubricant for the zippers on your boat canvas.  Keep some on board and periodically run it across your zippers and they will be much easier to zip on and zip off. 

Chapstick helps keep your canvas zippers in good condition.

2.       Denatured Alcohol – Here is another item that has dual purposes.  Many boats have alcohol stoves for cooking but denatured alcohol does a great job of cleaning your isinglass enclosures.  Just spray on and wipe off with a clean soft rag and your boats enclosure is nice and crystal clear again and it is much cheaper than some of those expensive cleaners.  Be advised that you will still have to protect your clear plastic after cleaning it. (Hint:  See the next item on the list)
Use denatured alcohol to clean your isinglass

3.       Lemon Pledge – I suppose that for some boats, you could use this on some of the wood components but Lemon Pledge is also a great way to protect your isinglass once you have cleaned it.  Use it just the way you would on your dining room table at home and now your clear plastic has a protective coating that will keep it pliable and help prevent future dirt buildup.
Use Lemon Pledge to protect your isinglass

4.       White Vinegar – This is a great alternative to bleach and does a pretty good job at killing mold.  Mixed with water, or in tougher situations, used straight, just spray on the area to be cleaned, let sit for a few seconds and wipe away.
White vinegar does a good job at removing mold.

5.       Oven cleaner – My boat does not have an oven but I have oven cleaner aboard.  Why?  It does a great job of removing adhesive residue and other sticky substances without damaging your gelcoat. 
Get gunk off of your boat without damaging the gelcoat.

6.       Dishwashing Liquid – Okay, sure, you need some of this if you ever wash dishes on your boat but if you also tow your boat, mix a solution of ¾ water and ¼ dishwashing liquid and spray on the front of your boat.  This will make it much easier to removes bugs etc. at the end of a long tow. 
Make those bugs stuck to your boat easy to get off after a long tow. 

7.       Clip on Rechargeable Fan – This helps keep you cool on the water when you are not in the water and you don’t have to run your generator and AC.  Once recharge it when between boat outings and you always have a way to stay cool.
Easy way to keep cool when you are not in the water and there is no plug nearby.

8.       Panty Hose – Yep, you read that right.  Nylon hosiery actually makes a halfway decent substitute for a broken engine belt.  You won’t be able to run at normal speeds but it can help you limp back to the dock at low speed under your own power.  Of course, you could just keep spare belts aboard as well. 
Quick, temporary solution for a broken belt.

9.       Light Sticks – You may have played with these as a kid.  These are the plastic sticks with the chemical inside that glows when you break the inner vessel.  The light can last up to 12 hours and can be used as a light source for troubleshooting issues when normal lighting is not working, a marker light to let other boats know of your location if you navigation lights are inoperable, or just to provide a colorful glow to set a peaceful mood when spending time on the water at night.
Create your own mood or get out of a jam.

10.   Fabric Softener – When your dock lines start feeling hard and stiff, just drop them in a bucket of water and fabric softener overnight.  Rinse the next morning and let them dry and your lines are nice and manageable once again.
Keep those dock lines soft and manageable.

11.   Ziploc Bags – A great way to protect your smartphone if the weather turns bad or the water gets rough.
Keep smart phones and tablets dry.

12.   OxiClean – Nope, it’s not for laundry on a boat but it does a great job at cleaning stains off of your white deck.  Just wet the deck, sprinkle some Oxiclean on the stained area and with a little scrubbing, it’s all clean again.
Get those stains off your white deck.

If you have some unusual favorite items that you keep aboard your boat, please let us know in the comment section below.

Happy Boating

Captain Frank

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