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Old 04-25-2015, 04:27 PM   #61
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I try and go through a mental exercise every once in awhile by asking myself, what if this failed, what if that failed, etc? Can I get the boat to safety? Do I have the right tools to repair the problem? Usually, the answer is yes...it may take some jerry rigging but it would get me to shore. For those jobs that would leave me stranded at sea, a direct line to the USCG helicopter crew would be nice!

Same idea here Walt. So long as I can get home or secure the boat until Tow BoatUS shows up I'm good. Of course darn near 30 years of off roading far from help has trained me to be resourceful and think outside the box.

We had a saying on the jeep trail, chrome won't get ya home. More than once I've cannibalized a guys stereo system or lights to get his rig running so he could make it back to civilization. That was with the same tool bag that's now on my boat.
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Old 04-25-2015, 05:27 PM   #62
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Rather than repeat too much I'll add some of my "MVTs" that came in handy over and over again. I'll leave out a lot of the basics already mentioned. Most of this is a cut and paste from a reply I posted in another forum.

Since we lived aboard and cruised full time (old definition of cruising: "fixing your boat in exotic places") I had a bunch on board and never regretted it. And I am not the handiest guy in the world, I had pros do my heavy duty engine work, such as that was. But there is a lot of fairly simple stuff that the boat always needs to have done.

Perhaps my most heavily used tools were a set of Stubby Gear Wrenches, open ended on one end. So many uses, so convenient. I had a big full Craftsman ratchet and hand wrench set and barely used it in 6 years. A small torque wrench was more handy. Oil filter wrenches, both jaw and strap, which come in handy for a variety of things. And a sparkplug wrench if you have a dinghy.

In the same vein, a ratcheting screw driver with a selection of bits. Longish T handle nut and hex drivers (these or the gear wrench, very handy for hose clamps).

One of those long flexible grabbers for when stuff gets dropped into hard to reach places, which is the only place (other than overboard) stuff gets dropped on a boat. As an adjunct a little mirror on a telescope.

Long angled needle nose pliers. Likewise, some "long nose" vise grips. Several sizes of scissors.

A couple of different sized pipe wrenches, including a small one.

A small vise and a hacksaw, a folding Japanese style hand saw, a small set of a variety of files.

Ballpeen and claw hammers, dead blow non-sparking hammer, rubber mallet (especially this), small hand sledge. A big and a small crowbar. Non-ferric metallic and nylon "wire" brushes"

The above covered maybe 90% of my hand, non-electrical tool use. I had all kinds of other stuff for those other 10% rare but irritating events. But I could have gotten away without most of it.

Power tool wise, a small drill driver (the little Bosch's are great, I had a medium sized Panasonic) and a small impact driver. The Hatteras is a big boat with great access, but the smaller sized tools of all stripes were so much more useful than the big stuff I had brought from land living.

On the electrical side, a good ratchet crimper, wire stripper, cutters and heat gun, all essential and mission critical. And a really good AC/DC digital multi-meter with amp clamp, which was maybe the MVP of the whole lot. A battery terminal puller came in handy for a number of things.

Not necessarily tools, but a wide variety of flashlights; my most used in order were a big plastic waterproof floater that takes a lantern battery and has a folding kickstand, a Stanley tripod style, and a head lamp. A slim hanging LED trouble light. An infrared thermometer (very useful for all sorts of things). A couple of different sized tape measures, seemed to be pulling that thing out for one reason or another all the time. A digital micrometer too.

A small wet dry vac (I used a 2.5 gallon, very portable and handy) is essential.

There are a lot of little "nice to haves". Many of those have already been mentioned, my duplicates here are to emphasize the importance. I brought and bought all kinds of stuff when I set out, arguably much more than I needed, yet sooner or later I always found a use, sometimes unexpected, for just about everything. If you have the room, and/or if you are extremely handy, you just can't have too many tools. When you are out there in the middle of nowhere, running down to the hardware store just isn't an option.
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:36 AM   #63
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Duct Tape for anything else. Duck Tape will not fix Stupid but it will quieten it.
I have switched from duct tape to gaffers tape - more expensive but well worth it in reduced cleanup.
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Old 04-26-2015, 04:16 AM   #64
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And Bill Bishop had a post last week entitled "Blue tape and a piece of paper. What else do you need?"

Blue tape is so obvious I can't imagine why it wasn't mentioned yet, but a piece of paper?
"You're going to get a small dose of very basic 4th grade math here, so for those who are suffering from an ARI (Alcohol Related Incident) or have the attention span of a shrimp you can stop now or all you're going to hear is blah, blah, blah."
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:47 PM   #65
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We have most of what has been mentioned, in addition to an electrical bag. I keep almost everything in medium sized canvas bags. The engine room has two plastic tool boxes with wrenches etc. The saloon has the electrical bag (wire, tools, meters, shrink tube, fuses, lights, etc.) I also keep the "working" tool kit with the most used small tools in the saloon. Duplicates of most small tools in each kit. Maybe three times the tools I had on the sailboat... gotta love the space!
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Old 05-03-2015, 04:11 PM   #66
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I was just down at the automotive store picking up some rags and hand cleaner and I happened across a ratchet crimper. I had to have it as it is my new favorite tool. I had been using a multi function stripper for the job. Not only does it make a perfect crimp, but you don't have to get the terminal between the arms of the tool. Much faster and better! $59.00 on sale for $29.00. Best $29.00 I ever spent.
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Old 05-05-2015, 09:48 AM   #67
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I carry lots of tools. Even had a portable table saw and a small radial arm saw on the boat for several years. But one day I needed a small pair of cutters. I was at Ellsey's in Venice Louisiana (the only hardware store in town) after looking thru the tool section and not finding it I asked Shannon if she knew where I could get a very small pair of dikes. Her reply was "you mean like midget lesbians". Gotta love south Louisiana.
I used to spend a lot of time in Venice, duck hunting, fishing and drinking copious amounts of cheap beer. I was partners in a horrible old home built house boat called the Quack Shack we kept in Venice Marina until it was destroyed in Katrina. One of the partners then went on to start the Venice Sportsman's Lodge. We hunted near Little Octave pass and killed a TON of birds.

I remember Ellsey's well. You could get most anything in there.

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Old 05-05-2015, 10:08 AM   #68
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Sounds like some of you guys pack more tools on your boat than I do my service trucks. Truth is a very small amount of tools is all that's needed for the vast majority of routine tasks. Figure out what those tasks are and pack accordingly.
Well said!

I've been reading this thread and am amazed at the quantity of tools people are keeping on board. I essentially have three "levels" of tools for my boat:

1) Small tool bag with essentials: screwdrivers, socket wrenches, mallet, box cutter and blades, knife, diagonal cutters, pliers, hose clamps, belt, few feet of hose, and small spare parts for my engine. I can readily access this bag and keep it streamlined so I can quickly access everything. I don't want to be fumbling around looking for a tool during an emergency. I always keep on board four quarts of diesel engine oil, one quart of gear oil, one quart of hydraulic fluid, and one gallon of coolant.

2) Level two is a larger tool bad under my v-berth. This bag contains maintenance items and tools that I use less often: filters, hose, impeller, raw water pump, extra belts, filter wrench, hammer, hack saw, battery powered drill, dremel, etc.

3) Level three consists of tool in my dock box that are too large/cumbersome to store in my boat or are extras but may needed for infrequent repairs/upgrades (prop puller, corded electric drill, right angle corded drill, and extra lubricants).
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Old 05-05-2015, 10:18 AM   #69
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I used to keep a lot of tools on board. Well, still do really. But the back of my Land Cruiser turns into a rolling tool box at times when I am doing a project on the boat. Keep everything in Rubbermaid containers. One for paint and brightwork, one for fiberglass work, one for carpentry, and so on.
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Old 05-05-2015, 01:11 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by jwilsail View Post
I was just down at the automotive store picking up some rags and hand cleaner and I happened across a ratchet crimper. I had to have it as it is my new favorite tool. I had been using a multi function stripper for the job. Not only does it make a perfect crimp, but you don't have to get the terminal between the arms of the tool. Much faster and better! $59.00 on sale for $29.00. Best $29.00 I ever spent.
If it's still on sale, where, please?
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Old 05-05-2015, 01:15 PM   #71
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Well said!

I've been reading this thread and am amazed at the quantity of tools people are keeping on board. rs, hose, impeller, raw water pump, extra belts, filter wrench, hammer, hack saw
You have a small, simple boat. When one has a larger boat with teak decks, a rainforest of teak trim, two diesels and a diesel generator, multiple toilet and sanitation systems with pumps, valves, holding tanks and associated plumbing, windows that need periodic maintenance or overhauling, AC and DC electrical systems, a dinghy and motor and storage and launch/retrieval system, canvas covers, Bimini, etc, a fairly complex interior with numerous doors and drawers, a mast and boom with running, anchor and spreader lights and wiring and connectors and running rigging, a somewhat to very complex fuel system, air conditioning and/or heating systems, hot and cold fresh water systems with engine/AC heating for the water, washdown systems, a propane system, and on and on and on, one finds that a surprisingly large number of tools become essential if one does their own work rather than simply hire everything out.

My wife got tired of hauling canvas back and forth to the house (100 miles away) for repair so she finally bought a sewing machine that she keeps on board. I never would have thought that I would ever need to own an old fashioned brace and bit set but it turns out it is the perfect tool for maintaining a teak deck and removing and reinstalling teak trim and rails.

So, simple boat, simple tool requirements. Complex boat, complex tool requirements.
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Old 05-05-2015, 01:36 PM   #72
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For servicing the tender's outboard my most important "tool" is a spray can of starter fluid.

Using it often solves the problem by itself and, if not, quickly helps the trouble shooting by establishing if the problem is electrical or fuel.
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Old 05-05-2015, 01:52 PM   #73
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The number of tools carried on board depends on a few things, given whatever your personal level of skill and propensity for doing your own work. Complexity of boat, as Marin notes, is the starting point. When the boat is your house, that expands the list. If you are cruising extensively, more yet. And if your cruising choice is to be away from docks as much as possible, more still.

But even when we became more dock bound after our full time cruising stint was over, I found it useful. A side benefit: I can't count the number of times when we had a tech on board, with just their base bag of tools, and we ended up lending the guy one of our more esoteric tools, saving a long trip back up the dock to his truck or worse yet back to the shop. Adds up when you are paying someone by the hour.
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:46 PM   #74
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I need advice on torque wrenches.
How many, sizes, types and brands?
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Old 11-07-2015, 06:07 PM   #75
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It is no use to have tools that you are not comfortable using. If you like to do mechanic work you already know what to carry. Same goes for varnish and paint work. I need to do some gel coat repair so I just added an air compressor. It does help to have separate tool boxes for each type of work. I have boxes for: Electric, mechanic, finish and a small set of tools in the cabin. Yes space can become a problem.
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Old 11-07-2015, 06:22 PM   #76
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Has a come-along been mentioned? How about an SWR meter? Field strength meter? I have, and have used, all 3.
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Old 11-07-2015, 08:06 PM   #77
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A "C" clamp comes in handy once in a while.
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Old 11-07-2015, 09:57 PM   #78
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A small wet dry vac (I used a 2.5 gallon, very portable and handy) is essential.
I had a small, portable wet/dry -- I didn't want a big one because I use it too infrequently and it takes too much space. I replaced it with one that takes even less space, but has 5 gallon capacity -- it fits on top of a standard 5-gallon bucket, so by itself, it is very compact. (Buckets are a great thing to have on board, by the way.) The other thing I got also fits on a 5 gallon bucket, but goes in-line with the boat's central vac system so I can vacuum up liquids without messing up the central vac. Sorry I don't have links, but the vac lid came from Home Depot.
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Old 11-08-2015, 08:09 AM   #79
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As for the torque wrench question, find out what the torque requirements are for your engines and anything else you might be working on. Battery manufacturers often print a spec too for terminals.

Steve, again it depends on what kind of work you are going to do C-clamp wise. I carried about three, small and medium , and one of those big wood clamps which most notably came in very handy holding a Perko strainer together that I had stripped a wing bolt on (before I learned to carry spares).
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:50 PM   #80
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I would say the best tool to have is the knowledge (and confidence) and practice to bleed fuel injectors while away from a dock. Changing fuel filters requires tools. But without knowing how to bleed an airbound engine make the filters superfluous.
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