20 Must-Have Sailboat Essentials For A Easier On-Board Life

If you want to go on a sailboat trip, it is not enough to dive on board. Changing lifestyles force you to practice withstanding weather and other ocean hazards.

Even if you are only planning a short trip, it is important to purchase some sailboat essentials. So, your upcoming journey will be comfortable and safe.

We’ll tell you what to look for when buying accessories for an ocean cruise. This portion of the cost will be in addition to the cost of living on a sailboat mentioned on the Windrider of the Rockies.

The list below covers 20 must-haves on your sailboat. It includes useful utensils as well as belongings for all sailors.

Top 20 Sailboat Essentials You Must Bring To Sailboat

In addition to your list, check out the essentials on our yacht in a completely random sequence!

#1. Receiver Navtex

Sailboat Essentials

Navtex receiver 

We absolutely cannot imagine traveling without a Navtex receiver. It’s not sure if you can still live without this device on short trips.

It helps you to mine meteorological information from the Internet or via VHF channels. In any case, an offshore crossing without Navtex can be simply dangerous.

These devices are extremely easy to operate. The most difficult thing in the installation is to choose the right place for the antenna. 

And that’s all, weather information, navigational hazards in your area, and other “marine announcements” will always be with you, in printed form.

The device will also tell you where and when military or rescue exercises are taking place. So you could not inadvertently climb into there.

Receiving Navtex messages is also very easy with a wide range of radio, laptops, and free software. Unlike navigation devices, individual Navtex devices are better than the program on a laptop since you can turn them on all the time.

Learn how the ships get weather forecasts by using Navtex and Shipping Forecast with this video:

#2. Marine Searchlight

Sailboat Essentials

Marine Searchlight

When our next spotlight sank, we were very upset. Who does not like idyllic anchorages, far from civilization, noisy harbors, and crowds of tourists.

Unfortunately, these places are usually disgustingly lit. The paths to the bay are invariable with “surprises”. It starts with cobblestones and ditches and ends with other troubles.

Such a marine searchlight will save your yacht and possibly your life when in a deep fog. At night, in areas densely populated by tankers, bulk carriers, and anglers, it helps us to highlight the sails to avoid crashes.

#3. AIS Transceiver

Sailboat Essentials

AIS Transceiver

This device is by far the best security system to have emerged over the past few years. First of all, AIS transceivers were intended for large ships.

But, the idea quickly gained popularity among yachters. Especially when the initially high prices for these devices began to fall rapidly. 

This device has become indispensable. You can now find the simplest information receiver on every second yacht in the waters of serious commercial traffic.

The device receives and visually reproduces data from all ships, usually within a radius of up to 32 nautical miles.

Since the transmission of such information is the law for large ships, a fairly clear picture of the ships around you almost always emerges.

The device shows at least information about the vessel’s heading, speed, name, and MMSI number. It also lets you know additional information, if available, such as homeport and destination.

A more expensive option is an information transmitter. In that case, the ships around you will see you on their AIS radar. 

This device is indispensable in poor visibility. And it makes dangerous transitions calmer for us more than once.

#4. Raymarine Lifetag

Sailboat Essentials

Raymarine Man-Overboard system 

If you want to sleep peacefully, knowing that your crew’s members are exactly on the yacht, only one device can give such confidence: Life tags.

It is a wrist bracelet that constantly transmits weak signals to the base station inside the yacht. If the station stops receiving a signal, an alarm will wake you up.

At the same time, human overboard signals will come to the GPS receiver. Thereby it increases the chances of catching a person out of the water faster. 

The device is not expensive and gives great confidence that everything is calm on the watch.

#5. Electric Anchor Winch 

Sailboat Essentials

Electric Boat Anchor Winch 

This electric winch is not just a convenience but also a rather sensible thing. It allows you to move around painlessly if the parking lot does not suit you.

The rearrangement process takes several minutes. But, the work will be even more difficult if you suddenly have to do it at night and in a two-meter roll. 

Or, for example, instead of getting angry with your neighbors in the bay who threw a loud party, you can move to the other side of the bay without titanic efforts.

Of course, your deck will be more beautiful if you do not drop meters and meters of 10 mm chain on it every day. The chain usually leaves pieces of rust on the deck, which turn into terrible rusty streaks, which are impossible to wash.

#6. Folding Cockpit Table

Sailboat Essentials

Folding Cockpit Table 

Half the fun of any trip is meeting new people, sharing experiences, leisurely conversations, and delicious food in the fresh air.

For all this, you need the right cockpit table, where you can dine or relax.

It is difficult and uncomfortable to place people on lockers and benches, with plates in the air and glasses in some unknown place. Plates fall, glasses turn over, and someone must constantly run down, now for bottles, now for more.

The result will exceed all expectations. Long breakfasts and lunches, calm evening feasts.

Finally, there will be an opportunity to work normally at the computer in the fresh air. A laptop on the table and a laptop on your lap are completely different things.

#7. Marine Autopilot 

Sailboat Essentials

Raymarine Evolution Autopilot 

You can only feel the importance of an autopilot device once you lose it. The device is indispensable for solo yachters or on boats with a minimum crew. 

They are good for offshore trips where the wind is not too choppy. Try the mechanical option on a coastal cruise in the Mediterranean, and you will quickly find that it is easier to shoot yourself or take the helm yourself.  

Many sales models are radically different from each other in price, quality, and principle of operation. It would help if you thought not only about the price of expensive mechanical paddles.

Let’s end up with no less expensive hydraulic devices. You will have to think about what is more suitable for your yacht seriously.

#8. Heavy Duty Silver Duct Tape

Sailboat Essentials

Heavy Duty Silver Duct Tape 

You can use this duck tape to glue and repair absolutely everything. It firmly grasps everything it touches, does not stretch, does not tear, lasts for years, and does not fall apart from the bright sun.

And of course, once you’ve tried everything you can, and the engine won’t start, a piece of tape stuck on will increase the chance of success for the ‘Come on, last spin’ method by 32 percent.

With such tape, torn sails, a fallen photograph, a leaky washer in the engine, leaking pipes, and even holes in the hull. 

We’re not even talking about drilling neat holes in the chipboard. In any case, with a couple of rolls of good duct tape, you will certainly get to the harbor.

#9. Gas Range Stove 

Sailboat Essentials

A good slab is essential on long hikes, and it makes day trips more fun. Preheat a meat pie in the oven and a cup of soup on the stove, and life becomes wonderful, even in the most disgusting weather.

To do the same on a portable gas burner in a strong swing is a very dangerous and rather stupid occupation. Moreover, we can bet that a small gas cylinder will be empty at the most crucial moment. 

Therefore, the stove must be safe for the crew and the yacht, and the plate is securely and correctly mounted on the gimbal. There are a lot of stove models, and in a certain price category, they do not differ much from each other.

#10. Pump

Sailboat Essentials

 To save time and effort while inflating, we recommend choosing an electric model. It can inflate the boat in a few minutes.

Examples of pumps are Bravo GE 20-2 Electric Pump or Seamax SUP20D 20PSI. 

When choosing a model, pay attention to automatic shutdown, pressure regulator, moisture protection, the number and variety of nozzles, the ability to pump out air, dimensions, and weight.

#11. Bow Canopy

Consider buying a bow canopy to keep the boat comfortable for the driver. It improves the streamlining of the vessel, and there is not much splashing in the face.

The frame on which the bow and undercarriage must be corrosion-resistant metals such as an aluminum pipe. The awnings must be moisture-proof and wear-resistant material, like PVC-coated boat fabric.

#12. Insulated Containers

Traveling takes personal belongings, necessary equipment, and inventory. All this must be protected from splashes and precipitation, rationally placed on board. 

For this, we recommend storing food in insulated containers. The design of such boxes includes a thermal insulation material that will maintain the required temperature for several days.

When choosing containers, pay attention to those models that come with clips. With their help, the lid will fit snugly against the body. 

It is the clips that will protect the contents from moisture, dirt, and dust. 

Before buying, you need to evaluate whether it has handles and straps and how comfortable carrying the container in your hands.

#13. Life Jackets

Sailboat Essentials

Airhead Adult General Purpose Life Vest 

You should pay particular attention to life jackets. There should be as many as there are seats. 

It is important to understand that life jackets and lifebuoys are not the same things. Life jackets will help await help, while lifebuoys should keep on the water and turn face up even unconsciously.

#14. Travel First-Aid Kit

Take with you a travel first-aid kit, which you usually take when traveling. Check that it contains motion sickness pills, an ointment for bruises, a remedy for burns. 

Panthenol or its analogs will do. Make sure you have a disinfectant and a patch. In addition, the yacht also provides a stationary first aid kit.

#15. Pills For Seasickness

Almost all people suffer from seasickness to one degree or another. Every day during a long cruise we can go a long section of the way on the high seas. 

Therefore, it is better to stock up on pills. It is better to check the effect of the tablets in advance so that they do not cause an unexpected individual reaction.

#16. Sandals Or Sneakers

Yachting shoes are the best option to buy special yacht shoes, the soles of which do not slip on wet plastic. They are, of course, ideal for moving on the sailboat. But it is expensive, and not everyone has it. 

In that instance, any sports shoes are suitable for beginners. They should have light soles, which do not leave dark marks on the yacht.

Paying attention to the following details:

  • shoes should not slip on wet plastic (e.g., linoleum), 
  • shoes should not leave marks,
  • shoes should fit tightly on foot, 
  • shoes must cover your toes,
  • shoes must dry quickly when wet with water. 

In good weather, everyone on the yacht in the cockpit or on the deck sunbathes barefoot. But when you need to go somewhere on a wet deck or perform some action quickly, there is a high probability of injuring your toes without special shoes. 

We do not go to the yacht in street shoes, especially when descending into the wardroom according to yachting etiquette.

If we approach the yacht, we take off our shoes and go in, leaving our shoes either on the shore or in the cockpit. You can also take with you hard bathing slippers and trampling of sea urchins.

#17. Dark Sunglasses

Sailboat Essentials

KUGUAOK Retro Rectangle Sunglasses 

Of course, ultraviolet light in the sea is not as strong as skiing in the mountains, but you should protect your eyes. Models on a string are desirable, protecting glasses from flying overboard of the sailing yacht. 

A great option is polarizing glasses to soften the glare. Sports glasses, in contrast to ordinary ones, fit more tightly, more effectively protecting from sunlight and wind, including from the side. 

#18. Sun Cream 

The sun cream must have a strength of at least 15, preferably 30-50 units. Even in not very hot weather, the sun’s rays reflected from the water can reward your skin with severe burns, and in a very short time.

#19. Personal Medicines

There is a standard first-aid kit on board. But it does not contain a panacea for all ailments. So please take the medicines you often use. 

Moreover, it isn’t easy to find familiar medicines by names and prices in the USA in foreign pharmacies. The names are different, and the prices are exorbitant, and some of the drugs we are used to come with only prescriptions.

#20. Suitable Clothes

If you have to spend all contact in a hot climate, bring more T-shirts and shorts. An additional bonus to working in warm countries is the opportunity to swim, do not forget swimming trunks.

If the vessel your entire contract will be in a region with a cold climate, do not skimp on thermal underwear. With a minimum volume, it retains heat perfectly. 

You will also inevitably need boots, a hat, a scarf, gloves, and a warm jacket. And for those who will work on the deck, it is also better to bring a windproof comforter to protect yourself from the winter sea winds.

Wherever you go, take at least 5-7 pairs of underwear and socks with you. In addition, coarse safety boots wear out your socks quickly, so take only high-quality items with you.

Don’t forget rubber shower slippers. Do not complicate your flight with the treatment of foot fungus.

Bottom Line

Related Post: Liveaboard marinas

This article has provided a list of sailboat essentials that we use all the time, on hikes and in the harbors.

In this list, we have collected only the necessary minimum. These things allow you to feel comfortable working and pleasantly relaxing in a confined space far from home. 

Perhaps, some things will be necessary for you. Even if you do not find them useful at the moment, yet they may save you one day.

We encourage you to read as much as possible, such as boat storage ideas or what to wear sailing. Knowledge is endless, and ocean life always has surprises beyond your imagination.

Thank you for reading!

Reference: Offshore cruising essentials and what they cost

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