Tools to carry on board

I was recently asked for some guidance on what to carry for extended cruising on board a 47’  Flybridge cruiser. The below list is directed towards boats of a similar size and use. Whilst you can’t necessarily prepare for every eventuality, having nothing gives you little to no ability to perform a quick fix which may keep you underway or at least keep things manageable until you can get proper repairs.

Ratchet handles and extensions 

  • 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 Drive Ratchet handles
  • Short medium and long and short Extension bars to suit
  • Universal joints to suit
  • 1/2 Drive Breaker Bar
  • 3/8 Drive Breaker Bar

Sockets

  • Metric Sockets 4 through 24mm
  • Metric Deep Sockets 8 through 19mm
  • Metric Hex head / allen / Inhex 1.5 – 12mm
  • Metric Spark plug sockets 16 and 21mm
  • Imperial Sockets 3/16 Through 1”
  • Imperial Deep sockets 1/4” through 3/4
  • Imperial Hex head / allen / Inhex 1/16 Through 3/8

Spanners

  • Metric Ring / Open end 6mm through 24mm
  • Imperial Ring / Open end 1/4 Through 7/8
  • Adjustable wrenches 300mm and 450mm (not pictured) 

Other

  • Hammer
  • Hacksaw
  • Knife
  • File
  • Adjustable pliers 
  • Vice grips
  • Side cutters
  • Wire strippers 
  • Wire crimpers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Phillips screwdrivers
  • Flat blade screw drivers
  • Torch
  • Impact driver
  • Cordless drill
  • Screwdriver bits (not pictured)
  • Drill bits (not Pictured)
  • Silicone gun (not pictured)
  • Multimeter
  • Torch
  • Extendable magnet
  • Infrared thermometer

While the above sounds like a long list, all of the above will fit in a bag of a similar size to a carry on bag, This is a reasonably comprehensive list that will cover a wide range of scenarios however each boat will vary and this should not be considered a definitive or comprehensive list.

Regarding what brand of tools, opinions are plentiful on this point, however consider that cheap does not necessarily represent good value. I would personally aim for higher quality rather than low price.

Avoid storing any of the above in wet or humid areas such as the cockpit or lazarette as they will deteriorate very rapidly in these areas.

Spare parts to carry on board will be covered separately but basic “get out of trouble’ items to complement the above list of tools would include at a minimum;

  • Stainless screws assorted sizes
  • Cable ties
  • Epoxy
  • Screws – assorted
  • Thread tape
  • Silicone
  • Electrical crimps and terminals
  • Electrical tape
  • Duct tape

You’ll want to consider and amend the above list in context of your particular vessel, size, and how far afield you are voyaging however this should give you some context as a starting point. 

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