With my maritime academy days in the not so distant past I often think about the three internships I did each summer. One thing that I wish I had was a list of gear to have each summer, a short list of things that every sailor should have. However you’d really need to make two lists, one of everyday items for everyday needs, and another for the two month hitch most cadets have.
The Essentials, Items for Everyday
Now everyone has their own favorite here. Personally I am a big fan of anything from Myerchin. I have their P300 Sailors Tool, the A200 fixed blade with marlin spike, as well as one of their older folders. The P300 has a sharp smaller blade, a great marlin spike, and a decent set of small pliers. However for heavy work on commercial vessels I do prefer my A200. However I would also recommend any marine knives by Spyderco, particularly the Atlantic Salt.
Just essential most days on the water, and I firmly believe you get what you pay for. This is one of the reasons I swear by Costa Del Mar’s. I have a pair of their Permits in black with blue mirror 400 series lenses, as well as a pair of the Zanes in black with green mirror 400 series lenses. They are just the best fitting, clearest sunglasses I have ever worn. The lenses are tough and are like having X-ray vision in shallow water.
Insert favorite backpack here______________. My EMS Free Range pack carries a change of clothes, hand held VHF/charger, phone charger, small first aid kit, electrical/duct tape, headlamp, work gloves, logbook, my license, business cards, tape measure, sunglasses case, and a couple sharpies.
#4. Waterproof, Steel Toe Boots:
Drop a breaker bar or shackle on your toes once, while working in a wet environment, and tell me you don’t wish you had them. I’m a fan of Bog’s, great slip on water proof boots.
#5. Foul Weather Gear:
Again we work in an environment that is by nature a wet place. Nothing is worse than having to work in soaking wet clothes for the whole of a 6 or 12 hour watch. I personally have two sets for different boats. One set of Guy Cotton oil skins for commercial work. They are rugged, very dry, and warm in the winter. For milder climates and work that doesn’t require quite the durability or Deadliest Catch appearance, I have the Musto Coastal Jacket and Bib Pants which breathe well, are quite waterproof, and stylish enough for more “yachty” situations.
#6. Flash Light:
Personally I carry a Mini Maglite Led, the three cell AA model. It is bright as hell for a little light, and even though it is LED, the adjustable beam allows for it to throw light a long ways. I bought mine online for only 22 dollars. Now some people in the petroleum industry might need an intrinsically safe light, for this application I recommend many of Pelican’s great lights.
#7. Hand Held VHF:
For boats that don’t have a house set of private radios, or for those with a set of shitty handhelds it is really nice to have your own high quality hand held. I’ve been carrying a Standard Horizon 751 for several years as not only a commercial mariner but also as a professional sea kayak guide. It is a tough, waterproof, floating, easy to use unit.
#8. Work Gloves:
Stop fighting over the best pair on the boat, pick your poison and buy your own!
#9. Extra Socks:
Name something worse than sweat or water soaked socks with 2 hours left on watch…..
This one is a toss-up. Most people get along just fine with the work vest on the boat. Personally I prefer my own vest that fits just right, and has a pocket or two. My favorite would have to be the Kokatat Guide, a vest that I originally wore for sea kayak guiding, but after removing the quick release rescue strap it made the perfect work vest on deck. Close fitting, allows for a wide range of motion, and it has an excellent radio pocket. My second favorite is another Kokatat vest, the Orbit Tour, super low profile, by far the easiest vest to move in.
Coming Soon……The 60 Day List.