These are the basic boating products that we purchased to get started on the Loop.
We absolutely cannot live without these headsets! We use them for docking, anchoring, and more. We even use them when Sam needs to go down into the engine room. Can you tell? We use them a lot!
You need a CO2 cylinder for each of the life jackets that you have. It’s also a good idea to have an extra on hand for each. You never know when you might need a replacement and you don’t want to have to wait for it.
Your fenders are going to get beaten up in the locks. We were excited to find these on Amazon and got 4 for a very reasonable price. We got the 10 x 28 inch but get the size and color that fits your boat.
Rev uses these to quickly move the fenders up or down. When coming into a dock, you must adjust them to the height, so your boat doesn’t get damaged. They come in different sizes so get the ones that fit the size of your railing. Our are 32mm for 1 ¼” railings. They also have 25mm for 1” and 40mm for 1 ½“railings.
This is the line that Rev uses for the sole purpose of locking. It’s stored separately from the dock lines so that it will be ready when needed. Grab 2 as some locks require 2 crewmembers to attend to the cables, pipes or ropes in the locks.
We have this up in the bridge. It is an Electronic SOS Distress Kit. It is a signaling device that counts as one required by the Coast Guard. You can use it in lieu of a flare gun and flares. And this one comes with a flag and a whistle!
You will need a few boat poles in handy places around your boat. We use them in the locks, to put lines around pilings when docking and to avoid other boats or walls that may be headed our direction.
Sam keeps this machete in the bridge in case my line gets caught while locking and we need to be free in an instant. I keep a knife handy but it’s good to have something that will handle the job.
We use this as a backup VHF radio. When we are underway, Sam keeps it on 16 and then monitors other channels on the main radio for tow barges, marinas, etc. We also take it when we use the dinghy.
We put two of these on the front railing of the bow. In Canada, we fly a Canadian pennant on one. They are specific for the size of your railings so measure before ordering. If you find one for a 1 ½ inch railing, let us know!
You never know when you might need this. It is a day signal only but especially effective in bright sunlight. The flag is most distinctive when waved on something such as a paddle, boat pole or flown from a mast.
You will need a first aid kit on your boat because you know, we are human. And things happen. We started out with a kit like this and then added to it. Rev has this ready whenever Sam goes to the engine room!
To keep our boat in great shape, we use these items.
We cannot tell you how many times we have used this wet/dry vacuum – certainly more than we expected. It has come in handy for cleaning out the bilges and for unexpected spills/leaks. It’s very useful to have on board.
Sam uses these oil analysis kits and takes a sample of the oil before changing it. You need one for each engine/generator. He sends it off to the lab and the results come back within a week via email.
Sam uses this to suction out the Transmission Oil for changes. We have a Reverso for the main engines and the generator, but this little portable unit makes it easy to get the fluid out of the transmissions, then pump in new fluid as well.
When we take on water at a marina, we always use a filter. We screw one of these filters directly to the spigot on the dock. Then, we screw our hose into the other end of the filter to fill our tanks.
We use this flow meter to measure just how much water we are putting on the boat. We screw our hose into the top and then place the other end directly into the water hole on the boat. Reads gallons or liters.
We use this hose for putting fresh water on board, washing the boat and rinsing the salt water off when needed. This hose comes in different sizes so get a size that will allow you to reach all around your boat.
When our black water holding tanks need a thorough cleaning, this is what we use. Sam drops one in each toilet and flushes 5 times and fills holding tanks at least 3/4 full of water. Let it sit 24-36 hours and then pump out.
Make sure you have the right power adapters BEFORE starting your Great Loop. This is especially important for those traveling into Canada. Double check male and female connections in the descriptions to make sure it matches what you need for your boat.
Here are some items that we love!
Sam researched a lot of lights. He put all four of these solar-powered, outdoor, waterproof, motion sensor lights around our boat. We never felt unsafe while docked, but it never hurts to shine a little light on the situation.
For added security, we have these door alarms. The sound is deafening and will certainly be a deterrent. If you ever need to dock in a place you are unsure of, these will give you peace of mind.
We use these all the time! They come in many different colors (even Cheetah!) so get some to match your boat. They are handy to have and move around and definitely a life saver when underway.
We only have one of these right now but I am going to get more! When it is hot and you are anchoring or docking and have no power, you really need battery operated fans. Yes, plural. FANS!
And if you love your wife and her temperature level is set to extra hot at times, you need one of these. I’m not even kidding. This fan uses little power (on low settings) and is a life saver.
Rev uses this all the time. It’s quick and she is able to make a few meals for when we are anchoring or want to stay on the boat instead of going out to eat. Check out her recipes under the “Living Aboard” tab.
Rev uses this on many occasions as a backup stove top. It only works with pots and pans that have a magnetic surface like cast iron. It’s great to cook steaks or chicken on the Lido Deck instead of inside.
This is a very handy item to use to keep mosquitos and other crazy flying insects away. You have to have a lot of ventilation so use on the bridge or an open deck. You will need extra butane and scented mat refills.
You will need these pads and butane refills to go with the Thermacell. You certainly won’t want to be without refills because the Thermacell is your best defense against mosquitos especially in the south.
This is really a cool too! It is like having a calculator and dividers all in one. Set your speed, then span the distance on your chart, then get distance on one end, time on the other end! It’s magic for those of you who like paper charts!
Just in case you are interested.
Over the last couple of years, the Marine Insurance industry has undergone some drastic changes. If you currently have a boat or are shopping for a boat, you will want this Market Report that Sam did. It is now a downloadable resource as part of our online course entitled Great Loop Q&A: The Boat
Getting a Captain’s License is a great way to enhance your knowledge and perhaps even get paid for your skills and knowledge. We have partnered with Mariners Learning System. Their support and reputation is excellent and they are THE leader in online courses. If you purchase through our affiliation with them, you will get a 15-minute private chat with Sam on some tips for success.
If you have a reluctant female spouse, she may be interested in reading about the experiences of other Ladies on the Loop. The stories vary greatly to give you a firsthand account of what you can expect before you go on your loop. Read Rev’s chapter (#32) about documenting your own Great Loop Journey.
Automatic External Defibrillators (AED). Even if you’re in good health, don’t leave the dock without one – you might be able to save a life. Find out the features: manual, semi-automatic or fully automatic? Choose wisely! We selected this one.
Contact Mike Marsiglia, a fellow cruiser who has been in paramedic field for 30 plus years and operates Chesapeake AED. Or email him here.