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25 Things Every Sailor Needs by Lance Gettler – Sailing – Sail Away Girl


Hello Sailors,

I ran across a book by Lance Gettler who is a professional sailboat delivery captain and fisherman. Because of his life as a delivery captain, he has learned how to pare down his travel belongings to the bare essentials. While my plan is a more long-term residence upon my boat, I thought his list of 25 essential items applied to all sailors whether on a short-term or long-term journey.

So here is Lance Gettler’s recommended list:

1. Knife. A good one with a 3″ blade that is partially serrated and retractable.
2. Polarized sunglasses. A good pair and a way to secure them to you. I have lost way too many $$ in the oceans and lakes. As a good friend of mine Captain Chel says, Poseidon already has plenty of sunglasses and cell phones; she knows because she has been the prime contributor.
3. Head lamp with multiple light settings including a night setting with a red or green light.
4. Multi-tool. Consider one that is small enough to go in your pocket and all metal and with pliers.
5. Personal first aid kit. For permanent residency on a boat, a full first aid kit is necessary, but for the charter sailor, a small personal kit works great.
6. Emergency roll of duct tape. Again, for the charter or delivery sailor. Large rolls for me. Is pink duct tape a no no :).
7. Smart Phone. Because of how smart they are. They do practically everything these days.
8. Ziploc Bags. For keeping things dry. Everything on a boat gets wet try as you might.
9. Zip Ties. Multiple uses.
10. Parachute Cord. I loved this idea! Instead of using expensive lines to lash things, use parachute cord that is much cheaper. Lance recommends color coordinating different lengths, so for example yellow cords might be in 5 foot lengths, blue might be 2 feet in length and red in 25 feet lengths. This way in a pinch you know what to grab for the task at hand.
11. Personal plastic water bottle. My favorite reason for plastic that Lance cites is that the metal ones make too much noise when they fall and roll around.
12. Sunscreen and chapstick. I should not have to explain this one.
13. Small packages of non-spoiling food. Just in case the next port is further away than anticipated.
14. All plastic clothes pins. The metal in the other types can rust and stain the boat and clothes. I could not find all plastic, but I did find these PVC coated steel clips that should do the job.
15. Sewing kit. See my March 30 post on a sail repair kit. In addition to that kit, a personal sewing kit is a great idea.
16. Nexcare Skin Crack Care. This product was designed to seal painful skin cracks to promote healing of dry, cracked skin on fingers, hands, feet and elbows.
17. Mosquito repellant. Especially in the tropics!
18. Foul Weather Gear. You should always have this on board. See my post from March 12, 2013.
19. Ebook or tablet. Days at see can be long and boring so it’s a great time to catch up on reading or writing.
20. Space Bags. Keep clothes dry and other larger items in these bags. They also take up less space when the air is out of them.
21. Lighter. For seizing lines and mutliple other uses.
22. Watch. Don’t rely on your cell phone. Get a watch that is waterproof and has night glow.
23. Shoes. Let’s face it barefoot not always preferable. Lance cites a time when he had to traverse a reef barefoot when his dinghy deflated, ouch!
24. Wet wipes. So handy for many things like wiping salt air off.
25. Emergency list of contacts. Including the Coast Guard, family, etc. and a copy of your passport and driver’s license. These should all be stowed in a plastic Ziploc bag.

Lance Gettler’s book, 25 Things Every Sailor Needs, had a lot more detail than I have on this post so if you’d like to get his book just click here. I got the kindle version for $0.99.

See you on the water,
Sail Away Girl