How To Get Your Boat Organised
Practical Boat Owner|October 2021
Are you always misplacing tools and spares? Roger Hughes has the answer
Roger Hughes

It is very, very frustrating to empty a locker, only to discover the item you’re looking for is in another one. That doesn’t happen any more on Britannia.

I’m sure every yachtsman who ever worked on his boat has spent more time looking for tools and spares than it took to do the actual job.

Searching for stuff drove me to distraction on my first boat, and it drove me crazy (until now) on my latest one, a 45ft schooner, Britannia.

You’d think there would be enough room in a hull this length, with a 14ft beam, for all the tools and spares under the sun – and there pretty-much is – but the abundance of locker space creates its own problems.

The boat can accommodate a workshop full of tools and spare parts, but that doesn’t mean I can always find them. Often, I’d give up completely and have to sleep on it, knowing there was a chance it might come to me in the morning.

This would often cause arguments between my wife, Kati, and I, so we decided to do something about it.

It’s all about cataloguing

The answer is not where you stow things, but to accurately catalogue where they are – whether it’s a special shackle or a spare alternator – so you have a method of finding it.

I’m not talking about a spread-sheet in Excel, or any other computer program, (we tried that first), because you can bet your life the laptop battery will be flat when you want to open it, and if someone else is searching for something, they might not be able to open the correct page anyway.

The solution is to keep a simple hard-copy binder, somewhere you’ll always find it – maybe the chart table... but then, if you can’t find even the book, you really are in trouble.

Start with a ringbinder

First you need to buy a loose-leaf ringbinder complete with an alphabetical index and plenty of blank pages, along with a pencil with a rubber on the end.

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