On the Job

Essential Supplies for Deckhands

1 May 2020By Capt. Mx
iStock/PhanuwatNandee

Written by

Capt. Mx

Still pushing water, having enjoyed and excelled aboard square riggers, Whitbread Maxis, the world cup circuit when there were only 7 boats, America’s Cuppers, 12M, modern classics, real classics, salvage, racing, passage, refits, builds and more, for 38 years, 54 Atlantic crossings, 48 world championships, and a few stories more. I enjoy the serenity and clarity that a life between the blues offers, washed by wind and waves, where all that remains is the simple truth of all things, questions for all things technical, and acceptance of all things magic. 

In the superyacht industry, PPPPPP — Perfect Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance — should always be top of mind. Always prepare for what you wish to achieve and for what you wish to avoid. Like the many simple truths gained on deck and at sea, it applies to most things in life and certainly applies to you and your position aboard. Never run out of essential materials, and always be prepared for a disaster.

Stock sufficient paint and/or gelcoat for small repairs but have enough in the event of an accident — along with a ready supply of blue tape. When you buy paint brushes, make sure you have sufficient thinner to clean your brushes. When you buy thinner, be sure you have a small and large container (e.g. five gallon) with a secure method of transferring the fluid. Make certain all containers are sealed and secure enough for even the heaviest seas. Although you should check you have sufficient cotton cloths, be prepared to hand wash if required.

As always, your decks and topsides need to be stunning, so white 3M pads are a must — as well as the brown and blue on occasion. Be a diligent 3M shopper and get your stock in for the season, as this will save you a lot of time and ensure your ability to perform as you must.

Polish is a constant, so do not run out of the product or applicators. This applies to vinegar as well, so search for larger containers, five or 10 gallons, and find a secure method of transferring the liquid to a dispenser (such as a spray bottle, or recycle old sprayers that the stewies empty out). You may want latex gloves, perhaps for epoxy repairs, so have a box in stock and consider putting them into a sealed container as the original cardboard container has a short lifespan if in a deck locker.

Your sail and canvas repair kit needs to have more than a single needle, as well as waxed and colored line to keep things together, and this applies to you lubbers on stink pots too. Important items in your repair kit include contact cement and Krazy Glue. We all know that once opened, they begin to degrade, so again, get sufficient product for maintenance and possible repairs.

If you don’t, imagine a cigarette burn on a cushion and only a day between charters. You can turn the cushion upside down, but not always, and the glue and imagination will become crucial for immediate, although temporary, repairs. Additional tip: On long passages, lanyards can come in handy to secure and dress many items, so stock up on these (both in quantity and color selection).

The items are many, but it’s the little things you’ll miss if they aren’t available, such as a book of knots to enhance your skillset, a black book to take copious notes, pencils, pens, tape measures, stainless rigging wire, electrical tape, in different colors, self-vulcanizing tape (black and white), a selection of stainless-steel hose clamps, and more.

All of this is designed to make you a super deckie aboard a better boat.

This article originally ran in the May 2020 issue of Dockwalk.

More from Dockwalk