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Equipment & Gear

Whether it’s their trusty old boat moccasins or the newest polarized sunglasses, sailors love to talk about their gear. Read about what equipment is needed for both you and the boat, from basic rigging to the latest electronics, with reviews of popular products.

Best Sailing and Boating Apps
Many navigation and charting apps, as well as other apps for weather and tide and other purposes, are available for smart phones and devices. Here's a guide to get started.

How to Replace Your Sailboat's Lifelines
You depend on your sailboat's lifelines to keep you from falling overboard. Learn how to inspect aging lifelines and to replace them yourself when needed.

Learn About Sailboat Equipment, Personal Sailing Gear, and Bo…
Whether you own a sailboat or crew often on others’ boats, you need to know about equipment for the boat and personal gear that is essential or useful when sailing. Start here to learn about new and new equipment and gear as well as essential sailboat maintenance techniques.

Best Sailing Gifts
Give the sailors you know something special and appropriate for sailing—a gift not for the boat but for that special person aboard.

How to Rig a Preventer Line
A preventer is used to keep from the boom from suddenly swinging across the boat in an accidental gybe. When the boom swings quickly from one extreme to the other, the forces generated can be huge and damage the boat or injure anyone in the way of the boom or the mainsheet tackle. Someone can easily be knocked overboard. Learn how to rig your...

How to Attach Double Mooring Pennants (Bridle)
Your sailboat is only as secure on its mooring as the pennant keeps it. Use double mooring pennants in a bridle for maximum strength, but add a swivel in the attachment to prevent chafing and failure if the pennants wrap around each other.

Review of Forespar TruPlug Emergency Leak Plug
One of the most frightening things that can happen on a boat is a sudden leak of water in through a broken through-hull fitting or a hole in the hull. Because the pressure forces water into the boat very quickly, you must act fast to plug the hole, often a difficult task because the breach may be any size or shape. Forespar has a new product...

7 Ways to Save Money Buying Boat Gear
Any boat owner knows that it's expensive to buy personal boating gear and equipment for the boat, especially at marine stores and chandleries. But crafty sailors have always sought out alternatives to paying those high prices, often in creative ways. Here's a collection of tips for saving big bucks when buying boat gear.

The Abandon-Ship Ditch Bag
A sailboat offshore must have an abandon ship bag, or ditch bag, in its emergency equipment. Even coastal cruising sailors should have one ready if wind or a current might carry you away from a populated area. Here’s what to keep stowed in your abandon ship bag.

DayVue LCD Screen Protector by NuShield for LCD Screens Outdoors
The NuShield DayVue screen protectors make electronic LCD screen displays easier to read in bright daylight, a common problem for many electronics such as computer screens, chart plotters, smart phones, mp3 players, and DVD players used on boats. Read this review of NuShield products that may improve your boating life.

Origo Marine Stove and Oven
The Origo marine stovetop and oven is a safe, simple, efficient alternative to propane and pressurized alcohol systems found on many sailboats. Read this review to learn why an Origo stove with or without oven may be the best choice for your boat.

Choosing a Sailboat Winch Handle
Winches are used on mid-size and larger sailboats for hoisting and trimming sails. Since a variety of sizes and types of winch handles are available for cranking the boat’s winches, it’s important to consider a number of factors and differences among handles before choosing the right ones for your boat.

Lazy jacks
Lazy jacks are used to neatly hold the mainsail on top of the boom after being lowered.

Types of Sailboat Foghorns
All sailboats should carry a horn for making signals to warn other boats of their presence when sailing in fog with reduced visibility. Three basic choices for a foghorn include compressed-air horns, manual horns, and VHF radios with foghorn signals through a hailer.

The LifeSling Overboard Rescue System
If someone falls off your boat, you need a way to rescue and retrieve that person. You could throw a life ring with a rope attached, but that method has drawbacks. The LifeSling is currently the best device and system for rescuing a person overboard and getting him or her back on the boat.

Keen Newport Boating Sandals
When it's warm you'll want to wear boating sandals rather than shoes. The best are the Keen Newport boating sandals, which grip the deck well, are waterproof, and protect your toes.

Safety Harness Tether
Most deaths during sailing occur because the person falls or is knocked off the boat. It’s not enough just to be careful and try to hold on. When conditions warrant, sailors should use a safety harness tethered to a secure fitting on deck. Different kinds of safety tethers are available for those with varying preferences.

How to Use Jacklines
When circumstances increase the risk of falling off your boat, wear a safety harness and clip in with a tether. Use jacklines on both sides of the deck so that you can stay tethered if you have to move about on the deck.

Mast Steps Vs. Bosun’s Chair
For many different reasons sailors may have to climb the mast—to retrieve a lost halyard, to inspect or fix rigging, to replace the anchor light bulb, etc. Different methods have evolved from simple mast steps or a bosun’s chair to newer products such as the Mast Mate and ATN TopClimber. Each has different advantages and disadvantages.

The New Rocna Anchor vs the Classic CQR
The new Rocna anchor from Australia has challenged the class CPR and plow anchors. The Rocna is better for new boats and may be worth the cost for an older boat too.

How to Attach Jib Sheets with a Soft Shackle
Use a soft shackle to attach jib sheets to the jib sail's clew for a lighter, softer, safer knot.

West Marine
Shop first online because only a small percentage of equipment is actually stocked in stores. Shipping is free to your local store if you place your order at the store. Also take note of their low price guarantee – if you find the same item at another national supplier, such as Defender Marine, print out the lower price quote and take it with you to the store and request the lower price.

Defender Discount Marine
Defender is one of the least expensive online stores for purchasing marine equipment and gear. Dependable and fast delivery.

Review of the Edson Teak Cockpit Table
One of the joys of sailboat cruising is cockpit dining after a day of sailing. Edson's teak cockpit table mounts on the binnacle pedestal guards and easily folds up and out with enough space for four. It's a practical and classy table for appetizers or a meal. Read the full review here.

Use AnchorRescue to Prevent Losing a Fouled Anchor
Most anchors can get stuck on the bottom if the flukes hook under a rock or other debris. Unless you installed a trip line to pull the anchor out backwards, you may not be able to raise the anchor at all, which is then an expensive loss unless you can dive to free it. But a trip line is a hassle to use and often causes trouble itself. The AnchorRescue device is a perfect solution.

Review of Hooknife for Fouled Prop or Rudder
If a rope or line entangles your boat’s prop or rudder, you may have to respond quickly to avoid a risky situation. If you can’t push or pull it away with a boat hook, you may have to cut it down underwater at the point of entanglement. The Hooknife reviewed here is the perfect solution.

The Magellan ToughCase for iPhone and iPod Touch
The Magellan ToughCase for the iPhone and iPod Touch is the perfect solution for sailors and boaters wanting to use their device while on a boat. The ToughCase provides waterproof protection as well as extended battery power and more accurate GPS reception, solving the three problems of using an iPhone on the water. Read the full review here.

How to Make Your Own Stern Pulpit Rail Seat
A stern pulpit rail seat is popular add-on for older cruising sailboats. Read this article with photos to learn how to build your own.

Review of Jabsco Marine Head
A well-functioning (and nonsmelling) marine head is essential for enjoying time aboard any boat, especially a cruising sailboat. It's also important to be able to repair it easily if it clogs or something breaks. Read the full review here of the Jabsco Twist 'n' Lock Marine Toilet to see if this is the one you want on your boat.

Replacing Boat Lights with LED Lamps
LED lights on sailboats use much less power and over time are much less expensive, along with other advantages. Read this article about replacing your incandescent lights with new LED lights.

The Casio Pathfinder - A Great Sailor's Watch
What makes a great sailor's watch? Read this full review of the Casio Pathfinder watch, one of the best for a sailor's needs.

Great Boat Galley Gifts
Sailors and boaters like to eat well and treasure galley items that fit into a boat's small space and are useful when sailing. Here are several inexpensive galley gift items to improve the culinary experience of any boater.

How to Make Your Own Logbook for Your Boat
Learn how to make your own logbook for your boat. Design it just the way you want it and create a waterproof, permanent logbook you'll be proud of.

Preparing for Dismasting
Choose the right tool for your own sailboat for cutting the rigging if you're dismasted.

Review of Dual XGPS150 Bluetooth GPS Receiver
The Dual XGPS150 Bluetooth GPS Receiver is a perfect solution for sailors and boaters who want to use navigation and other location-specific apps or software on their Apple devices, smartphones, or laptops.

Review of SailorBags Totes and Duffels
SailorBags produces a line of boat bags, duffels, and other products for sailors that are as good looking as they are functional. Read the review here.

Digital Selective Calling (DSC) for Marine VHF Radios
Many sailors have installed VHF radios on their boats that have Digital Selective Calling (DSC) capability but have not activated this potentially life-saving radio function. Learn about the DSC system and how to activate it on your marine radio.

Using AIS on Your Sailboat
It's easy to avoid collisions with ships in the dark or fog If you have an AIS receiver on your sailboat. Learn here about the many different systems that can be installed on a sailboat.

Understanding VHF-DSC Marine Radios
A DSC-equipped VHF radio has many advantages for sailors. Here's what you need to know about DSC before you buy and use one on your own boat.

Double Jib Sheets - A Different Approach to Jib Trim
Traditionally sailboats use a single jib sheet on each side that pulls the sail's clew both back and down for the best shape. Using double instead of single jib sheets allows you to get the best sail shape at any point of sail or furled size without having to move jib sheet blocks on a track.

Control Your Tiller without a Tiller-Tamer
Since you can't just let go of your sailboat's tiller without the boat getting out of control, make your own tiller-taming system without having to purchase a commercial product.

Review of Body Glove 3T Barefoot for Sailors
Like to go barefoot but want some support and a good grip on your boat?s deck? Consider the Body Glove Barefoot shoe as an alternative to traditional boat shoes. Read the review here.

Review of Lehr Propane Outboard Engine
The Lehr propane outboard engines available in 2.5 and 5 HP models, are perfect for small boats of any kind and offer many advantages. Read the full review here.

Review of Trendy Digital Waterproof Case for Ipad, Tablets, and Phones
Trendy Digital makes waterproof cases for using your smartphone or tablet on your boat when running boating apps. Read the full review here.

How to Install a Bilge Pump Counter on Your Boat
Since you usually can't hear your automatic bilge pump working, installing a bilge pump counter gives you useful information for detecting leaks before they become emergencies.

How to Install a Bilge Pump Alarm on Your Boat
Since you usually won't hear your bilge pump when it comes on, installing a bilge pump alarm lets you know about a potential leak before an emergency occurs.

Install a Bilge High Water Alarm on Your Boat
If you have a major leak and water is rising faster in your boat than the bilge pump can pump it out, you have an emergency. A bilge high water alarm is an early warning system that provides the extra time you may need to correct the problem.

Review of Lite Cylinder Fiberglass Propane Tank
If you use propane on your boat, check out the many advantages of switching to a fiberglass propane tank from Lite Cylinder or Clear View. Read the review here.

Review of the HawkEye F33P Depthfinder/Fishfinder
This is a useful depthfinder for a small sailboat or one without a 12-volt electrical system. Portable and battery-operated, and can be permanently mounted.

Review of Kestrel 1000 Handheld Wind Meter for Sailors
Because sailors can more effectively adjust their sails and plan ahead when conditions are changing, the Kestrel 1000 handheld wind meter is a handy, inexpensive device. Read the full review here.

How to Choose an Anchor for Your Boat
It can be difficult to choose the best anchor for your boat, since many factors affect that decision. Start here with this comparison of different types of anchors for sailboats.

Easy Boat Improvements 1 - Light and Physical Comforts
It's easy to make simple, inexpensive improvements inside your boat to make it more comfortable and pleasant to be aboard. These little things won't make your boat faster or safer, but they're satisfying additions that can help others, like family members, enjoy their time on the water. Here are four simple additions to bring more light and...

Review of Survival Strap Fish Tail Bracelet for Sailors
The Survival Strap Fish Tail bracelet is not only attractive sailing jewelry but also provides a length of strong cord that could save your life in an emergency. Read the review here.

The Navionics Marine and Lakes Boating GPS Navigation App for iPhone
The Navionics Marine and Lakes navigation app for iPhone/iPad is an inexpensive solution for seeing your boat moving on a chart. But how much more can you expect from what looks at first like an impressive list of features? Read the full review to find out.

How to Keep Your Boat Dry and Prevent Mildew
Boats get damp when covered for the winter or not used for a while during the season. This lets mold and mildew grew and produces unpleasant odors. Learn how to ventilate or use calcium chloride to keep your boat dry.

Review of the Tidal Chronoscope App
What's the best app for sailors and other boaters to use on the water? Read the review here of Tidal Chronoscope to see if it’s right for you.

Review of FreedomPop 3G/4G Wi-Fi Mobile Hotspot for Boaters
The FreedomPop 3G/4G Wi-Fi Hotspot is an perfect solution for sailors on a budget who want connectivity for their laptops or devices near shore.

Uses of a Voltmeter on a Boat
A voltmeter has many beneficial uses on a boat. Learn how to use it and install your own.

How to Install a Voltmeter on Your Boat
Learn how to install a simple, inexpensive voltmeter on your boat and gain the benefits.

Review of Sheex Berth Sheets for Boats
Looking for a way to have more restful, luxurious sleep on your boat? Sheex berth sheets offer several advantages over regular cotton sheets. Read the review here.

Review of Mr Beams UltraBright Lantern
The Mr Beams UltraBright Lantern is a good lantern for a boat when you need battery-powered light or to recharge your smartphone. Read the review here.

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