Below I’ve assembled photos and a list of the essential items for your sailboat tool bag. Stainless tools are nice but not necessary, but if you choose non-stainless tools you will have to clean and oil your tools regularly.
Now this is a must...you have to find a place to store your tool bag where it will not get wet!!!
I keep an assortment of West Marine. The tool saver consists of two coily cords with clips on one end and a carabineer on the other. The idea is to clip the carabiner to your belt loop and then the individual clips to each tool. After Davy Jone's locker has claimed her share of your tools you will begin to understand the value of the $12 item. Mine has an ice pick and a wrench on it most of the time for shroud and stay adjustment.
Notice most of these items have tie wraps around them to connect to the coily cord safty line.
This might sound a little old fashion but get a good hand crank drill and a set of drill bits. There is always a hole to be drilled and not always a source of power readily available. The drill is by Fiskars and costs about $14.
And finally I have a spark plug wrench (and spare sparkplugs), a screw holder, a multi-tip screwdriver a piece of very fine sand paper (for cleaning away corrosion), a 10mm wrench (it fits something, but I can't remember what) and a small assortment of sockets.
Basic Tool List and Uses
I. Shroud & Stay Adjustments
A. Wrenches – SAE or Metric Depending on your boat
B. Ice Pick – used to adjust and hold turnbuckles
C. Small Cork to cover tip of Ice Pick – nothing like stabbing yourself while looking for a tool
D. Cloths Pin to hold up the shroud cover tubes while adjusting turnbuckles
E. Cable Tension Gauge
II. Basic Repairs
A. Adjustable Wrench
B. Screwdriver Assortment – include very small drivers for electrical work and large drivers, like a #3 Philips and a large straight blade screwdriver.
C. Water Pump or Slip-Jaw pliers
D. Hacksaw – small – if your mast collapses you’ll need to cut it away.
E. Hand Drill
F. Drill Bit Set
G. Pencil & Small Pad
H. Duck Tape
I. Sharpie – waterproof marker
J. Utility Knife
K. 7 or 8 inch Black and White Nylon Ties
L. Small plastic container of screws, cotter rings, spare clevis pins and Tiller and Mast Wing nuts
III. Sheet and Line work – Mark the line with a wrap of masking tape. Use the riggers knife and the block to cut through the middle of the masking tape and then burn the ends to prevent
raveling, and then remove the tape.
A. Riggers Knife
B. Masking Tape
C. Tape Measure
E. Small plywood block – 4X3
IV. Electrical & Electronics Work
A. Wire Cutters
B. Linemen’s Pliers
C. Small Screwdrivers
D. Assortment of Wire Nuts and Crimp Connectors.
E. Assortment of Fuses that fit items in your boat. Don’t forget the hidden fuses, in-line
with most new electronics – like radio’s and GPS units.
V. Sail & Hull Repair
A. Needle, Thread, Piece of Dacron
B. Grommets, Punches & Dies
C. Epoxy Patch Kit