Can You Identify All of These Boating Tools and Supplies?

By: Bambi Turner
Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Can you tell the difference between a propeller wrench and a ratchet set, or a tie strap and a zip tie? Know what spark plugs, fuses and bulbs you need to replace all of the ones on your boat if one fails? If you consider yourself a boating supply expert, take our quiz to prove it!

When you're heading out onto the water, it's important to prepare carefully for your trip. And while most people wouldn't set foot aboard a boat without a swimsuit, shades and a cooler full of cold drinks, far too many fail to prepare for all the things that can go wrong at sea. Sure, bring your beach towel and snacks, but it's also critical to take the time to pack tools and supplies you might need to stay safe and ensure your trip is a success. 

You only need to check out how many boats are having trouble each year to know that trouble at sea is far too common. Of the 11 million recreational boats registered in the U.S., the Coast Guard reported 4,463 accidents in 2016, with 701 deaths -- that's 5.9 deaths for every 100,000 registered pleasure boats. Turns out, a day at sea isn't exactly a day at the beach.

The good news is you can reduce your risk of accident or injury with careful preparation and planning. That means avoid drinking while boating, learn how to operate your vessel safely, wear your life jacket -- and make sure your boat is stocked with all the right tools to keep you safe. 

Think you know everything you should have aboard your boat? Take our quiz to find out!

An anemometer measures both wind speed and direction -- pretty important stuff when you're out on the water. While old-school versions weren't much more than weather vanes with cupped ends, modern ones are largely digital.

Anchors away! This critical piece of boating equipment helps keep the boat safely in one spot so you don't drift out to sea -- or into another vessel. Choose your anchor based not only on the size of your boat, but also on the type of conditions you plan to use it in.

Perhaps the most important piece of safety equipment on any boat is the personal flotation devices -- also known as life jackets. In an emergency, these jackets keep boaters buoyant and help them stay visible to rescuers.

Any good seaman knows that boaters have flare -- or flares. These fireworks-type tools can be lit to alert rescuers of an emergency, and to emit smoke and light to help them find you when you're out at sea. In the U.S., most boats are required to keep at least three flares, which are generally good for up to three years before they should be replaced.

The Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon, commonly called an EPIRB, is a small electronic device that puts out radio signals via satellite -- and many also have GPS. Some must be manually activated, while others turn on automatically as soon as they make contact with water.

All boaters have seen daymarks, but some may not realize what they are called. These signs are fastened to posts known as daybeacons to provide navigational info. You might see them in busy channels, no-wake zones or other areas. Think of daymarks as road signs on the water.

Most boats have at least one plug in the hull, which may be referred to as a hull plug or drain plug. Removing the plug allows you to drain water quickly. To stay safe on the water, you should always keep a spare plug on board in case you have a leak.

With so many potential dangers at sea, it can be easy to overlook the sun as a major threat, but excess sun exposure is no laughing matter. A Bimini is the canvas top that can be stretched over a portion of the deck to keep the sun's ray at bay.

Got oars? Then you also need some form of oarlocks. These metal rings fasten to the gunwale of the boat, serving as a pivot point for the oars so you can use them effectively.

Some boats, especially sailboats, have a seemingly infinite number of lines, ropes and cables. While old-school sailors had to wind and unwind them all by hand, modern boaters can enjoy the convenience of the winch, which looks like the reel on a fishing rod, and can be used to wind lines or trailer a boat with ease.

Buoys provide important navigational and safety information for boaters at sea. These floats are anchored so they bob freely, instead of being fixed like some other navigational tools, and may be used to mark hazards or moor vessels.

Cleaning a boat is about more than a tidy appearance -- with such harsh conditions at sea, failure to keep a boat spic and span can lead to premature failure of equipment, or even the boat structure itself. That's why every sailor needs at least one good boat brush for removing saltwater and grime on deck and on the hull.

A cleat is a T-shaped attachment installed on the edge of a pier, dock or on the edge of the boat itself. By winding a rope through the cleat, sailors can keep lines firmly anchored, no additional hardware required.

Using a line to moor a boat can help keep a boat firmly in place -- unless excess wind and waves put too much pressure on the line and cause it to snap. A mooring snubber is a piece of rubber or bungee that absorbs some of this tension, allowing the mooring line to stay intact and do its job.

Small collisions at sea can cause expensive or dangerous damage, yet these collisions can be tough to avoid thanks to the unpredictability of water. Boat fenders are small rubber bags that float or fasten to the boat to keep it from banging against the dock, pier or other vessels.

When you're out on a boat, it's pretty important to know how deep the water is beneath your vessel. A depth sounder not only lets you know the depth -- useful for avoiding hazards, or determining where it's safe to swim -- but many also feature built-in fish finders for anglers.

A compass has been an important piece of boating equipment since the earliest days of sea travel. Boaters can choose between simple magnetic units, or electronic ones that correct for deviations from iron exposure or magnetic fields.

Can you imagine trying to disengage a heavy anchor from the sea floor, then hoisting it back up onto the boat by hand? Thank goodness for the windlass -- a piece of boating equipment used to automatically wind the anchor using a winch system.

Like the compass, the sextant is an old-school boating tool, but they are still found on many ships as a backup to more modern equipment. This navigational instrument allows sailors to pinpoint their position in relation to the stars, and takes a bit of experience and skill to operate.

A mooring ring is a strong steel ring that attaches to a dock, pier or buoy. With the simple clip of a line, sailors can fasten their vessel to the ring without the need for knots.

Just like cars, many boats require a key to start. That means that you need to find a way to hold on to your boat keys even in the worst case scenario at sea. Enter the lanyard -- a rope or bungee necklace that fastens to your keys to keep them attached to your body. Using a lanyard has the added advantage of activating the kill switch on the vessel automatically if you are ever pulled away from the controls.

Boats are not a good place to leave things lying around. Not only is it a trip hazard, but it means you are sure to be struggling to find things if you ever have to make a quick exit. A ditty bag is a bag designed to keep all your personal effects in one place on the boat. It may include everything from medications, to your cellphone to sunscreen and a radio.

There are infinite ways for a set of pliers to come in handy on a boat, from removing a hook from a fish to performing emergency repairs when something inevitably breaks. For best results, go for broke with a pair of standard pliers, plus a pair of needle-nose pliers for smaller jobs.

Like pliers, wrenches are a must-have on a boat. You can use them to tighten loose bolts before a rattling engine comes apart, or to remove a piece of hardware to get to a broken component. Invest in both a large adjustable wrench and a smaller one for tight spaces.

Water will always find a way to infiltrate a boat, no matter how carefully you manage your maintenance tasks. When water infiltration or excess moisture has you stumped, invest in a moisture meter to spot problems and fix them before they spoil your day at sea. Keep in mind that this tool may take some practice to use correctly, so take the time to learn how to use it before you actually need it.

Saltwater and sea air are harsh on every part of a boat, including the wiring. A good wire-cutting tool can mean the difference between a dead engine or radio and one that works thanks to a new terminal or connection installed on the fly. Don't forget a roll of electrical wire to keep in your onboard tool kit as well.

It might seem like a no-brainer, but a good bailing bucket can really save the day when you need it. Sure, a bilge pump should do the job, but you never know when this piece of equipment will fail, leaving you swamped with water. You can DIY this piece of equipment using a big pitcher, or buy one that's designed for the job.

Jumper cables are as useful on the water as they are on the road. If your starting battery dies, you may be able to get a jump using other batteries on board, such as those meant for trolling.

Barometers show atmospheric pressure, while a barograph captures these changes in pressure and shows how they change over time -- making it a useful tool for sailors looking to know when a storm might be approaching.

Daybeacons serve a similar purpose to buoys, but are fixed rather than floating. They are installed anywhere sailors may face hazards or need additional information. Most have signs known as daymarks attached to warn of shallow channels, rocks or other notable features.

A block and tackle is essentially a set of one of more heavy-duty pulleys used to lift heavy items on a boat. Many have these for adding or removing cargo, while some smaller boats have them to lower a dinghy or water toys into the sea.

A dinghy is used as a lifeboat when the larger boat you are riding on fails. They can also be used to make smaller trips to drop someone off at the dock without turning the larger vessel around.

A screwdriver is a must-have on a boat. You never know when something on board will break and you'll have to fix it to make it back to shore safely. Before you shop, check out the screws used on your boat to figure out what type of screwdrivers you'll need for emergencies and routine repairs.

If you can perform basic electrical work, you can save yourself a lot of trouble while out on a boat. Wire strippers are critical for removing insulation from electrical wires and forging new connections or terminals as needed.

You'll be kicking yourself if you find yourself at at sea with a burned-out spark plug and no replacement. Always carry at least one spare for all bulbs, spark plugs and fuses on your boat.

Wire crimpers allow you to join lengths of wire for new terminals or connections. Without the crimper, you may find that you can't get a secure enough connection to fix any electrical problems that pop up.

Binoculars may seem unnecessary in these days of ultra-modern equipment, but they are a tool you should never be without on board a boat, They are the perfect tool to have to spot potential hazards or other vessels -- especially if the weather is poor or instruments fail.

Think of a foghorn as a really, really loud car horn, It can be sounded to signal you are leaving the dock, or to alert others on the water to your presence.

The marlinspike is essentially a type of fid used for splicing rope. It has a pointed end that can be used to separate strands for splicing, or to work out a particularly difficult knot.

Boat hooks are long poles -- some extendable -- with hooked ends. They are often used for docking and undocking, but can also be used to grab lines or retrieve items that have fallen overboard.

An injury on board a boat can be a major problem far out at sea, especially if the engine has failed. A first aid kit can save the day when the worst happens, and help keep everyone safe and comfortable until you can reach medical assistance on land.

Zip ties or cable ties are some of the most versatile supplies you could keep on board a boat. Battery not staying where it should? Secure it in place with zip ties. Lines flapping in the wind? Use zip ties to keep them secure so they don't hit anyone or damage the boat.

Duct tape is as important at sea as it is on land, keeping things from moving when they shouldn't be. It may seem silly, but duct tape can be just enough to patch a problem and get you safely back to land for a more permanent fix.

Canvas covers and Biminis can mean the difference between a fun day at sea and a severe case of sun burn. Unfortunately, snapping these taut covers in place can require herculean strength. A boat snapper tool aligns the snaps without stressing out your fingers, making them easy to secure in place.

An impeller puller looks a bit like a fancy wine bottle opener. It's designed to quickly remove a damaged impeller pump so it can be repaired or replaced, and is particularly used for pumps that are tough to remove with standard pliers or wrenches.

Rope is one the most versatile pieces of equipment on any boat. It can be used to tie off to a dock or moor to a buoy; it secures sails and canvas covers; and can be used to tie down equipment before it blows away. For safety's sake, always keep rope safely coiled and know your knots before you set sail.

There are countless ways for the electrical system on a boat to cause you trouble. When that happens, the same multimeter you use at home can help you identify the problem by measuring voltage, letting you know if something is burned out, or a connection is loose or broken.

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