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Boats can be as complex as automobiles and upkeep requires some knowledge. But to keep your boat in the utmost condition, you’ll also need a few tools, and a way to carry them.

So should you buy one of the specialty marine tool kits that some boating companies sell? Here are a few tips to help you sort out what you really need to keep your boat in the best working order. 


  • The most important thing is to have your tools accessible. In other words, you should have your tools available in the boat in case something goes wrong. There’s nothing worse than being stranded in the middle of the water and knowing that the one tool you need is back on the shore.
  • To do that, get a waterproof tool box. You might pay a little more for something that is fully water and air tight, but it is worth the investment to keep the water and salt away from your tools.
  • As you learn about your boat, buy individual tools that fit it and assemble them into a personalized kit. Generally, all of these will be hand tools. Power tools tend to be too large to fit or carry on board. If your boat uses certain sizes of sockets, include them. Furthermore, include an adjustable wrench, long and short screwdrivers, and everything you need to work on spark plugs. You might also include a rag.
  • Most importantly, once you assemble a good kit, put it somewhere in the boat where it will stay and be available in a pinch.


  • Some boating stores offer marine tool kits. This may save you some trouble, but the best kit is one that is customized for your boat. A Philips head can’t help you if your boat uses flathead screws; metric sockets won’t help with English sizes.
  • Unfortunately, you will tend to learn what tools you need by experience. Hopefully, that won’t be the bad experience of being stranded. The key here is to notice every time you use a certain tool on your boat, stop, and add it to your marine toolkit. It may be a little extra trouble, but you’ll be thankful for every tool you have when you really need them.
  • Tool bags are not usually the best for boats, unless they are also waterproof. Generally, you will do best with a box of some kind.
  • For shore maintenance, you may need a few power tools. Drills are especially helpful here.

Featured Manufacturers

Pro-Grade, Chicago Power Tool, Seafit, and Channel Lock


As with every piece of equipment, tools help you maintain and repair and sometimes they help you out of a real pinch. Think ahead and be prepared so that you don’t have to regret your neglect later on.

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