LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Random, but oh so useful!

The other day as I was retrieving the lighter (that we use to light our propane galley stove) from behind the counter where I had dropped it for the millionth time, I thought…“man, I am so glad we have this awesome grabber tool!” (That’s the technical name by the way.) ;))

But seriously, we use it all.the.freaking.time.

So, that got me thinking, what other random items do we have on the boat that are super useful, yet probably not the first things someone considers when prepping to live on a boat? Well, here are our TOP 5 totally random, but oh so useful boat goodies…


1. Grabber tool
Okay, so apparently this is called a “claw pick up” on Amazon. Who knew? Whether it’s to grab something that drops in the bilge, behind the stove, or in some other tight nook and cranny on the boat, it’s really been a lifesavor at times. Years ago, I picked up this smart little contraption at an auto parts store after having dropped my favorite Tiffany’s ring down the drain at an old apartment where I was living at the time. The ring lodged itself right at the crook of the pipe, and after many unsuccessful attempts to retrieve the ring, a friend finally suggested this ingenious tool. And it worked on the very first try! Since then, Jereme and I have used the grabber tool about 5 million times (not just on the boat, but back at our home in Naples too). We now literally keep this guy in arms reach…basically out on a shelf by the settee because we use it so often. What’s great about it is that it is flexible yet super sturdy and has a VERY strong claw end that you control with a push button at the opposite end. You can find these at most auto part stores for less than $10; a similar one to ours can be found here.

2. Plastic hanging clips
Seriously, one of the most useful impulse purchases I’ve ever made. And I make a lot. ;)) I picked up two sets of these plastic clips while checking out at Marshall’s the day before we left on our sailing adventure. They were staring at me as I waited patiently in line to checkout and I thought, “hmmm…I think we might need something other than clothespins on the boat.” I really didn’t know at the time what we would use these for, but holy moly, it turns out we use them almost every day. What’s nice is that they *hang* so you don’t necessarily have to clip them to a line (like you would a clothespin). And they fit perfectly on our bimini structure (they hang right on the steel bars), making it super easy to dry clothes or towels in the cockpit. They also work just as well for us below deck. At $5 a set, these were definitely worth it! And surprisingly, none have broken thus far! This set from Amazon($5 for a set of 5 clips) looks exactly like the ones I found at Marshall’s.

Sailing-Blog-Cruising-Sailboat-Boat-Life-Caribbean-Bahamas-Tools-Random-Useful-Helpful-Need-LAHOWIND-Young-Couple-eIMG_5904 Sailing-Blog-Cruising-Sailboat-Boat-Life-Caribbean-Bahamas-Tools-Random-Useful-Helpful-Need-LAHOWIND-Young-Couple-eIMG_5922

3. DC Power Adapter Charger for Mac Laptop
Not having to use the inverter to charge the laptop has been invaluable, to say the least. This little $30 amazon purchasewas worth its weight in gold. It charges our Mac laptop much faster than the inverter can, while also saving us mucho power. It’s the best! If you’re planning to live ‘off the grid’ but still connected so to speak, this must-have item should definitely make it on your boat.

4. Dog travel water bottle+bowl combo
Another last minute impulse purchase a day or two before we cut the proverbial dock lines and sailed off into the sunset with our dog in tow. We hook Oliver’s travel dog water container + combo bowl onto our dry bag and carry it with us whenever we take Oliver to shore or into town with us. To use it, you simply pull the lid away from the water bottle (it all stays connected though) and squeeze the water into the bowl portion. It’s so smart, it’s stupid. But such a necessity with a boat dog in the mix. We scored ours for only $1 at Big Lots, but you can find a similar one on Amazon for about $10.


5. Paracord
This little gem was even more last minute than some of the others. We picked up a few reams of paracord from Home Depot in Marathon (Florida Keys) while stationed at Boot Key Harbor for two weeks. We originally bought a few fun colors of this awesome cord because we were going to have craft hour with our good friend and mooring neighbor EB and he was going to teach me how to make cool bracelets. Lol. Turns out, we ran out of time in Marathon, and we never got a chance to host craft hour. :(( The good news is, we use this cord for TONS of stuff! Whether Jereme grabs a piece to tie off who-knows-what on the boat, or I use a long piece to create a makeshift clothesline inside the boat, it works for everything! And it never hurts to have a stash of extra rope (even the thin stuff). Plus it’s super cheap! You can pick these up on Amazon for about $3.

What random things do you find most useful on your boat? I’m sure I missed an obvious one.

Happy sailing!

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing, as we cruise the Caribbean

Skelton CrewAugust 28, 2014 - 4:31 pm

What great ideas!!

LAHOWINDAugust 29, 2014 - 2:23 am

Thanks Jackie!!! :) -Kim

Lara SpragueAugust 29, 2014 - 3:36 pm

So funny you brought up that grabber tool. Cole and I are packing up the house for our move to Denver and we didn’t pack our grabber because we knew we would need it. Used it a ton of times and also kept our 3&1/2 year old nephew entertained while we packed the truck. Makes a really cool claw arm!

LAHOWINDSeptember 3, 2014 - 3:55 am

Lara!!! We miss you guys. I saw you recently moved to Denver (via Cole’s FB page). Hope you guys are loving it there! :) -Kim

[…] paracord (I wrote about it and some of our other most overlooked yet beloved items on the boat >> here <<) and string it up from one mounted hook to another. Open a few hatches/windows to get a good breeze […]