Tools You Need in Your Boat Tool Kit
This article is geared toward wakesurf and wakeboard boat owners, but can apply to most boats as well.
We know how important it is to have the right tools on board for a smooth ride. From basic maintenance to unexpected hiccups, having a well-equipped tool kit can help you handle anything that comes your way on the water.
We’ve put together a list of essential tools that every wake boat owner should have on hand. We’ve also included some extra gear that can be useful in a variety of marine situations, just in case.
As someone who has been boating for over 30 years, I know firsthand how important it is to have a well-stocked tool kit on board. Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of mishaps and breakdowns on the water, and I’ve learned the hard way that being prepared can make all the difference. From wrenches and screwdrivers, to hose clamps and jumper cables, this guide covers all of the necessary equipment that every boat owner should have on hand.
Having the right tools and equipment on board can help you with anything from routine maintenance to unexpected emergencies. Although no tool kit can guarantee a trouble-free day on the water, being prepared can give you peace of mind and prevent costly repairs or delays.
Boat Tool Kit Essentials List
Your took kit doesn’t need to be fancy. My personal kit is mostly made up of extras lying around in my garage. The goal is to get you out of a bind when circumstances require the right tools. You can buy a mechanics tool kit, use a tool box, or just a tool bag. I prefer a bag, as I like to save space and fit more items.
Assorted Tool & Socket Set
You can get a decent set from any local hardware store. You don’t need the highest quality, just something that can be used for an emergency repair, or a quick fix. I like to have an assortment of sizes, along with extensions.
Things come loose on boats due to vibrations, so you’ll always want a good wrench set. When buying these, make sure you get a set that is chrome plated, or polished, as they are not as susceptible to rust. Needle nose pliers can come in handy too, along with extra nuts and bolts.
Pliers and Vice Grips
I like to keep a few sets of pliers and vice grips in my bag, like regular adjustable pliers, and needle nose pliers. I typically use these as a last resort, as they tend to strip nuts. Locking pliers or some vice grips might come in handy in some situations as well.
You want an assortment of these: both short, and long Phillips screwdrivers, and flat head screwdrivers in different sizes. It’s also a good idea to have allen wrenches too, as they are pretty common on boats.
I like to keep a handful of assorted sizes of hose clamps in my tool kit. They can come in handy for repairing leaking ballast hoses, cooling hoses, or even your heater hose. Another important tool that can come in handy is teflon tape. Teflon tape can repair a leaky ballast fitting, which is not uncommon.
Because most people tend to use boats during daylight hours, these boaters often forget about packing a flashlight on board. Having a flashlight in your tool box is essential. A flashlight is handy for checking the engine compartment, and accessing electrical components where there is no light, or if you break down at night.
Extra Equipment to Carry in your Tool Kit
Spare Propeller & Prop Puller
Dinged and damaged props can, and do, happen in inboard surf and wake boats. You’ll want to carry a spare prop and prop puller so you can change your propeller without taking it to the shop. You’ll need a prop wrench, socket, or adjustable wrench. Don’t forget to have a spare cotter pin as well.
It’s “Murphy’s Law” that the one bolt you loosened will fall somewhere where you can’t see it, or reach it. A polished steel, telescoping mirror will let you peek under the engine, or even around behind a locker.
Spare Impeller and Impeller Puller
You always want to keep a replacement impeller on board, along with a puller. The impeller keeps your motor cool and is an item that does wear out. An impeller can be difficult to remove, so it’s a good idea to get an impeller puller. An impeller puller is not a boat-specific tool, there are universal impeller pullers. A spare impeller and puller are essential items for your boat’s tool box. It’s like paying for a cheap insurance policy that will ensure that you don’t get stuck on the lake.
Spare Ballast Impeller
In your boat tool kit you’ll want to carry some extra duct tape and cable ties (zip ties). They really have endless uses. I’ve used cable ties to affix my dangling license plate on the trailer for example, as well as fix a broken throttle cable.
Jumper Cables or Jump Box
Another essential item for your marine tool kit is a set of jumper cables ,or a jump box. It’s not uncommon for batteries to drain, or to have problems starting. It’s also good to have in case you ever need to help a fellow boater in distress.
Electrical Repair On Your Boat
Troubleshooting the electrical system on your boat is not out of the ordinary. Having the right tools to diagnose and repair is key. Here are a few suggested items:
- Wire Stripper
- Electrical Tape
- Spare wire
- Various connectors
Miscellaneous Items For Your Boat Tool Kit
If all else fails- make sure you have tow rope at least 75′ long. I have used an old wakeboard tow line in a pinch but you’re better of with something like this $39.99 anchor line from Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need a boat tool kit?
If you own a boat, a tool kit is a must-have. Boats go through a lot of wear and tear and can break down at any time, especially in the harsh marine environment. A well-stocked tool kit on board can help you make necessary repairs quickly and efficiently, and prevent costly damage to your boat, and injuries to people on board. With a tool kit, you can deal with both minor and major issues, so you can get back to having fun on the water. Or at the very least you can make a quick fix and then limp your way back to the dealer or shop. In short, having a boat tool kit is crucial for any boater who wants to stay safe and be ready for whatever happens on the water.
What are the most important tools to have in my boat tool kit?
A basic boat tool kit should include some essential tools that can help you address most issues that might occur on the water. At the very least, it should include a socket set, a few screwdrivers in various sizes, an adjustable wrench, and a pair of pliers. These tools can help you address loose screws, nuts, bolts, and other basic maintenance issues. Having these tools on hand can help you deal with most problems you might face on the water, and keep your boat running smoothly.
Do I need to have expensive tools in my boat tool kit?
Expensive tools aren’t a must-have for your boat tool kit. In fact, many older tools you already have may work just as well for basic maintenance and repairs. Plus, you can find affordable options at stores like Harbor Freight and Amazon. The key is to choose reliable, well-made tools that fit your budget. You don’t have to break the bank to put together a functional tool kit that keeps your boat in top condition.
What should I do if I encounter a mechanical problem on the water and don’t have the necessary tools?
Encountering a mechanical problem on the water can be frustrating, especially if you don’t have the necessary tools to fix the issue.
- The first thing you should do is toss an anchor overboard, especially if it’s windy out, to prevent drifting.
- Try flagging down another boater and asking for a tow. Fellow boaters can be friendly and may help you out if you ask kindly.
- Next, call your local marine authority, such as a park ranger, or a commercial towing operation. They can help you with the problem, or tow you back.
Let us know in the comments below what’s in your tool kit, or tell us anything you think we should add to the list!