If you’re planning to go cruising, you’re confronting the age old dilemna – what spares do we take? Since our current spares inventory is less than what we left the US with originally, we tried to recall everything we had aboard & what we used.
Every boat and everyone’s list will be different, but click below for a free downloadable PDF file with our list. Hopefully it will provide a thought starter when you’re compiling your own spares.
Prior to leaving the US (while cruising the coast between Annapolis and Southwest Florida) we didn’t keep any spares other than spare fuel filters, oil and oil filters and anything the prior owner had left aboard (which wasn’t much because he was a daysailer only).
When we decided to sail to the Western Caribbean, the challenge changed. At the time, our trusty Nanni Kubota diesel was almost 20 years old. Our diesel mechanic (a cruiser himself) advised us to take all the marinized parts for a diesel – his contention was that while the marinized parts may fail, the diesel is the Energizer Bunny personified, it just keeps on going. Experience now tells us that was good advice, after going through several alternators, several salt water pumps, a thermostat, a couple exhaust elbows, and more.
Our theory was backups for every system. That included spares as well as other types of backups.
Want to skip to the downloadable PDF? Click here!
For your own boat, when compiling your list, think Captain Ron. “If it can go wrong, it WILL go wrong out there.”
Ah, yep! I recall one time standing in a well-stocked Ace Hardware store in Belize City, not really needing anything. Both of us looked around in amazement (after being out of the US for a few months, we found we weren’t used to the amount of STUFF and bright lights in that store!). Both of us chuckled and said — too bad we don’t know what’s going to go wrong next, we should stock up now. 🙂
Think through all your systems and think about ANYTHING that could break and what you would do if it did. In some cases we stocked complete plug and play new – for example, the pressure water pumps and the Smart Regulator. In other cases, we stocked components.
And don’t forget, to check for every tool that might be needed to dissasemble (or reassemble) something. It’s amazing how much stuff needs a “special tool” – NavPods, etc.
Here are some examples, a more complete list is on the downloadable PDF
Diesel – filters filters filters, extra alternator, salt & fresh water pumps, injectors, exhaust elbow …. more
Outboard – pull strings, external inline fuel filter for hose, sparkplugs, extra propeller … and more
Honda 2000 – feet, carburetor parts, sparkplug, funnels to drain and “winterize” while we’re gone … more
Autopilots – spare parts as well as a full replacement for the Raytheon ST4000+, not known for reliability – we’re on our 3rd …
Plus so much miscellaneous stuff, we lowered the waterline … again. Extra shackles, connections of all kinds, spare line, spare electrical connections, different sizes of spare wire, spare hoses, LOTS of hose clamps in all sizes, plugs for our seacocks, on & on & on.
The key is to think through everything on your boat and make sure you can disassemble it to replace worn parts AND that you have the spares to replace anything you can imagine that might wear out.
One last thought … depending on where you’re cruising, it may not be possible to just have something overnighted in. When we were cruising the Western Caribbean, it was simply not possible to receive overnight packages in the Rio Dulce (not sure about now, check before you go). It was a BIG hassle getting anything is some of the supposed “duty free” zones – for example Roatan, Bay Islands. Don’t assume you’ll be able to get something once it’s shipped and arrives. We’ve had stuff held hostage for days over dollars – sometimes more than the value of the item.
Here’s the PDF again: Winterlude Spare Parts Inventory.
Whatever spares you need … don’t panic. I remember thinking — so what we have all these engine parts, we’re not diesel mechanics, we’ll never be able to diagnose or actually replace anything. Not so, Nigel Calder’s books and other cruisers made it possible for us to fix most everything ourselves…. with a little help from our friends.
So what did I forget? I know there’s something … or maybe multiple things. Please leave comments and share! Cheers! Jan