One of the previous owners of Que Tal (our previous boat) was absolutely brilliant and created a master list of every single piece of equipment aboard the boat, together with whatever was the most recent bit of info about it — new (installed), rebuilt, tuned, whatever.
Part numbers, serial numbers and as many details as possible were all included — you can see it all on the PDF I’ve included at the bottom of this post.
Now, this didn’t eliminate our maintenance log for more detailed info on installations and maintenance procedures, I want to be clear on that.
Rather, this gave us a reference list of absolutely everything. Instead of having to pull out owner’s manuals whenever we needed basic information about gear, we could just refer to the sheet.
We kept a printed copy next to our log, and hand wrote updates as needed. Periodically I’d update the electronic version and reprint it. Obviously, the electronic version was on the computer, which was with us whenever we traveled back to the US — and this was invaluable for making sure we got the right parts when it suddenly hit us that we needed something more.
With Barefoot Gal, I save the document as a PDF and keep a copy on a smartphone, too — knowing that I’ll have it with me whenever I went to any store in case there were questions.
In addition to being extremely helpful while we owned her, this document was an important selling factor of the boat both when we bought her and when we sold her. Brokers spend a lot of time writing up the specs of a boat for the online listing . . . and still frequently miss gear or get things wrong (we could tell you about some doozies we encountered in buying Barefoot Gal).
With this, the broker could email the “Details” document to prospective purchasers who requested it, giving them a much more detailed list than just “Batteries: yes” as we saw on some listings. We felt that we really knew the boat before spending the time and money to see her (important when you’re looking at a boat that’s at a distance). I believe it was important to the purchaser when we sold it too.
Creating a similar document was one of the first things we did aboard Barefoot Gal. And I do mean “we” — doing it together helped both of us know our new boat a lot better. Some info will come from the owner’s manuals and some will come from examining the equipment itself. I’m going to add another column to the sheet, too — whether we do have the owner’s manual (for those that we don’t, I’ll try to find it online and download it).
We used the list from Que Tal as an outline for what all to include, sort of as a memory jogger. And yes, it was a huge job, and we are still adding to it. And creating the list caused us to create a second list of spares we needed to buy.
I’m publishing the list for Que Tal as it existed when we listed her for sale. For the current owners of the boat — she’s had two owners since us — no claims of what is currently on the boat. And this list is NOT an endorsement of any of the items listed or a statement of gear needed on a boat or anything. Much has changed in the five years since we sold her, plus this gear was specific to this boat in a specific cruising area. I’m sharing the list just to give you an idea of what all it encompassed. We added a great deal of info — both more gear and more details about it — as we went along, pretty much doubling the size of the document from when we bought the boat to when we sold it.
Knowing your boat is a huge stress reducer. I’ve written before about learning the boat systems with a new-to-you boat; inventorying the equipment is equally important in my opinion. It’s really tempting with a new boat to want to just get out and start using it, but taking a little time to learn it first can save a lot of stress on those shakedown trips.
If you don’t have a similar list for your boat, I encourage you to create one — this one was done in Word; I think the columns would be even simpler in a spreadsheet, but use what you’re comfortable with. It’s a great rainy day project and you’ll be surprised at how the time flies and at how much better you feel you know the boat as you do it.
NOTE: After numerous people report they couldn’t see the document below, I made it into a downloadable PDF. Enter your email to get it — I’ve found this eliminates problems with various devices not downloading properly.