Don’t Lose Your Parts!

Over the last three days, Dave and I (mostly Dave with me being the chief tool hander and third hand) have basically torn the stove apart on our new-to-us boat.

It began with the objective of fixing a propane leak in one burner, and expanded as we discovered that the real problem was that something had spilled/boiled over on the stove, run down through the burner, totally plugged everything up and never been cleaned (more on this in another post).

The end result was that we (read: mostly Dave) had to tear the stove top almost totally apart to clean it. And the best place to do that was in the cockpit, once we got the stove out of the galley.

And so we employed a rule we’d learned the hard way on our previous boat: plug the cockpit drains and scuppers before doing anything else.

It doesn’t have to be fancy — rags or used paper towels will do just fine. The one time we forgot to do this — you guessed it — we lost a critical screw down it. Luckily, Dave was able to jury-rig a substitute, but it taught us a very good lesson.

Not only is there Murphy’s Law at work, but everything slopes down to the drains, making it even more likely that items will roll down the drain.

This time, nothing was lost although many things were dropped . . . and I now have a stove that works really well! Coffee this morning was ambrosia!

I'd like to know about...

Explore more

Want weekly tidbits of cruising information? Sign up for The Boat Galley's free weekly newsletter. You'll get the newest articles and podcasts as well as a few relevant older articles that you may have missed.

Do you find The Boat Galley useful? You can support the site when you buy from Amazon by using the links on this site or clicking below. No extra cost for you!

23 Comments
  • Jan Bogart
    Posted at 06 October 2014 Reply

    i’ve also taken digital pictures as things come apart as a reminder of what goes where! 1st did that repairing the wind generator.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 06 October 2014 Reply

      Oh, we take LOTS of digital photos of how things go together!

      • Chris&Janet
        Posted at 07 October 2014 Reply

        We use a no longer network connected smartphone’s video camera on some projects where movement and not just placement need tracking. We upload the vids to the laptop for the next time we have to tackle the project.

  • Patricia Pucher
    Posted at 06 October 2014 Reply

    I love your site and not for the reason you might think. I don’t have a boat but I aim to have a ‘tiny house’. Much of what you say about boats applies to tiny houses too. Thank you, thank you.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 06 October 2014 Reply

      Glad you find it so useful! 🙂

    • Barbara Lowell
      Posted at 09 October 2014 Reply

      Me too Patricia. Thot I was the only landlubber!!!

  • Jeri Berge
    Posted at 06 October 2014 Reply

    Working on the fresh water tank sensor, we dropped a screw inside the tank! Took an hour or so to finally “suck” it out with a hose!

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 06 October 2014 Reply

      And that’s why “five minute jobs” take a half day . . .

  • Frank
    Posted at 07 October 2014 Reply

    I like to have a couple of different size I think their called earth magnets handy. Super strong small magnets that can help you fis items from a tight spot. You can get them loose and put them on a string or for a few dollars more, you can get several sizes mounted on a telescopic ( old car antenna like) adjustable handle . Great for fishing out of tight spaces and the small ones are unbelievably strong. They even have a model that is in different sizes on both sizes so after you finish working you boat on the dry drag across the work area tomget any of those runaway screws or anything else sharp enough to cause a flat

    • Susie Burall
      Posted at 09 October 2014 Reply

      Just don’t put a magnet anywhere near the compass!!!

  • Frank
    Posted at 07 October 2014 Reply

    Just an after add on, keep away from computer drives or any type of media like that it may wipe it clean

    • Barbara Lowell
      Posted at 09 October 2014 Reply

      Yes this actually happened to me … I had to replace my hard drive (Luckily it was recently backed up but Apple service guy charged me around $350 or maybe it was more, can’t remember. Anyway I found out later I overpaid and I was doubly annoyed.

  • jaha
    Posted at 11 November 2014 Reply

    I’m a lurking land-lubber, too. I’m just here for the food. Sailors seem to eat better/live better than campers and RV’ers, while using similar skills. These skills, tips, and techniques are so handy during home-disrupting situations, such as remodeling projects, weather/power emergencies, extended plumbing repairs, etc.

  • David Lake
    Posted at 09 April 2017 Reply

    I have a metal dish that is magnetized ,.. can find them at most auto places …works great for small parts

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 09 April 2017 Reply

      That assumes you don’t drop them putting them into the dish. Yes, we’ve lost them that way, too.

    • David Lake
      Posted at 09 April 2017 Reply

      was just trying to be helpful

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 09 April 2017 Reply

      No, it’s a great suggestion 🙂 We’re sometimes a little fumble-fingered!

  • Kimberly Young Price
    Posted at 09 April 2017 Reply

    We bought these beauties at a hardware store. The bathroom sink and shower drain are both about 2.5″. They fit perfectly and we keep them in all the time. We like to play dice games in the cockpit. Never have to worry about losing a die either.

  • Joysealife.com
    Posted at 09 April 2017 Reply

    I like to put a drop cloth under the work area. It keeps the nuts and screws from falling into dark tight corners. Sometimes I just grab a fuel pad. It’s much easier to see the screw on a white pad than in the dusty dark corners.

  • Ian Kelly
    Posted at 09 April 2017 Reply

    those drains have magnets in them

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 09 April 2017 Reply

      Definitely. And it’s some sort of magnet that will attract non-magnetic parts even.

  • Gregory Thompson
    Posted at 09 April 2017 Reply

    I have them put most every part seems to be true stainless or non magnetic

  • Rosemary Malcolmson MacLean
    Posted at 11 April 2017 Reply

    We found that the plugs for our galley and head sinks fit all the drains on the boat!

Post A Comment