Boats -- and the stuff on them -- break. To fix them, you need tools. This tool set is one of our favorite buys!

Stanley Mechanics Tool Set

Dave and I are pretty convinced that having a good tool collection on the boat is vitally important. Boats break. That’s all there is to it.

So what tools do we find most useful? Last night, Dave and I made a list of 10 general-purpose tools that have worked really well for us and that perhaps aren’t the run-of-the-mill hammers, screwdrivers and hacksaws. Originally I was going to just post a list of them, but then I realized I needed to write more about why we particularly like them. So one at a time it is.

First up: The Stanley 145-Piece Mechanics Tool Set.

Dave got this when we moved ashore after selling our first cruising boat . . . complete with most of the tools on it. He’s had it for 7 years now, and literally nothing has broken, failed, or been less than satisfactory.

Stanley also makes smaller sets, but we use just about everything that’s in this set. It includes:

  • 1/4″ and 3/8″ socket driver
  • SAE and metric sockets — regular and deep
  • Socket extenders
  • Screwdriver handle and adapter for sockets (not used a lot, but when it’s needed, it’s really handy)
  • SAE and metric Allen wrenches in holders (we find it handy NOT to have them on a ring or hooked together)
  • 8 box/open wrenches — SAE and metric

Admittedly this set doesn’t include every wrench or socket size we need on Barefoot Gal, but it covers probably 85-90% of what we need. Dave has had to purchase very few others. It’s a great “core” set.

Reasons we particularly like it:

  • High quality tools at a great price — less than $60 for the whole set
  • All the little pieces snap into place in the case, so they don’t go flying if the case is open and the boat rolls. This is a BIG advantage!
  • Since there is a place for everything, it’s easy to see if a piece is missing when you’re putting things away from a project . . . and find it then.
  • Case is pretty compact for what it contains. It is fairly sturdy, although Dave has had to repair one latch with some Gorilla Tape.

Stanley also makes a 201-piece set that includes a 1/2″ driver and sockets — we don’t need this on Barefoot Gal, but it would be useful on larger/heavier boats and is also a great deal at less than $60.

One note: we’ve never invested in stainless wrenches (too expensive!) and have never really had a problem with tools corroding, even in the 6+ years we cruised full time aboard Que Tal. If one is exposed to salt water, we rinse it off in fresh and then spray it with WD-40.

The Stanley sets are sold at many Home Depot locations (and online with free shipping) and also on Amazon (it’s over the threshold for free shipping and is Prime eligible).

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  • Claire Ford
    Posted at 29 June 2015 Reply

    Jack uses moth balls in the tool chest for rust prevention. I know, I know–they’re not good for breathing, but I make him keep it outside in a dry locker. They’ve worked for over 12 years.

    • Jim Watson
      Posted at 30 June 2015 Reply

      I have a full toolbox but my most-used tool that I always keep within reach is a Leatherman.

  • James Gyore
    Posted at 29 June 2015 Reply

    Mustadmit, building your own boat gives you the l

  • Sailing Chance
    Posted at 29 June 2015 Reply

    We like to get Harbor Freight hand tools. They are a relatively low investment cost, and there is a lifetime waranty on them. We’ve brought in wrenches/screwdriver sets in as they rust up or wear out and they’ve replaced them no questions asked. Great if you are in the states!

  • John Brethauer
    Posted at 29 June 2015 Reply

    I have three, one in each boat and one in a truck, they are the best for the price

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