Regarding tool acquisition, it’s hard to know where to start and for many people it never ends, but there certainly are some minimums and some basics that every trawler owner should carry aboard. Kevin and Jeff went through Red Rover where Kevin revealed his accumulated tool stashes and we filmed a video to discuss some of his tool selections and how they are used. This is truly a topic that has infinite possibilities with no right or wrong answers.
In this Trawler Tools section of the JMYS website we have included a library of photos to show how different trawler owners approach and handle the selection and storage of tools. There are portable tool boxes, buckets, cases and canvas totes. Some trawlers have built in roller drawer tool chests or strap down a large metal bank of tool drawers. We have even seen some trawler owners create custom caddies to house specialty tools near where they are needed (like a pair of open ended and closed wrenches specifically for adjusting the stuffing box).
On deck and at your ready in a flash, a Swiss Army knife can be kept in your pocket and a Leatherman multi-tool strapped on your belt.
If your trawler is large enough, you may have room for a dedicated work bench with a vise, grinder and drill press. I’ve seen trawlers that could fabricate just about any part that breaks or needs repairs. With 3-D printers gaining in popularity I’m sure they are de rigueur for some of the must-have-everything types.
For most owners a stock 100-piece tool case from a hardware store consisting of screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, saws, pliers, sockets, etc. is the easiest way to begin. Having a general complement will cover most of your needs, but there are also specialty tools you will require like strap wrenches for filters and impeller pullers. Much of your tool collection will probably be added to one project at a time.
There was a popular saying a few years ago, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” I think you can substitute the word tools for toys, and you are close to describing many trawler owners. Tools are personal and, in many ways, represent the personality of the owners who use them. When a trawler is sold the question about which tools will be removed and which will remain is an important aspect to clarify. Useful tools are rarely discarded, and quality tools can be expensive. There is serious brand loyalty to Craftsman, Snap-On, Stanley, Matco, Husky, Kobalt, etc.
Every moving part on your trawler may need an adjustment; a lot of fasteners need tightening and many working parts need to be refreshed. There are metric tools and SAE standard, there are dozens of screw head drives; Philips, slotted, Allen, hex head, etc.
It’s easy to say that the key to it all is to have the right tool for the job, and if you don’t, improvise (and add it to your to-buy list when you get back to port).
You also need to know where the tool you need is located so organizing like-tools in drawers or bins will shorten your search time. Some people outline them and place them on bulkheads. Keeping your tools fresh so that they aren’t exposed to salt air and moisture and don’t rust while napping between jobs is just as important.
If you look at each on board system independently and visualize what will need adjustment, repair or replacement you can start to grasp the concept of preparation for the inevitable. Almost every system on your trawler can be worked on using proper tools. Engines and generators, galley appliances, ground tackle, steering, toilets, various plumbing systems, electrical, etc. Review these one at a time and consult the equipment manual provided to see what is serviceable, what is repairable and which tools you will need to make adjustments and corrections.
Think about all of the project words that apply to performance requirement for Trawler Tools; squeeze, tighten, loosen, adjust, cut, scoop, grab, pinch, plug, saw, screw, unscrew, mold, shave, flex, pound, grip, pry, pull, push, bend, crimp, press, sand, file, slice, extract, force, release, brush…well you get the idea.
Trawlers move around, they roll and vibrate, and running through the water at different speeds in a variety of conditions provides a natural tendency for parts to loosen up.
We hope you enjoy seeing what works for others and welcome your contributions of suggestions, recommendations, favorites and applications so we can expand this discussion. Please feel free to email your ideas to Jeff@JMYS.com and put “Trawler Tools” in the subject line, thank you!