Seven Tips for Expertly Organizing Your Boat Gear

Organization is an important part of life — particularly for recreational boaters who want to keep things in tip top shape aboard their vessel both on and off the water. 

For one, it’s an important safety measure to neatly stow away belongings so you can make sure nothing is underfoot when you’ve got others onboard or the waters get choppy. It will also ensure the long-term cleanliness of the boat, which then helps to keep the boat in pristine condition for a much longer timeframe. 

But most importantly, keeping your boat gear organized allows you to quickly and easily locate essential items! When you have a reliable organization system in place on deck, it’s smooth sailing from start to finish.  

Tips for organizing and storing your boat gear

Here are seven simple steps you can take to expertly organize your boat gear on your watercraft, no matter its size.

Number One: Make an inventory list

Step one is easier than it sounds: determine what items you’ll need easy access to at all times — and what can be stored more permanently either on or off the boat. 

For example, there are some items — namely safety equipment — that need to be stored in arms-reach in case of emergency. You don’t want to be scrambling to find the life preserver or lifebuoy if someone accidentally falls overboard!

Similarly, you should store all navigational tools — including manual compasses and backup charts, etc. — near the cockpit. 

Other, less important items — such as recreational gear and leisure activities — can be stored below deck or in a contained area like under the seats. 

Number Two: Physically remove unnecessary items

Once you’ve made an inventory list of everything you’re currently storing on your boat and where it’s currently located, do a little extra work to identify items that are taking up precious space, and consider moving them to a storage spot on land when not in use. 

Dock boxes make for great storage solutions because they’re near the boat before you take off, making it easy to grab anything you may need specifically that day. They will also protect your gear from the elements — so if a passenger doesn’t want to take their bag or electronics out on the open water, you can store these items in the locked box for safekeeping!

Number Three: Utilize vertical space when possible

A great space-saving solution for smaller boats with less built-in storage space is to make use of any vertical areas that are out of the way. You can easily install cargo netting, bungee cords, or hammocks, securing items like shoes and clothing in a discreet way. You can even store things on the ceiling with proper netting!

Number Four: Optimize space below deck

If you have multiple levels onboard, optimize any extra space below deck. A few ideas for really getting the most out of the space are:

  • Add a wood panel across a window for secure storage space on the galley’s window sill. 
  • Use command strips to hang extra tools on the inside of cabinets so they’re easy to locate and stay in place. 
  • Invest in vacuum storage bags for extra bedding and clothing items so they fit seamlessly under beds and in closets. 
  • Invest in a portable, stowable table so it can be used both below and up on deck. 
  • If there are accessible stairs, add in-stair drawers for extra hidden space. 

Number Five: Use collapsible items when possible

Collapsible items like fabric bins that pack down when not in use are easy to stow away — so opt for space-saving & multi-use products wherever you can. Items with telescoping handles will minimize their footprint on board, as will fabric or deflatable items.  

Also, think about how many functions an item will serve — and opt for ones that can be used in a variety of different ways. Handy “10-in-1” tools are awesome gifts for boat enthusiasts for this very reason!

Number Six: Secure items at all times

As we mentioned before, safety and stuff are two things that need to go hand in hand for everyone to have a good day out on the boat! Securing loose items such as coolers, snacks, shoes, towels, etc., is something that should be practiced regularly. 

Don’t keep tripping over those same pesky things — secure them in an area that makes them easy to grab and go without all the hassle!

Number Seven: In the end, less is more

No matter how big or small your boat is, space will always be fairly limited. That’s why it’s important to be selective about what makes it onboard! The less stuff you have floating around the boat, the safer both you and your passengers will be. Plus, you can always pack additional items day-of depending on what the day’s activities will consist of!

If it’s helpful, schedule a day for extensive cleaning of your vessel and dedicate part of your time to updating your inventory list and removing unnecessary items that may have snuck onto the boat over time. Just like your regularly scheduled maintenance routine, cleaning and organizing your boat gear will keep things running smoothly all year long. 

About Morningstar Marinas

Here at Morningstar Marinas, we’re proud to have created a community of boaters who come together to enjoy life on and off the water. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is always here to give you a hand with anything you might need. With our comprehensive clubhouse facilities and marina amenities, Morningstar Marinas is more than just a place to store your boat: it’s an entire boating experience that you won’t soon forget!