10 Things under $10 to enhance your cruising lifestyle

My wife, Des, and I have just finished a two-year circumnavigation of the Caribbean Basin. Among the things we learned was that some of the most important things that made our cruising more enjoyable cost less than ten bucks. Here are some of our favorites.

  1. Insulated tumblers Ice is a precious commodity at sea, and so is hot coffee. We used our insulated tumblers for hot coffee in the morning and cold drinks in the afternoon. I could leave a glass of iced tea, go diving for a few lobster for dinner, and come back an hour later to an ice-cold drink. $9.99
  2. Latex gloves Protect your hands when working with chemicals, paint, epoxy, or dirty oil. $8.98 for 100 pair.
  3. Suction-backed clothes hooks These were my wife’s favorite item. We used these handy little units to hang towels in the head, clothes on the back of the cabin door, rain gear in the cockpit. $1.99 for a large; $1.00 for a small.
  4. Microfiber rags These long-lasting, highly absorptive cloths are great for cleaning anything. They are so tough, even muriatic acid won’t damage them. Throw them in the washing machine and re-use. $8.39/doz.
  5. Plastic cable ties We used little ones to tie courtesy flags to a halyard, colored ones to mark depth on our anchor rode, and industrial-sized ones to secure our outboard motor. $3.50-$10/100
  6. Old-fashioned can and bottle opener with a corkscrew In many developing nations you’ll need one for products like canned milk or to crack a cold local brew. Hard to find, but I got one at a garage sale for $.25
  7. Grocery-bag grip This handy device makes it easy to carry 5-10 fully loaded plastic grocery bags in each hand. $5.00
  8. PB Blaster: It will loosen any oxidized fitting. The key is patience. If a nut has been frozen for two years, don’t expect a miracle. The worst jobs may take a few days but let Blaster do its work. $3.75
  9. Muriatic Acid Nothing removes stains on fiberglass as well; rust stains disappear before your eyes, as do many other stains and organic yuck along the water line. You must protect your skin and clothes; be sure to store it so that it won’t leak. $6.50 gallon
  10. Duct Tape Priceless. We used it for temporarily patching dinghy leaks and sealing ports and hatches for storm preparations. $5.97/60 yards

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