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Delivery captains likely deal with this situation on a regular basis, and we soon will be too. Assuming that you’re flying somewhere to pick up a boat and move it some substantial distance, what do you pack in your bag, knowing of course that you can’t trust that everything you want will actually be on the boat in question, or be functioning properly if it is there?

Post your answers in the comments on this post.


  1. Ohhh, it’s been too long since I thought about this …

    Inflatable PFD w/harness
    Portable GPS + batteries
    Flashlight + batteries
    Multi-tool/rigging knife
    Voltmeter + batteries
    Rigging tape
    maybe a compact set of tools (screwdrivers, metric ratchets, etc.)

    Glucometer + batteries + testing strips
    Insulin + cooler
    Spare insulin pump + batteries
    Infusion sets

  2. I would add to some of the above. A dry suit (depending on region),a personal EPIRB, sat phone and a IR Temp sensor.

  3. Headlamp – in case you have to work on an engine in a dark space
    Paper charts of the intended sailing area

    Remember you also have to consider that you can’t carry certain tools through airport security. You may need to check this bag as luggage or consider buying some items after you get off the plane.

    Also – this checklist may be useful as well:

    And this:

  4. Can’t I just pack a Mike and Rebecca? Just need a bigger bag.

  5. Is this your next venture? Delivery Captain?
    Always have a “Ditch Bag” Ready..

  6. A cellular iPad (cellular for hardware GPS internal) with all charts pre-loaded for the area of travel. For any area touching the Bahamas, I’d only consider apps with Explorer charts – Garmin or Jeppesen.

    Even if the boat being delivered has a working electronic navigation system, using a system you’re familiar with will provide much more comfort and safety especially if conditions deteriorate. A RAM mount with a large suction cup will provide a proper, portable mounting solution. Various charging/external battery backups should be considered as well.

    The other electronic thing I wouldn’t leave without is a DeLorme inReach with a full message plan. That will provide global, satellite tracking with full two-way messaging. This device doesn’t’ replace an EPIRB but provides personal tracking with incredible messaging side-benefits. It’s especially nice if the owner isn’t onboard too since it gives them the ability to watch your delivery progress back home on various websites.

  7. Duct Tape & PB Blaster to stick the unstuck and free the stuck.

  8. When we brought our PDQ home I had every tool imaginable… except that the only thing we really needed were new batteries. While the batteries looked OK and tested OK, they didn’t hold beans for charge and we did most of the 2-day trip with very limited electricity.

    We ended up coming into the marina under sail; no way to start the engines.


    Much depends on what you know is already on the boat. I would add…

    * Rope. In our case, the PO had never used a bridle to anchor (a lot of marinas, I think), which was a surprise when we stopped for the night.
    * A few snatch blocks. Good for solving problems.
    * Parachute cord. We had a shackle blow–cord fits all sizes.

  9. Duct tape and rum.

  10. a) Enough time to find out if you need b.
    b) Money for the return flight. In case the delivery object turn out to be to big of a risk.

    Saying “No thanks, that is not what we have bargained for.” is much easier when you have other options. Also vastly easier than finding out the hard way.

    Yes, you are buying, not doing delivery work. That only increases the importance of taking a good look yourself before spending major money.

  11. Mike, if you are talking about returning with the Amel from St Lucia to Grenada,it’s only a 24 hour sail, personally I would physically check the boat out myself before appointing a surveyor to give his professional opinion on its sea worthy condition and value, once all boxes are ticked and you know the boats shortcomings you can plan the sail back from St Lucia accordingly.

    • I get that Richard. As you probably know, we have done that trip several times. The post was really meant to be a LOT more general, as in, what would you really travel with to pick up a boat. 🙂

  12. Good question! additions: zip ties, assorted fuses, rescue tape, a few hose clamps, a couple soft shackles.

  13. Only thing that broke on my 2 deliveries of my boat – was the charging cord for my android phone – the other 2 guys were luddites and did not have cell phones – so I could not call and check on with people I trusted for progress – especially since while my ais was working – it was not showing up on marine

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