The Captain's Blog

13 Tips For Organizing And Decluttering Your Boat

May 14, 2018 by Michael Kiel

There is a saying among boaters that any item not used within two weeks is likely unnecessary. When decluttering your boat, these should be the first items to go. Of course, we all know it is impossible to “deep six” every piece of boating gear — some things you just have to have on board!

In cases like these, you should consider items that serve double duty and can help keep your decks clear and functional. Here are a few tips as well as a selection of products that will help keep your boat from going overboard with clutter:

  1. Keep an inventory of your gear. Be sure to inventory your boat gear yearly and remove any items that you do not use regularly or that are redundant.
  2. Utilize dock boxes. A dock box can quickly and easily stow large gear that you do not need every time you go out on the boat. These come in various shapes and sizes to fit any space, and some even double as waterside loungers.

    dock box decluttering and organizing boat
    Photo Credit: Dock Boxes Unlimited
  3. Use your vertical space to your advantage. Install cargo netting along the interior walls of your boat above the main deck and/or in the cabin. Cargo netting is cheap, versatile, lightweight, and simple to install and adjust.
  4. Got junk? If your helm console resembles the “junk drawer” in your kitchen at home, consider getting a helm organizer to help keep your VHF radio, cell phone, sunglasses, and other items orderly and secure.

    helm decluttering and organizing your boat
  5. You can use items found in your kitchen. Place smaller tools, fishing tackle and gear items in Ziploc storage bags before putting them into lockers or drawers. This will help keep the contents separate, dry, and visible.
  6. There is a lot of unused space hiding out under your boat’s deck. Beckson Marine makes Stow-Away Deck Plates that have small drawstring bags attached to hold things like winches and wallets. The bags can be removed for carrying on shore.
  7. Make basic boat cleaning more efficient. Shurhold’s One-Handle-Does-It-All System fits more than 40 different attachment heads. These items will easily store in consoles, under the deck, or in your dock box.
  8. Hang your hooks and mops. Aftermarket accessories like Beckson’s Clipper Molded Holding Clips and Soft-Mate Equipment Holders are great for holding various boat items like boat hooks and mops while keeping them close at hand.
  9. Get an "all-in-one" tool. The Snap-Tool Multi-Key from Davis Instruments is a boaters’ Swiss Army Knife, combining a dozen separate tools into a single stainless-steel piece. Use it as a deck plate key, zipper puller, hex wrench, screwdriver, scraper, bottle opener, and more.
  10. Again, double duty is key here. Accon Marine saves gunwale space by combining a flush-mount rod holder and cleat in a single, compact unit. 
  11. Love to fish but do not have space for all your favorite lures? Install a flush-mounted tackle drawer to eliminate tackle boxes on deck. Additionally, you can plumb a watertight locker or baitwell in the deck to eliminate coolers and buckets in the cockpit.
    fishing tackle drawers decluttering and organizing your boat
    Photo Credit: Boat Outfitters
  12. Collapsible products make easy stow-aways. Attwood’s portable landing net features a collapsible hoop and a telescoping handle that allows it to be easily stowed between uses.
  13. Keep items tucked away until you need them. Fortress Marine offers Stowaway Bags for its popular folding anchors, so you can disassemble and store your ground tackle out of the way until you need it.

If you have a clever onboard storage solution or product, please share it with us so we can pass it along!

Michael Kiel