The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

The Indispensables — The Canvas Bucket

Rob Murray

Beneteau First 435 Sloop
May 21st, 2017

A cruiser we met in a marina in Oregon commented that the two most useful items on a boat are a bucket and a towel. He may or may not be right, but I would add that the most useful bucket is one made of canvas. We use ours as:

  • A means to fetch seawater onto the deck (for washing, rinsing, sluicing the deck, cleaning the anchor, etc.).
  • A dumb waiter when on the hard to move things from the ground to the deck.
  • An elevator to fetch parts and tools up and down the mast when working aloft.
  • A “shopping basket” for seafood we harvest (clams, oysters, small fish, etc.).
  • Filled with ice, a wine and beer chiller.
  • A universal carryall for moving tools, supplies or parts around the boat for projects.
  • An always-handy mini-drogue. 😉

The style with handles top and bottom is handy, as the bottom handle helps you dump it faster and allows the use of a downhaul when using it aloft.

You need to care for your bucket, it loves fresh air and sunlight. If stored in a dark locker while damp, it will quickly mildew and rot. We store ours on deck, upended on our stern anchor and secured to a lifeline with a clove hitch, where it is always handy for use and can dry between deployments.

The lanyard is a 25′-ish piece of 1/2 inch three strand, with a monkeys fist at one end and an eye spice at the other end. The eye spice is sized such that the monkeys fist will pass through it, so the lanyard can be removed when not required. While 1/2 inch is oversized for any load we might see, it is gentler on the hands. When dipping water from the ocean, it is always secured to the boat so it will not get lost to the deep.


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