Sea Bag

Hello Fellow Mariners,

I am currently in school getting my QMED Any Rating, I am about to head out on my internship and was wondering what are the necessities that you pack every time you head out to sea. Whether is be pertaining to work ( wrenches, gloves, hearing protection, tools, ect.) or other things (iPad, laptop, books, ect.)


Search function will help you out on this

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Two flashlights and a headlamp, both of which use common batteries. An awareness that most ships are 220V/60hz with the European style plugs if you’re going deep sea.

Seattle Central?

The ship will make a difference but…

The following should considered a minimum

At least one pair of safety boots

10 pairs work socks

5 pairs work pants

10 long sleeve work shirts

Watch cap

Sun hat

3 hoodies

heavy work jacket

2 explosion proof/water proof flash lights

2 pairs jeans

2 shirts

ALL of your papers (z-card Twic Passport ect)

enough of any prescription medicine to last 20 days longer than your trip

Note book

personal toiletries (though you can buy some in the slop chest)

1 pair sneakers

1 pair flip flops


sun glasses

Folding knife

multi tool

Channel locks

8" crescent wrench ( I carry an Bahco 31 and a 33H, but those are spendy and I doubt you’ll really need the wheel wrench attachment on the 33H)

Your laptop

headphones for your laptop

Good Luck!

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A knife and a flashlight. If you need anything else you’re in the wrong profession.

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Don’t have to worry about it too much right now, but come winter depending on where you end up, having some good insulated work gloves and ice cleats are essential. I recommend the ‘ice trekker’ cleats that snug up externally on your boots.

Being an engineer on a tug your foul weather gear is critical. A tug engineer spends time on deck…on a ship maybe not so much.

This might help a little-


This may seem obvious but here’s my two cents: I start loading my sea bag 2 or 3 days before leaving the house with bulk and weight in mind. Most of what I pack is a no brainer, essential clothing, knife, flashlight and paper charts in addition to all my portable electronic navigation wizardry. It eventually becomes automatic.
Once that’s out of the way, the thought I keep in mind is that once I climb the gangway, whatever I don’t have with me, for all practical purposes, will not exist and therefore have the potential to impact my wellbeing.
I don’t normally have much time to read but I love to do so when time permits so for me, good books are essential. In your case, getting started, you might want to bring technical manuals to study.
Good luck to you.
PS. Roll, don’t fold.


Yes, Seattle Maritime Academy technically!

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A few light sheets and some bedding so you don’t have to sleep in someone elses jizz stains.
Slide sandals for shower.


I bought a pair of Howard Leight brand earmuffs that you can plug into an MP3 player for hearing protection + ability to listen to some bangers while you wrench on the mains.

Get a multi-tool, a sheath knife, and a flashlight with holster, keep 'em all on your belt always.

Love my X-tra Tuff insulated steel-toed boots, with an extra orthopedic insert. Standing on steel decks all day does a number on your feet. Redwing and Danner also make good boots.

Get some Grundens foulies, and some merino wool clothes to wear under them. You can find the latter cheap at most thrift stores. I also love my Grundens sea-bag, but you really only need a big backpack.

Never leave home without my Kindle.

I also keep a personal locator beacon on me. I’ve never had to use it, but if/when I do, it will be the best $250 I’ve ever spent.

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What ship?

Find out what kind of knife your company approves of. Some companies will not allow fixed blade.

I have a Bahco but now I leave it at home. It’s just more bulk in my pocket. I use the ship’s tools. A good flashlight and a backup are a must and Streamlight makes some nice rechargeables. You recharge them with a USB cable. Get a couple now before the tariffs make the price go up

I don’t know yet, im hoping to find out my internship in the next few weeks.

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Besides for bringing the Grundens, do not loan them to ANYONE for ANY REASON. You will be sent out on deck in a deluge to fix something 10 seconds after you loan out your jacket.

You bring your own charts? What is that all about?


I’ve been retired from the commercial side for several years but I still do private yacht deliveries.
I like large scale paper charts for overview in the planning stage. Most of these boats rely on ENCs but I bring the paper charts for backup in case the shite hits the fan.
It’s not uncommon for stirred up sediment in the fuel tank to end up clogging the fuel filters on those that haven’t been run in a while so I don’t leave the dock without spares on board.
I don’t take anything for granted on unfamiliar boats and redundancy is my best friend.


Great thread idea.

What of those who Cook and are always in the galley ?

One of my extra skills I’ve picked up along the way is barbering.
I have an electric clipper set and battery powered beard sideburns trimmer so I could cut hair.

Any other tools the company doesn’t supply that you carry on and wouldn’t be without ?

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Buy a little container that hangs from your belt that holds hearing protection. Get the ear plugs that are connected by a string. Bring several with you. They’re cheap. That way you will never be without it when you need it. (I wish I had done that when I started out.)

Rechargeable batteries.

Buy the cheapest watch you can find. It’ll get scratched up. It’s safer to hang the cheap watch on your belt so something won’t catch your wrist. The fancy health watches will break.

Bring several sets of the cheapest sunglasses you can find. Toss them when they get paint, solvents or scratched up.

Bring your old sox and underwear. Toss them out before going home. If you don’t wear a uniform bring your old clothes to the ship and toss those afterwards, too.

Consider a canvas sea bag you can roll up and put in a drawer. Some ships don’t have much room for luggage. Or a sea bag and a medium size suite case.

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