Gear Storage

Lately, I have received a number of e-mails asking where I put everything on the boat.  What do I use the cabin shelves for?  Where do I put my gas tank?  How do I keep everything from sliding around?  Well, I'll tell you.  There are some different types of grease that are labeled "waterproof" and the lesser "water resistant."  I have come to grips with the fact that Orion is more water resistant than waterproof, and therefore, I take extra precautions to make sure nothing gets wet by laying in the bilge either inside in the cabin or underneath the cockpit hatches. 

Let me show you in pictures how I have arranged Orion.  I'll take you all around the boat starting in the cabin.

Inside the Cabin


  • Port gear hammock: three life jackets
  • Starboard gear hammock: three fenders
  • Asymmetrical spinnaker in sailbag
  • Whisker pole (tucked underneath starboard gear hammock)
  • Porta-potti (when cruising; otherwise I leave it out and keep my "easy chair" there)

Shelves under portlights

  • Extra line
  • Leatherman tool
  • Paper towels
  • Extra seizing wire
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Signal horn
  • Glasses case
  • Other small items

In the sink (covered)

  • Small bits of garbage to be thrown away later

Starboard bulkhead

  • Magazines & books
  • 8.5 X 11" laminated charts
  • VHF handheld radio

Port bulkhead

  • Weems and Plath weather station (temperature, barometer, humidity)
  • Binoculars
  • Handheld compass/wind meter


  • Gill cargo bag (containing spare clothes and foul weather gear)
  • Anchor basket
  • Mainsail cover (when underway)
  • Plastic box with battery-operated running lights and assortment of extra batteries

In the Cockpit

Starboard locker

  • 1-gallon gas can
  • Small red bucket with scrub brushes and bilge pump
  • Larger white bucket with cockpit and front hatch mosquito netting, extra line, hose and secondary bow emergency navigation light

Port locker

  • Dock and extra anchor lines
  • Hatchboards in bag on quarterberth (when underway)


  • Extra line
  • Flares
  • Extra cleaning supplies

There are several items I choose to take with me only when I need them, like a 3-gallon gas tank.  Because my 4-stroke outboard only sips at the gas, I take advantage of its small internal tank to get me through the bridges and back.  When I go on long trips, I'll bring it with me and keep it in the cockpit, but most of the time it stays out of the boat.  This keeps the weight down and the gas smell out of the cabin.  I also leave the porta-potti at home; I like to keep as much heavy stuff out of the boat as possible without compromising safety.

Finding places to put all the stuff you need can actually be fun and very rewarding when you find the perfect spot to put something.  I think I've done pretty well with Orion; nothing slips around when underway or falls into a wet bilge. 

I hope this provides inspiration in your own endeavors to find proper storage for your gear!