Preview: Buckets, Bailers, and Stretchers

Buckets, bailers, stretchers: The humble stuff that generally hides beneath the boating radar until needed; then you really need them.

L. Francis Herreshoff wrote so eloquently about the cedar bucket that I can’t compare i with the rubber hoof-proof agricultural bucket I use these days—which certainly doesn’t have the smell, the look, or the feel of cedar. And it doesn’t float. But if you hacksaw off the handle and replace it with rope, it will not ding or dent your boat. Add a lanyard to it and, if you think you might accidentally drop it overboard, tie a pot buoy on the end of the lanyard. When not in use for its primary purpose as a portable head, it makes a fine place to stow a small boat’s Bruce-type anchor and its rode.

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10 Responses So Far to “Buckets, Bailers, and Stretchers

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    brendan kinnane says:

    does anyone have a source for a canvas bucket?

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    Greg Mactye says:

    As far as plastic bailing buckets go, my favorite are not the old standby Clorox bottles, but the square Ice Tea bottles which have been sold for a number of years in the supermarket. Their flat face fits against the floorboards and scoops up more water at a time than the round size. But I do like the idea of the leather and wood bailer which Mr. Fuller mentions. That is a classy piece of kit.

    Fair winds and following seas, all;


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      Ben Fuller says:

      Just finished a winter of keeping the dory clear of snow and ice. A small rubber dustpan worked for ice chunks and the leather bailer for briny bits and water. One of the nice things about hte leather and wood one is that there were a couple of times it slipped out of my hand, and I just reached over and plucked it out of the drink. Clorox bailers would have broken. As Greg notes a better source for plastic round ones are heavier gauge bottles that package some teas and upmarket sports drinks. These can be had round or flat.

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    David Jeffery says:

    I just bought a rubber bucket from an online store specializing in tack items for horses. The bucket is flexible, and one section is flat. That should make bailing easier, since the bucket can go lower in the hull to accept water. It should also reduce the rolling around in the bottom that a completely tapered cylindrical bucket will do. Remains to be proven, though.

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    Brian Crow says:

    We use 2 gallon pickle relish buckets that I get free from the local hotdog stand (I always buy a hotdog or two before asking for them). The owner of the stand always washes them and also provides the lid. We use them aboard our 32′ cutter as do everything buckets, and also in our 17′ dory, and around the year as water buckets for the dog. Being much smaller than the 5 gallon buckets, they are easier to drop over the side for the seawater washdowns I give my 77 year old boat, or should I say much easier to bring back up…

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    Michael Naumann says:

    If you start to think about varieties of buckets when you need them, you have other problems. Avoid them first time around.

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    Isaac Stephenson says:

    No more efffective bilge pump than a human and a bucket!

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    Clint Chase says:

    I use the stretcher idea: an adjustable length of low stretch line made fast to a piece of oak at the other end. Makes a great stretcher for my floorboard-less, frame challenged Goat Island Skiff.

    For bailing, my pee bucket and a bilge pump seem to be enough and slightly classier than a cut off bottle, but not even close to a cedar bucket. A cedar stave bucket is on my list of classy projects for my rowboats.