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Knives are essential on any boat – be it a dinghy, a motorboat or a sailboat.  I refer to them in the plural as there are many kinds of knives, each one suitable for a specific purpose, not least safety. Of course, this article does not talk about kitchen knives but sailing knives, sea salt resistant to prevent blade rust, exclusively in stainless steel and having a comfortable and ergonomic grip.

When choosing sailing knives make sure they suit the type of boat as well as activities and applications carried out on board. As an example, if the boat owner loves diving, a diver’s knife on board is a must. The same as a skipper’s knife on a sailboat.

When it comes to safety, having the right knife in the right place may give you a life-saving solution. Make sure you have a serrated knife in the cockpit or in an easily accessible place and make sure all crew members know about that. Sailing knives are useful in a variety of situations e.g. when a rope must be cut in no time such as when a fouled halyard do not let you drop a spinnaker, which may be dangerous in case of strong wind.  Or when cutting a mooring line or a tender line is necessary to avoid possible risks. 

However, the cockpit is not the only place where to keep a knife at hand. Also the anchor well is a perfect place for a second serrated knife, even a small one. This is useful to free the hull from the chain in just a few seconds by cutting the fastening rope. Once these two boat areas have been provided with a serrated knife, you are free to choose other places where to store useful and/or necessary knives.

Sailboats cannot do without a so-called skipper’s knife. Many versions are available on the market. It is small, to be held in a pocket or hung to a belt, folding and therefore handy. It comes equipped with serrated blade for rope cutting, spike and shackle key, very useful to loosen knots and open shackles. Here is a very good one: SS sailing knife with plastic grip (osculati.com) .

Then the so-called boatswain’s knife: sturdy blade, ergonomic grip, multipurpose on board including kitchen use. Often it comes with spiker and shackle key, like this one: Knife + spike, leather cover (osculati.com).

Skipper’s knives are usually provided with special blades for sheets, halyards and mooring lines. There are, however, dedicated “line cutters” whose clamp system ensures highest strength and performances. They come with serrated blades suitable to easily cut both thick ropes and fishing nets. Usually made of nylon or similar materials, they are light-weighted, room-saving and can be hung everywhere on board.

Finally on this subject, a word must be spent on traditional multipurpose tools like this Multipurpose pliers (osculati.com). Practical and versatile, it comes with pliers, straight or serrated blades, screwdriver, corkscrew and spike to meet any possible need.

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