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  #1  
Old 06-22-2013
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How old is your boat hook?

In my sailing area there are a lot, and I mean a bunch, of charter boats. The skill set of the captains can vary wildly. I was swapping stories the other day with a friend and the subject of witnessing dropped/bent/lost boat hooks came up. Between the two of us we believe we have collectively seen more than 50 boat hooks prematurely meet the end of their useful life. We then started trying to figure out how old our boat hooks were. Yes, the mind wanders while enjoying rum!!! The two boats I've owned each had a boat hook, or two, on them at time of purchase. I've never actually bought one and if somebody told me my current boat hook was 20 years old, I wouldn't be surprised.

So not only do you remember your first bucket, but do you remember your first boat hook? Mine looked like hell and got caught by a whipping jib sheet but somehow didn't fly off the boat. It was still on the boat when I sold her.

What makes it special? It came with the boat and cost me nothing additional. There is another spare stored below so I don't worry too much about losing it.

Is it fixed length or extendable? Extendable on this boat, fixed on previous.

What are the oddest things you've done with it? Caught a topping lift that was flying around wildly in rough conditions high above the deck. Used it to pole out a genoa on a nearly windless day. Used it to retrieve some sunglasses that fell overboard despite having a neck strap attached in water that was about 8' deeper than I was able to free dive. Snagged the handhold on a dinghy I found floating free and slowly towed it with the boat hook until I could get a temporary painter rigged for proper towing.

What have you used, or seen used, in place of a boat hook? I've seen mops, gaffs, whisker poles, anchors, buckets, fishing gear and an emergency tiller. My all time favorite was watching a guy who dropped his boat hook, chase it down as it drifted away before sinking and then held his young son by the ankles to drop him over the side to grab it. The misses was quite vocal in her displeasure of the entire event. Just when I think I've seen it all...
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Old 06-22-2013
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Re: How old is your boat hook?

Mine too came with my boat so I'm only able to guess at the age. It is an extendable version that I beleve to be ten to fifteen years old.

As to the oddest thing I have done with it? That would have to be when I used it to recover 99 red helium balloons from a tree where they were snared when my daughter released them on her 16th birthday.
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Old 06-23-2013
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Re: How old is your boat hook?

When we purchased this boat, it had only one, so we bought a spare. Hey, they make floating boat hooks, so that seemed like a smart idea.

About a year or two later, we are on a cruise and attempting to grab a mooring in 30 kt winds. It was a long, stressful day and I wasn't familiar with the anchorage to be comfortable on the hook, so we looked for a mooring. It was early season, with no one around. In hindsight, there was plenty of leeway and I should have dropped the hook to test holding.

It was blowing hard enough, that one had to steady themselves to be on the deck. Probably 1 ft fetch in the anchorage too. The shifty winds blow us off the mooring ball in a second. When we approach, my wife grabs the painter with the hook. With anxiety to get the painter under the pulpit and on a cleat before we are blown away, she tosses the hook behind her, like Snoopy emptying his doghouse.

The rear hits the deck first and ricochets back up, only to force the front of the hook to now plunge toward the deck. It only took a back and forth cycle or two until it found the life line that sprung it overboard.

I now know the advantage of the floating hooks is to extend the memory of losing it, while you see it hopelessly float away. While it gets smaller and smaller, you have the opportunity to recall the premium you paid for the floating version. Yes, the next morning, we toured the rocky shoreline it was headed toward, but it was gone.

We bought another one. It's still with us.
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Old 06-23-2013
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Re: How old is your boat hook?

I have one, I DID have two but I am happy with one, nuf said.
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Old 06-23-2013
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Re: How old is your boat hook?

I've one of the telescoping "twist to lock" types. It's ok.. But I wonder if a long strong pole with hook would be better in some cases, especially when it's needed to push!
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Old 06-23-2013
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Re: How old is your boat hook?

I have three boat hooks.

1. Came with the boat - 7 years old, fixed length, fixed nicely in a bracket on the cabin top.

2. West Marine telescoping - 5 years old, has a fitting for Stainless Steel Mooring Hook Kit 5" Clip | C0182-K120 and lives along a grab rail on the cabin top.

3. West Marine fixed - 4 years old, boat show special at $10 v. $25 in the store. Hangs across the pushpit. Gets used more than any other for pushing, pulling, and scooping things out of the water. More than paid for itself getting cushions and fenders lost by others out of the water.
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Old 06-23-2013
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Re: How old is your boat hook?

One old corroded fixed length one was on the boat when we bought it, from the looks of it it may have been with the boat since new ('88). A really nice one (stout, fixed length about 6') washed up on our beach a few years ago and so that's what we have on board now. I mainly use it to retrieve my hat from the water and to pull the transom plug line on the dink when I forget to pull it before raising on the davits.
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Old 06-23-2013
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Re: How old is your boat hook?

I have a West Marine telescoping that came with my boat. Just used it first time today. Shoe slipped off my foot and into the water and had to fish it back out.
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Old 06-23-2013
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Re: How old is your boat hook?

i have multiple gaffs and a boat hook that is about done--came with one or other of my boats and is over a decade old.
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Old 06-23-2013
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Re: How old is your boat hook?

We had a WM telescoping version when we bought the boat, but the twist-to-lock mechanism failed shortly thereafter.

We replaced it with a telescoping paint roller handle -- which is beefier and extends farther than the old WM version. We picked up a nylon screw-on hook and "Abracadabra!" we were back in business. After using it, I think it outperforms the WM version anyway.

Being a fixed income kind of guy, I've still not cracked open the wallet to get a hand-held depth sounder. I use the boat hook instead -- it's marked so I can probe from the dinghy if we're unsure of making it to or out of an anchorage, or to verify dockside depths (which saved our bacon in Grafton IL a few years back.)
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