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joyinPNW 01-26-2013 01:49 PM

Where do you keep your owner's manuals/info?
Seems like a dumb question, I know. But, as an organizational junkie I'm wondering what systems other people use to keep all their manuals organized and handy. Notebooks? Filing system? On or off the boat (for those who are weekend sailors/racers)?

When something breaks/malfunctions you want the manuals close by, but I'd like to find a way that minimizes bulk and clutter. Scanning to a digital file seems like a good idea, but time-consuming!

Our new-to-us boat has many more systems, many more books...

Thanks in advance for any ideas!


killarney_sailor 01-26-2013 02:08 PM

We have three binders onboard that contain almost everything, either by punching the manuals or putting smaller ones in sleeves on pages designed for the purpose. Some very large ones we keep separate. Recently we have downloaded a number of manuals and saved them in the iBooks feature on the iPad. That looks like an excellent solution.

HUGOSALT 01-26-2013 04:16 PM

Re: Where do you keep your owner's manuals/info?
When day sailing and close by overnights my owners, service manuals, maintenance and destination notebooks live in cabinet right next to the computer for ease of access and reference.
Some of above has been downloaded to laptop, but don't have
complete confidence so when we go cruising I still bring hard copies. Except for copies of chartplotter/navigation software manuals that stay on boat all the time, as I'm always learning
(hopefully ) to use more features.

HUGOSALT 01-26-2013 04:54 PM

Re: Where do you keep your owner's manuals/info?
Joy, just occurred to me that there is an extensive thread over
at Cruisersforum "onlineshopmanuals" that has all kind of
system manuals. May be way to minimize your bulk and clutter if you have access to wi/fi. Great resource. Not aware of similar here but could be.

PorFin 01-26-2013 05:20 PM

Re: Where do you keep your owner's manuals/info?
Call me old school, but I am more at ease with hard copy manuals. I find them easier to use, and more importantly, not reliant on any other watchamacallit.

That said, I also have a thumb drive that has every single manual I can find in digital format -- far fewer grease stains and other drawbacks involved.

FWIW: I keep all my maintenance records on a digital log; when the day comes when I sell Por Fin, I can drop all the info onto the thumb drive and the next owner will have a much better record of what's been done.

joyinPNW 01-26-2013 07:04 PM

Re: Where do you keep your owner's manuals/info?
Like the Ipad idea-we already use the INavx so putting available manuals there would be prudent. Also-thumb drive for all the maintenance- another great idea. I just downloaded an app called Boating Suite that is pretty nifty-sort of a digital recordkeeping app for boats which you can export, too. But, it also sounds like many of you also keep quite a bit on the boat in notebooks I presume. I'll ck out the online shop manuals over at Cruisers Forum, too.

svHyLyte 01-26-2013 07:29 PM

Re: Where do you keep your owner's manuals/info?
We have a moderate sized plastic filing box (obtained at Staples for $14.00+/-) with copies (or originals) of all of the user manuals/maintenance manuals/operating instructions etc. for all of the equipment on our boat, sub-divided by systems (instruments/electronics/electrical system-components/pumps/heads/galley/etc.) that we keep in a locker under the seat at the navigation table aboard (with matching copies kept at home and in pdf format on our computers at home and aboard). When traveling, we may need the information at hand in a form we can access without the need of electrics etc. "right now". That approach has proven very wise over the last 40+ years.$splssku$


jrd22 01-26-2013 11:10 PM

Re: Where do you keep your owner's manuals/info?
We do the same as HyLyte. Plastic filing box divided into about a dozen sections that was onboard when we bought the boat. All manuals and assorted paperwork from the time the boat was new are in there. It goes in one of the hanging lockers up forward, and I use it all the time.

SolSailor 01-26-2013 11:56 PM

Re: Where do you keep your owner's manuals/info?
iPad all the way!! The search feature alone is worth it's wait in gold and can save tons of time looking through large paper manuals for specific details.

Importing PDF's into iBooks is a nice start and the app is free of course. For a bit more features and $4.99, I recommend and use Goodreader app. This allows for linking with Dropbox for offline storage (and backups) and also allows for advanced editing, such as highlighting and adding notes/diagrams directly on your manual pages. Also organizing manuals into subfolders (but this can be done with iBooks too using multiple libraries).

The only feature it doesn't have that I'm looking into is the ability to take pictures with the ipad camera and add them directly to the manual pages. Wanted to do this a cople times to help me document/remember my particular setup which may be sloghtly different or not illustrated in the original manual. Try that with you hard copy binders (without printing pics of course). I'm thinking PDFPen might be the app I'll switch to, but haven't forked over the $14.99 yet. I've used it on my Mac and love it.

Anyone else using full featured PDF readers/editors on the ipad that I should check out?

Minnewaska 01-27-2013 06:45 AM

Re: Where do you keep your owner's manuals/info?
We have a lot of manuals. Several small plastic filing boxes are our first line of defense. One large box is difficult to find a place to store. One box has the more common systems and the other has manuals for little stuff we probably could get away with tossing. We also keep receipts for things we may need to remember where we purchased, for either spare parts or warranty.

Then I have one plastic accordion folder with the integrated rubber band around it. That contains the manual for the main, genset and dinghy motors, which I reference the most. If I am using another for a bit, I will keep it in there temporarily.

I have found a few manuals on the manufacturers websites and they are easy to download to iBooks on my iPad. However, I agree with the comment that they are not as ergonomically useful as a printed manual, IMO.

I nice compromise is being able to print the few pages I need and then I can get them as greasy or grimy as I like and toss them when done. But, I don't have a printer aboard.

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