Spring Boating Gear Refresh - Sailors for the Sea

Spring Boating Gear Refresh

 March 14, 2023  | By: Jennifer Brett

Replacing hardware on your boat? Bring the items to a marine consignment store, or even keep the old ones as spares (you never know when you might need them!).

Spring is in the air in the northern climes, and launch days are approaching! Over the off season, you may have collected a few new pieces of gear or hardware for the boat. But what to do with the old gear? Let’s take a look at some items that could have a second life:

Old Electronics and Hardware

If you bought new electronics for your boat, such as a VHF radio, chartplotter, or autopilot, you may be wondering what to do with the old ones. If the old item still works, consider selling it either through a local marine consignment store, online, or even just put up a flyer at your local marina or sailing club. If the item doesn’t work anymore, or is too outdated to sell, you can send it to an electronics recycler, or in some cases, back to the manufacturer (Garmin, Raymarine). Many locales throughout the United States offer electronic waste collection days – check with your town to learn more. Find out more about electronic recycling here. Before selling or recycling, be sure to wipe any personal data that might be on it and do a factory reset, if applicable.

Replacing some hardware? If your old cleats, line clutches, blocks and winches are still in working condition, consider keeping some as spares. Marine consignment stores and marina swap meets are also great places to offload old gear.

Foul Weather Gear and Sailing Clothing

If you’re sporting a new jacket or bibs this season, don’t toss your old set! If the item is still in useable condition, try selling it or donating it – or even keep it stashed to have on hand for splashy dinghy rides for guests. Spring is also the perfect time to arrange a swap meet at your marina, yacht club or sailing center.

If your old foul weather gear isn’t quite as waterproof anymore, check with the manufacturer for care instructions. Some waterproof finishes can be reactivated in a dryer on low heat, and most manufacturers will have recommendations and products to both wash and re-waterproof your gear. Have a zipper that no longer zips? Check the original warranty, as many foul weather gear manufacturers have good warranty coverage on their products that may include repairs.

When the gear is past its useful life, there are still options to keep it out of the landfill. Some manufacturers, such as Patagonia and The North Face will take your old items and either refurbish and resell them, or recycle them. General textile recycling is also available in many locations. Check with your municipality, or your local Goodwill. Alternatively, if you’re feeling crafty, try using old foul weather gear to make a boat tote!

If you are in the market for new technical clothing such as rash guards, sun protective clothing or foul weather gear, look for items that are made with recycled materials, such as Gill Marine’s popular OS2 line, and many of Helly Hansen’s items as well.


Have a locker full of old sails? There are plenty of places to donate them, or if you’re feeling crafty, ways to repurpose them!

When the time comes for a new suit of sails, there are several options for your old ones that will keep them out of the landfill. If the sails still have some value, consider consigning them through a local sailmaker or marine consignment store, or selling them directly. If you prefer to donate the sails, check with a local community sailing center or junior sailing program to see if they might have a need for them. Alternatively, if you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can make totes with the sail material, or even fashion a cool nautical sun shade for your patio. Or leave it to the professionals and donate it to a company that will make bags and other gear out of it – you’ll often receive a bag in trade! Some options are SeaBags, Hoist Away Bags, and Harbor Sports Gear.

Safety Gear

Have a pile of PFDs that your kids have outgrown, or you just don’t have a need for anymore? As long as the PFDs are still in good condition, check with your local sailing center to see if they have a need or donate them to the Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner program.

These suggestions are not meant to be an exhaustive list, but more as a starting point with an ultimate goal of keeping sailing gear out of landfills. Even more ideas can be found in our Green Boating Guide. Do you have any suggestions to add to the list? Share them!