We were fortunate to be given instruction manuals for all boat equipment when we purchased Callipygia, whose previous owner kept them in some large ziplock bags. However, we found that we were constantly sorting through the bags trying to find a particular set of instructions so we reorganized the way they were stored. Here's what we did, and we found it worked really well.
We sorted the instructions by topic under numbered tabs in two very fat 3-ring binders. Then we put a hand written table-of-contents at the front of each binder showing what was under each tab in both binders. The topics we used were: Dinghy, Electrical, Electronics, Galley, Ground Tackle, Hull and Deck, Plumbing, Rigging, Ground Tackle, Safety, Sails, and Miscellaneous.
Under each tab was one or more plastic see-through sleeves into which were inserted the various equipment instruction papers as applicable. This was done because it wasn't possible to punch holes in all of the instruction material--although some of the instruction pages had to be trimmed a bit to fit into the sleeves. Also, having them in plastice sleeves made it easy to extract the desired pages and keep them from getting wet or more dog-eared than necessary.
The very last tab in the second binder volume had several sleeves in which were assembled all the little bits of instructions that came with various miscellaneous equipment items such as binoculars, pumps, fabric, smoke alarm, timer, tools, windscoop, grommet tool, etc., etc. When an instruction item was added to one of these miscellaneous sleeves, it was added to a page, listing all the items inside that sleeve, which was kept right inside the front of that sleeve.
The two fat equipment instruction binders were kept together on a shelf beside the nav station and contained instructions for all equipment on the boat except as follows:
This organization for equipment instructions worked very well for us, since it meant we could find stuff quickly and easily. The plastic sleeve system allowed us to quickly pull papers out of the binders without constantly having to open and close the rings. Some days it seemed we were looking for help (and usually finding it) in these manuals five or six times and so easy access was crucial to keep ourselves sane.
Copyright 2005 The Trouser Rollers. All Rights Reserved.