Boat Knives – Best Sailing Knife Guide

Last Updated on October 4, 2022 by admin

best sailing knife

A sailing knife is one of the most important hand tools that any sailor should own, whether on board your boat or while rigging up your dingy onshore. Designed as a multi-tool in many cases, the best sailing knife is, more often than not, more than just a sharp cutting blade.

In this guide, we will introduce you to the many different features that the best knife for boating may contain. We will also discuss the other aspects that should be considered when shopping for one of these tools for your boat.

Finally, we will provide a snapshot look at some of the top sailor’s knives through reviews of each. In addition to a short description of each knife, we will highlight both the benefits and disadvantages associated with each.

ImageTitleRatingMore Info
best knife for boatingSpyderco Atlantic Salt Serrated Edge Knife
4.7 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
sailing rescue knifeMaxam Sailor’s Tool
4.4 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Camillus Carbonitride Titanium Folding KnifeCamillus Carbonitride Titanium Folding Knife
4.3 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
MYBF300-BRK Generation 2 Captain Pro G-10MYBF300-BRK Generation 2 Captain Pro G-10
4.9 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Davis Instruments Deluxe Rigging KnifeDavis Instruments Deluxe Rigging Knife
4.6 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Gill Marine ToolGill Marine Tool
4.5 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon
Personalized Laser Engraved Survival KnifePersonalized Laser Engraved Survival Knife
4.8 out of 5 stars
buy from Amazon

Considerations When Choosing A Sailors Pocket Knife

A sailing knife is one of the most important tools that any sailor should own, whether onboard a yacht or while rigging up your dingy onshore. The best sailing knives are easy to open, have a comfortable grip, and don’t cost a fortune. The best sailing knives are also versatile and can be used for a number of necessary tasks.

Here is a closer look at the many features that you should consider when looking for the best sailing knife:

Blade Tip

You have two main choices in the category of blade tips. Either it is pointed or blunt. A pointed-tip knife can prove to be dangerous when used in conditions that include wet decks and slippery surfaces.

However, when survival skills are put to the test, a pointed tip knife can provide puncturing power or delicate cutting. Otherwise, a blunt tip is generally a safer option, and depending on the racing events you plan to participate in, may be a requirement.

Blade Lock

The purpose of a blade lock is to hold the knife in the open or closed position, depending on how it is being used. A reliable lock will keep the blade in place preventing injury from accidental closing.

The blade lock can also be a handy feature if you find yourself having to open or close your sailing knife one-handed. Knives that have lever locks are easier to operate and perform opening and closing safer.

Blade Operation

Since we’ve already mentioned single-handed opening and closing of sailing knives, we have to tell you how that can be performed. Most good-quality sailor’s knives have a hole, a pin, or a notched surface where a single finger or thumb can pop the blade open.

It may take a bit of practice to master the single move required. However, knives that do not have this ability may not be as effective when you need them in bad sailing conditions. The decision will be determined by your sailing style and preferences.

Blade Material

There are a few different blade materials used in sailor’s knives. They include cobalt and stainless steel. Cobalt will resist corrosion. Stainless steel can as well, with high-quality stainless steel performing better than cheaper low-quality steel. Carbide blades continue to get harder with use.

Knife Sheath/Belt Clip

First off, not all knives come equipped with either a sheath or belt clip. However, for the ones that do, you may not find them all that comfortable or convenient to wear. Sheaths can be strapped to the outside of wet weather sailing gear and belt clips can be worn on the hip. Your personal preference will determine how you will carry your knife.

Blade Edge

There are three basic types of knife blade edges. They can be straight, serrated, or a mix of both. Serrated edges provide more force but less cutting edge than a straight edge. Straight edge blades with a slight curve allow even pressure throughout a complete stroke with less work.

If you require quick cuts to the rope then a serrated edge may be your best bet. If you are cutting rope and intend to keep the cut clean for whatever reason, a straight edge would do this for you.

Knife Design/Grip

Although you are not likely to be holding your sailing knife for extended periods of time, the design still needs to be comfortable to hold. In addition to comfort, the handle should have a texture or surface that provides a good grip for when you do need to use it. A good grip is especially important for use in wet conditions.

Cutting Ability

We’ve mentioned the different types of sailing knives available and how they differ. What will really pass the test is whether or not the blade can actually cut through rope when it absolutely has to. This has a lot to do with the grip, blade design, and sharpness. We prefer a straight-edge blade with a comfortable sturdy grip, but this can come down to a matter of personal preference.

Other Extras

One thing you need to not get confused about when looking for a good quality sailor’s knife is the added tools and features that come with each type. Other extras that the best sailing knife may incorporate include:

Marlin Spikes

A marlin spike or marlinspike can come in handy and are used to insert into a tight sailing knot to help to undo it. However, it can take up an extra room (adding to the overall size of the boat knife) and add weight, and as such many people prefer not to have this included in their favorite sailing knife. It’s a “nice-to-have” feature (like most of these other extras), but you may not use it that often.

Shackle Key

Depending on the type of sailing you do, a shackle key may come in handy. You can get stand-alone shackle keys, or they can be built into other tools, such as sailing knives. As mentioned above, this will add to the size and weight of your sailing knife but can be handy especially for dinghy and small yacht sailors.


Similar to above, screwdrivers (both flat head and Phillips head) can be built into your boating knife. However, many people find full-size screwdrivers a better option.

Bottle Openers, Corkscrews, Magnifying Glasses, etc

If you are someone that likes to have every tool under the sun on your boating knife, then there are options out there to keep you happy. But for many, these just add to the size and weight and as such, you may want to go without these.

Carefully examine the extras that are built into the multi-tool designs of several of these knives and decide which you can benefit from and which ones you can do without. Shackle keys and a nice firm grip may outrank a pretty design and other extra features you may only use once in a blue moon.

Reviews of Some of The Best Sailing Knives

There are many sailing knives available on the market, and it is hard to know which one is the best. Here is a look at a handful of our favorite sailing knives that are currently available:

Spyderco Atlantic Salt Serrated Edge Knife

best knife for boating

Key Specs

ModelAtlantic Salt
Blade MaterialH1-Steel
Blade Length3.6″
Blade StyleSheepfoot
Overall Length4.59″ – closed
8.25″ – open
Weight2.75 oz
Tools / FeaturesSerrated edge blade, back lock, reversible pocket clip

This boat knife features a blade that was ground from H-1 Japanese steel which gets harder and tougher with use and is resistant to rust. The product is tested for quality and durability and is made by the most trusted name in the cutlery industry.

The knife comes complete with a hollow ground serrated edge blade, and a high-strength back lock mechanism which ensures a secure and safe blade lock up. The handle contains high visibility yellow fiberglass reinforced nylon with a textured pattern to improve grip.

The pocket clip is black and made from titanium and can accommodate left side, right side, and tip-up carrying.


Very sharp and extremely durable
Affordable price
Easy to open one-handed with the 14mm round hole in the blade
Great gripping with the textured handle


Some users find this knife to be too sharp!
An improved locking mechanism could keep the blade in place when closed
best sailing knife

Maxam Sailor’s Tool

sailing rescue knife

Key Specs

ModelSailor’s Tool
Blade Material‎Stainless Steel
Blade StyleSheepfoot
Overall Length3.75″ – closed
6.125″ – open
Tools / FeaturesHoned blade, marlinspike, shackle key, bottle opener, ruler.
Limited lifetime warranty

This could be the best knife for boating. It features a honed blade, spike, bottle opener, stainless steel handle, shackle key, and a double-sided ruler (2-inches on one side and 5-centimeters on the other). All of these items are carefully fitted into a compact and rugged stainless steel body.

It measures 6 1/8-inches when open and 3 ¾-inches when closed. It is called a Sailor’s Tool but it really is useful for much more than just sailing. For example, this tool would be handy for fishing, hunting, or camping as well. Maybe even for one of your do-it-yourself projects.

This sailor’s pocket knife tool comes complete with a limited lifetime warranty.


It has a marlinspike that can assist with untying wet knots
It is compact and contains a bottle opener along with other useful tools
The stainless steel handle keeps this looking like new


The marlinspike may have rough edges on it, they can be ground smooth, if needed
Some users felt this product was too small in their hands when closed
sailing rescue knife

Camillus Carbonitride Titanium Folding Knife

Camillus Carbonitride Titanium Folding Knife

Key Specs

ModelFolding Knife
Blade MaterialVG10 Steel
Blade Length2.75″
Blade StyleSheepfoot
Overall Length6.5″ – open
Weight0.1 kg
Tools / FeaturesLocking blade, marlin spike
Lifetime warranty

This boat knife features a carbonitride titanium non-stick blade constructed from VG10 Japanese steel, which is ten times harder than untreated steel. It will stay sharper longer and will also resist rust, corrosion, and staining.

The handle is made from G10 stainless steel, has a marlin spike and a liner lock. It is lightweight and sturdy.


A strong blade that is very sharp
The marlinspike is a nice added feature
Affordable and lightweight


Some users found this knife to be not very sharp or difficult to cut with
The blade opens too fast for some users
best boat knife

Myerchin Generation 2 Captain Pro G10

sailors pocket knife

Key Specs

ModelGeneration 2 Captain Pro G10
Blade Material‎Stainless Steel
Blade Length3.25″
Blade StyleSheepfoot
Overall Length4.5″ – closed
Tools / FeaturesBlade, marlin spike, lock, shackle slot, pocket clip

Here is a handy sailing rescue knife that includes a shackle slot, a locking marlinspike, and a blade made from German steel. The blade has a standard edge and satin finish. The handle is black and made from G10 stainless steel.

The bolsters are of stainless steel, and it comes complete with a pocket clip. The knife measures 4.5-inches when closed and has a 3.25-inch sheep foot (curved) blade. It includes a black nylon belt sheath.


The blade is razor-sharp right out of the packaging
The one-handed operation can pop the knife open with your thumb
The blade locks when open


There is no lanyard hole in the design
The marlinspike opens easily and locks into place, so be careful
sailors pocket knife

Davis Instruments Deluxe Rigging Knife

best knife for boating

Key Specs

BrandDavis Instruments
ModelDeluxe Rigging Knife
Blade MaterialStainless Steel
Overall Length‎6″ / 15.2 cm
Weight1.76 oz / ‎0.05 kg
Tools / FeaturesSpring-loaded blade, locking marlin spike, screwdriver, shackle key, stainless steel loop (to attach to a lanyard)
1-year limited warranty

This is easily one of the best boat knife options. It features a stainless steel blade, screwdriver, marlin spike, shackle key, housing, and lanyard loop. It is well made and constructed in a compact package that will prove to be both handy and useful.

In fact, this marlin spike pocket knife is durable enough and has enough features to make it effective when used hunting, fishing, hiking, or when you need it at home for a personal project and need a sharp edge or a screwdriver in an instant.


Very sharp blade
Contains a marlinspike that can assist in untangling wet knots
Very reliable performance


Easy to clean but some report that it needs oil applied to keep it from staining
A Flathead screwdriver is actually just a piece at the tip of the knife blade
best knife for boating

Gill Marine Tool

boat knife

Key Specs

ModelMarine Tool
Blade Material420 Stainless Steel
Blade Length70 mm
Blade StyleSerrated
Overall Length95 mm – closed
165 mm – open
Weight‎7.8 oz
Tools / FeaturesSerrated locking blade, marlin spike, shackle key, webbing cutter, spanner, flathead screwdriver, bottle opener

This Sailor’s pocket knife features a serrated blade that is made from Marine Grade 420 stainless steel and has a titanium coating for strength and corrosion resistance. The handle is made from G10 composite and allows for reliable gripping wet or dry.

The knife folds and has a liner lock to prevent accidental closure when in use. Additional features include a shackle key, webbing cutter, spanner, flathead screwdriver, marlinspike, bottle opener, a protective pouch, and belt loop. This knife measures 165millimeters/ 6.5 in open with a 70-millimeter/ 2.76-in blade.


Attractive, easy-to-use knife
Excellent grip
Has a serrated blade edge


The blade may not be sharp enough for rope cutting
The locking mechanism is sometimes unreliable for some users
Marlin spike pocket knife

Personalized Laser Engraved Survival Knife

boat knife

Key Specs

BrandPersonalized Gifts
ModelEngraved Survival Knife
Blade MaterialStainless Steel
Blade Length3″
Blade StylePartially Serrated Edge
Overall Length5″ – closed
8.25″ – open
Weight6 oz
Tools / FeaturesRosewood handle, nylon pouch with belt loop, laser engraved custom message

This is called a survival knife and it features a rosewood handle that you can have laser-etched with a personalized message. The stainless steel blade is bead blasted and has a partly serrated edge.

The knife measures 8¼ inches open and is just 5inches when closed and the blade is 3 inches. It contains added features including a hook knife. The knife comes complete with a belt loop and nylon pouch.


The locking mechanism is solid and works well
You can pop this knife open easily with a single hand
The blade is sharp


As this is made in China, the quality may be less than expected
The engraving idea is nice but takes away from the function according to some users
boat knife


A sailing knife is an essential tool for any sailor. It is an extremely versatile tool that will come in handy for a variety of tasks.

The best sailing knife is the one that you can use easily and is reliable when you need it to perform. Not just any knife will do as the demands of sailing require a specialized tool to address situations that can only occur when boating.

You really want to have the best knife for boating, as anything less can be difficult to use or downright dangerous. Fortunately a number of knife manufacturers have created tools made specifically for sailing. Whether you’re looking for a sailing knife for your dinghy or your ocean-going yacht, we hope that you’ve found the information in this article useful. And hopefully, we have taken away some of the mystery and confusion associated with sailing knives.

Have you got a contender for the best sailing knife? What’s your favorite knife? Please share below…

About Brendan

Brendan has over 30 years experience sailing dinghies, yachts, and windsurfers, but has recently started Laser sailing. "I found it difficult to find all the information that I needed when I started sailing my Laser, and I am sure that others have had the same problem. So I combined all the information I could into this website to help other Laser sailors get the most out of this sport. If you have any questions or comments, let me know... I will get back to you as soon as I can."

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