On my schooner, Bonnie Lynn, we always carry two wooden boat hooks, one of which is 10 feet long with a groove routed into the handle on the same side as the stainless-steel hook (see illustration). That way, regardless of visibility, as soon as it is in hand you know which side the hook is on. Each end is painted gloss white to help with visibility, and a white band marks our boat's draft. Oak or ash closet poles, usually 1 5/16-inches in diameter and up to 96 inches long, are available from building outlets. Select one that is straight-grained and knot free.