Which sentence is correct:
The equipment used for both boats is similar.
The equipment used for both boats are similar.
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Although collective nouns are often used with plural verbs these days, the correct usage is collective noun + single tense verb. How often does one hear "the government hate refugees". It should be "the government hates refugees". Many people mistake the usage, thinking that the collective noun has an understood part of the phrase missing. (the members of) the government hate refugees.
In your case, (the pieces of) equipment used for both boats are similar is the incorrect concept. Hope this makes sense.