A good cutting board not only protects your counter top, it also won’t dull your knife and will resist food contamination that can lead to food poisoning. For use on a boat, I’ll add one more criteria: not slipping on the counter with the motion of the boat.
Over the years both on board and ashore, I’ve had several cutting boards and my favorite — by far — is the OXO Good Grips Cutting Board.
Before buying any cutting board, be sure to measure your counter space — galley counters don’t have a “standard” depth and you want to make sure that your board will fit on the counter you intend to use it on. Also make sure that it will fit into your sink for washing. I like to get as large a board as will fit on my counter to have the largest possible work surface.
If you don’t have a separate fish cleaning station and will use your cutting board to fillet fish on deck (as we did), also make sure it will fit in the intended area — or get a second board (our solution as Dave would often still be filleting a fish as I was prepping other items). The board in the photo at right is with a board that does slip on the deck — and Dave didn’t like it too well (although it’s always a good day when the fish is larger than your board)!
So why do I like the OXO boards over others?
- The polypropylene surface is nonporous, so food juices can’t penetrate and bacteria won’t grow inside.
- The polypropylene surface won’t dull knives, like some hard plastic and tempered glass boards do.
- It doesn’t retain odors of things like onions and garlic.
- The colored ends are made of soft rubber, which make the board nonslip. This is a HUGE factor on a boat whether underway, in a rolly anchorage, or just somewhere that other boats (or jet skis) come by and kick up a wake. This is what makes the OXO boards vastly superior to other polypropylene boards.
- The board is double-sided: one side has a “juice groove” to catch meat juices so they don’t go on the counter top and the other side is smooth for other items. If you always cut meat on the meat side and other items on the other side, you can lessen the chance of food poisoning due to cross contamination.
I also wipe down the meat side with a bit of bleach after using it (read about disinfecting with bleach).
The OXO Good Grips boards come in three sizes, each half the size of the next one larger, and two colors on the ends:
Even if you choose a different option, get in the habit of always using a cutting board onboard — if you cut items in your hand (as my mother did her entire life) and the boat moves, you’re really likely to cut yourself. Good knives are meant to be used with a cutting board no matter where you are!