10 Things That Make Galley Life Better

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2013 • all rights reserved

Ten things that have made cooking in the boat galley a lot easier -- from not lugging water to ventilation to kitchen tools and pans.

I’m often asked about what I think are “the best” things for the galley. I wrote this a couple of years ago, and all still stand as long-term things that just make it better. And of course, it’s no longer ten but twelve . . .

While I’ve given a quick description of why I love each of these, each item is linked to a full post where I discuss it in greater detail.

  1. Water filter — having great-tasting water from the tanks instead of buying, schlepping and storing bottled water:  priceless.  And a lot less trash to deal with!
  2. 4-Way Windscoop — if you’re in a hot climate, ventilation is key for keeping the galley cool and moving cooking smells out of the boat.  And a 4-way (omnidirectional) wind scoop is one of the truly great things I found — it really does do a better job than the “regular” ones.
  3. Caframo fans — and lots of them.  Admittedly, we were in a very hot climate, but we had 8 Caframo fans (plus spares) on a 37-foot boat.  These really contributed to being able to “cook as usual,” including baking, when it was hot out.  Putting one in the head was a stroke of genius (yeah, that’s not galley . . .).
  4. Scrubr dish cloths — they never, ever get stinky and they get dishes clean.  Need I say more?
  5. Baking stone — most boat ovens have hot spots due to their small size; a baking stone will do wonders to even them out.  No oven?  Look at the Omnia Stove Top Oven instead — absolutely the best way to bake on the stove top.
  6. Lock & Lock or other gasketed food storage containers — do I ever wish I’d know about these before we left!  They don’t break or leak and bugs can’t get in.
  7. Good knives — where we cruised, I didn’t use much prepared food and I did a lot more chopping and cutting.  I didn’t need a lot of knives (chef’s, serrated, paring and fillet were all I had) but having sharp ones made galley life much more pleasant.  The brand I talk about in my post is superior to what I had as it has non-slip handles, great blades and costs less.
  8. Magma Nesting Pans — nice heavy pans that can double as bowls, baking pans and serving dishes and take very little space to store.  Sold mine with the boat and missed them so much I bought another set! UPDATE: I now have Galleyware nesting pans and love them, too.
  9. Great coffee system — we began our cruising life making instant coffee.  When we acquired a Melitta cone, life aboard became much more enjoyable.  Different people prefer different coffee options, but this is one place not to skimp.
  10. Spare propane tank — I might run out of propane in the middle of cooking something, but we never had to worry about being totally out.  Even if you spend most of your time in marinas it’s nice to know you’ll never have to eat a half-cooked meal.

UPDATE: Another item I’d add since getting it a year ago is my thermal cooker. Wonderful to be able to start dinner whenever I want and let it continue to cook on its own without any more stove heat — I can be working on a project, ashore or even snorkeling. Basically, it’s the cruiser’s crock pot . . . but doesn’t use more fuel or put heat into the boat.

The-Boat-Galley-Cookbook-smShameless self-promotion, but I do think The Boat Galley Cookbook makes galley life a lot easier.  It’s the cookbook and collection of “other useful info” (such as over 150 substitutions) that I wished I’d had from the start.  Available in over 90 countries and on the major electronic formats, too (see list of where to get it).

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  1. Vala Richmond says:

    The Boat Galley cookbook is definately high on my list!!!!
    I’m working my way through adding to my supplies from your list.
    LOVE my Magma nesting pots, tried the Carframo fans and couldn’t believe how much air that little fan could move (and didn’t hurt -much- when I would hit the blade with my fingers), spare propane comes in handy as it seems I always run out half way through something. Found a really cool little stove top espresso maker – Bellman Stovetop Espresso Maker – makes great coffee – a bit of a drag to clean, but otherwise very easy to use and great results. next on my list is the baking stone and dishclothes.

  2. We still have a windscoop on our boat that my grandparents bought in the 70’s… it’s great!

  3. MaryMarie Quigley says:

    I was SO overjoyed when I saw your solution for coffee – and felt very proud! We tried the Keurig first . . . even the small one seems to still make a major power hit when it first comes on. Second – the French press, but doesn’t keep coffee hot without transferring into something else, a pain to clean grounds, etc. Tried for a while and quickly fell out of love. Tried the old fashioned percolator . . . never did like the coffee from that and also a pain to clean, lots of part (Tried emptying the grounds overboard – accidentally threw the filter in with the grounds . . . oops). Then I saw the old Melita filter in the store – probably my first coffee maker in my first apartment after college. And so we have been using: Melita cone, Thermos, tea kettle. Thank you for making me feel totally brilliant when I figured there was some better solution that I was completely missing out on!! Validated at last.

  4. This is still a great list, Carolyn. Saw this today and thought of you, it’s from a Tiny House Movement blog but really, a sailboat is just a tiny house that has the additional advantage of floating (and the disadvantage of mold/humidity LOL) http://tinyhouseblog.com/uncategorized/simplify-kitchen-tiny-house/

  5. Power out again in St Thomas. Just another perfect evening in paradise.

  6. I agree with all of your points! And definitely the basic Caframo fans, more blow for less bucks.

  7. u just need a galley hand now.

  8. Jo Christoffel says:

    Any thoughts on electric tea kettles? Yes, power hungry, but don’t create heat that stove boiling does, and much faster too . Starting almost any meal prep w boiling water, let alone tea or coffee, ought to be a big propane saving too. With solar to provide the power I think a viable option.

  9. I rarely use my oven, but do you use your pizza stone in there for everything? I make brownies, lasagna etc. in he microwave. (On shore power) Princess stove has very uneven heat.

  10. I had a hard time finding a second Melita cone so I had one for the camper and boat, but finally found one at an Ace hardware store, of all places! It came with the glass pot, not expensive. The plastic flange can be trimmed to fit most insulated “pumper” tops too. The glass pot is now a spare for the house coffee maker.

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