Outfitting Your Boat

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2010 • all rights reserved

Buying gear for your galley or elsewhere on your boat? Buying guides, reviews, suggestions and tips for outfitting your boat, whether it's for a weekend or around the world.

Outfitting your boat can be a daunting experience, but I hope these articles will make it less confusing. Buying the equipment for your boat and particularly its kitchen is difficult as there are few reviews of what really works — and, maybe more importantly, doesn’t — in a marine environment.

Pots & Pans • Tools & Utensils • Dishes, Glassware & Tableware • Cookbooks • Coffee Making • Storage • Miscellaneous GearNon-Galley GearGeneral Gear Buying Info

Non-Galley Gear

Full disclosure:  My website contains some affiliate marketing links, which means I get paid commission on some sales of those products (it doesn’t cost you anything extra).

HOWEVER, I do not recommend products based on whether or how much I might earn — I base it on whether I think they are good, useful products sold at a good price and I often suggest you just buy something at the nearest Wal-mart if that’s where I’ve seen the best price.  The commissions I earn simply offset my costs in keeping this website running.

Buying gear for your galley or elsewhere on your boat?  Buying guides, reviews, suggestions and tips for outfitting your boat, whether it's for a weekend or around the world.The articles listed above can also give you some good ideas for gifts, but if you don’t know exactly what someone wants/needs/has room for in their boat galley, I recommend a gift card from the appropriate merchant and then you can add a note with what you were thinking of (or a print out of the page from this site) — but they can make the final decision.

Finally, when I haven’t actually purchased a product from a given merchant, I say so — sometimes vendors change and I will note that while I heartily endorse the product, I don’t have personal experience with the seller.

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  1. Marshall Siegel says:

    Just received my Rapid Chef cook set,and was surprised at the quality. Heavy duty Stainless, can’t wait to use them next time on the Hook!
    Thanks for the Advise,
    Marshall Siegel
    Freehold, NJ

    • Carolyn Shearlock says:

      Thanks Marshall — glad that you like them. Amazing how heavy pans produce better results, isn’t it?

  2. Waterwoman says:

    Hi Carolyn, are you familiar with the website Honeyville Grains?

    We will be heading to Mexico in October/November this year and although I have used Honeyville for my blanched almond flour and other baking goodies, I am now stocking up on freeze dried veggies for those times when we won’t be able to get fresh and/or happen to be out. I have used the celery and dried onions and find them to be a valuable addition to the cruising pantry. Can’t attest to the carrots, corn or peas, but the dried blueberries are just heavenly and for those that can eat yogurt, the dried fruit yogurt would be great! This is probably old news to you, but thought it worth a mention.

    Thanks for your website, it is amazing how you keep coming up with new ideas!

  3. Waterwoman says:

    BTW, this will be our second trip to Mexico. We spent six seasons there from 1997 – 2003 when we returned to California. So looking forward to going again!

  4. Hello Caroline,

    During one of our “sailing association” meeting, someone mentionned the Easiyo. An easy thermos to make fresh yogurt. And since your website is very informative I wondered if you had heard about it as well and what was your opinion.

    We are preparing to leave for this coming September (if all sells well..) and move aboard our catamaran with our two children.

    Thank you for a wonderful website filled with great informations.

  5. tertza & lionel says:

    Hi Carolyn. Have just discovered the The Boat Galley, and especially this section which is going to perused extensively over the next couple of months — Reason – we have a new Bavaria 33 on order due for commissioning March 2015 in U.K. and we are going to be equipping the boat from scratch ! We will stay in touch

  6. Sally O'Neill says:

    Hi Carolyn

    I am about to buy bedding for our new boat. On our chartering experiences we found that the sheets and towels felt constantly damp. Granted, we did not know at the time that we should rinse all salt off our bodies before climbing into bed. But I’m also wondering if there is a better textile for sheeting on the boat e.g. cotton vs microfibre vs polyester. I don’t see it in your provisioning articles but maybe I missed it.

    • Some people swear by microfiber instead of cotton, but I never really noticed a difference and I just prefer the feel of cotton. I also know of a few that use a very lightweight fleece as the bottom fleece and say it seems cooler and not as damp to them, but I’ve never tried that.

      Getting the salt off has made the most difference for us.

  7. Great amount of information on this website. You should do a section on outfitting for fishing gear. There are so many people that have no idea on how to even add rod holders to there boats. Just a thought!

  8. Joan Baldwin says:

    Your site is so helpful. Slowly reading through every article. We plan to buy a trawler and live-aboard in about 1 1/2 years. Currently have a 34 ft houseboat that we use on weekends. Finally, my question: how much clothing do you need to live on board? Do you have a permanent residence that you store all your other “stuff?” Do you ever have to dress up to attend an event back home (wedding, etc.)? We plan to live on board somewhere around Savannah because our daughter is in Atlanta. Plan to winter in Fl. How much cooler weather clothing do you keep? If there is already an article, I apologize, can’t find it.

    • Right now, we cruise half the year and live ashore the other half — but for seven years, we cruised full time and didn’t have a shore home. When we were full-timing, we did leave a few “dressy” clothes and winter clothes in a storage unit. The only problem was that whenever we’d need them, the event in question would not be near our storage unit. We simply went in whatever “best” clothes we had — maybe bought a shirt or pair of shoes — and borrowed winter gear for the couple of days we were in cold climates. Our friends and family were generally just happy that we came and didn’t mind if we didn’t have the “right” clothes — actually, I don’t think anyone noticed what we were wearing!

      What you need aboard depends a lot on where you are and how you typically dress (some people dress up more, some are more t-shirt types). Dave and I have a couple sets of work (as in grimy, painting and oil changing work, not “going to the office” work) clothes, several pairs of shorts and t-shirts along with a few nicer tops, jeans and warmer tops, a light and heavier fleece, plus a windbreaker and foul weather gear. Swimsuits, of course. When we were in the Sea of Cortez, we had less warm clothing and more very lightweight clothing.

      For us, the big thing is to have clothes that can be rolled and still look good — nothing that has to be hung up. Drawers and cubbies are much more space efficient.

      And you didn’t ask, but I have four pairs of shoes — a “good” pair of Keen sandals, my old Keens for grubby work, sneakers for when it’s cold, and a pair of nice looking flats that I wear to anything “dressy.”

      • Joan Baldwin says:

        Thank you so much. The one thing I know I need is grubby, paint clothes!!! So many boat projects. Interesting about having things in a storage unit and then it not being near where you are going for the “event.” Hadn’t thought of that.

        Can’t wait to be provisioning our boat for our move aboard!! Plan to get your cookbook and start dreaming. Right now, as I said, I am slowly reading all of your site. Until I look outside and see the dreary, cold day. Then, I just get depressed.


  9. Tom Moss says:

    Great site, my goto reference for everything Galley. Any good ideas for dealing with trash? Can crushers, bags, composters, garberators? I’d love to keep organics out of the bin and find more ways to minimize the rest. Of course getting rid of packaging before provisions come on board is the first step.

    Thanks for a great site!

  10. Carolyn, is that really a picture of how your galley looks all the time? If so, you are both a lucky lady AND you keep a great-looking galley!! All the best?!

  11. Katherine Albertson says:

    We have a trawler, I have found that I can use a small rice cooker with steamer top off the inverter. It really helps here in Michigan for hot drinks and rice and steamed veggies for lunch. I have used it for pasta, and soups. I do have your book as well, and use your suggestions all the time. Thanks.

  12. Ian Ross says:

    Your website is amazing! Thanks!

    I’m installing a WALLAS diesel stove and heater on a new 26′ aluminum outboard cruiser I’ll have to install a separate diesel tank but I much prefer this system over propane, which I just don’t trust on a boat. Besides I can add the heater and an oven if I wish.

    Here is the WALLAS website… http://www.wallas.ca/Marine_Cooktops_and_Heaters.html

  13. Gary Bremer says:

    hello, we had met on the hard in Glade. where you graciously gave me a tour of your Gemini catamaran.thank you very much for this site I believe everyone can learn tricks of the trade from your experience. also great to meet the dog still has a lot of play. have a great day.

  14. Sharon Brown says:

    I will be moving from a big civil war home to a 39 foot boat in September. I need some advice regarding which kitchen appliance is preferable. I am looking at a programmable slow cooker or the nu-wave. I want something that when we go for the day I can make my meal and know that it will go to “stay warm” when it is done cooking. Any suggestions? We will be at dock most of the time and do have a generator.

    Thank you

    • I have not used a Nu-Wave, but I have read about them. I think that for what you want the programmable slow cooker is going to do better — it’ll be just like using it in your house if you’re on shore power.

  15. The TBG cookbook; some say this book is good. Well its definately not good.
    Its actually utterly brilliant……..and Im using it more and more on an increasing basis.
    This along with a pressure cookery book and a specialist bread book complete all recipe books needed on board.
    TBG is very worth while having and superbly written with additional advice and tips that are not usually found in such books. Typically alternatives are mentioned as are equivalent measurements for cruisers from different regions.

  16. Anyone use a cast iron pan in the galley?

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