The Story Behind The Boat Galley

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2011 • all rights reserved

How I came to write The Boat Galley and how I earn money from it.Periodically, I get questions about why I write The Boat Galley, how much time I spend on it and also how it is supported.

Why Do I Do This?

I was lucky enough to learn about cooking from scratch, with limited equipment, while camping, and so on from the time I was a very young girl — primarily from my mom.  And my dad had worked his way through school as a butcher, so I picked up some of that from him.

I’ve always enjoyed writing and all my “real jobs” involved writing; prior to cruising, I also maintained web sites for a couple of sailing groups.  While cruising, I started freelance writing for some of the cruising magazines. But that doesn’t really get to the heart of “why?”

  • When we began cruising, there was so much that we didn’t know.  Dave and I had extensive experience with one design centerboard dinghies, but knew next to nothing about the systems on a cruising boat . . . or about catching or preparing fish and other seafood . . . or dealing with everything in a foreign language.  We learned as we went along, with an awful lot of help from other cruisers.  Maybe I can’t directly repay them, but I can “pay it forward.”
  • I had been frustrated so many times when buying gear for the galley as it was hard (impossible?) to find reviews on how products performed aboard a boat as opposed to in a “shore” kitchen.  I wanted not just to publish my own experiences of what worked and what features were important to me, but to have a way for other cruisers or soon-to-be cruisers to ask questions and share their own information.
  • For most of us, cooking aboard a boat is different from cooking ashore.  So why not share tips on what works — and what doesn’t?
  • When I write magazine articles, it’s just a one-way street with me saying what I think.  There’s no feedback and no one else adding their two cents’ worth or disagreeing.  The Boat Galley, where readers can leave comments, along with its Facebook page where there’s lots of discussion, offers so much more.  To me, the sharing that goes on perfectly reflects the cruising community and is what I love about The Boat Galley.

How Much Time Do I Spend on The Boat Galley?

I typically spend 30 to 40 hours a week working on TBG — writing new articles, answering questions, updating older articles and so on.

Dave is retired with a small pension, Social Security and Medicare. We have some savings. But the reality is that I need to be bringing in some money to make our finances work.

One option would be to get a job at a local business periodically as we cruise. That would significantly cut into my time writing The Boat Galley . . . which is what I love doing.

The other option is to spend my time working on The Boat Galley — and earn something for it. So that brings us to the last question . . .

Do I Actually Make Money?  How?

Yes, I do make some money from The Boat Galley.  Not huge amounts, but enough to keep me at it.

But, you’re saying, how do you earn anything from The Boat Galley?  It’s totally free to read!

You’re right.  The Boat Galley is free to read.  I didn’t want to set it up as a members-only site where readers had to pay for a “subscription” or be asked to donate.  I wanted every bit of information that’s here on the site to be free to read, print or save as a PDF.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to earn. There are some ads on the site, I’m sure you’ve noticed.  And I have some affiliate links. And yes, I promote my cookbook (sold elsewhere).

Affiliate links. A lot of people aren’t familiar with affiliate links, so I’ll explain them in a little more detail. In fact, a couple of readers have recently asked on Facebook or in comments if I had affiliate links so they could support the site . . . and then other people asked “what are affiliate links and how do I use them?” . . . and so I thought I should explain.

An “affiliate link” is a link to a product or company, where the company pays me a small commission when someone buys something after clicking on that link.  For example, if you click on a link to a product at West Marine or Amazon, and then buy something there (even if it’s not the product you first clicked on), I get a small commission.  There is NO extra cost to the purchaser.  Several of the merchants whose products I link to have affiliate programs, but not all (there is a list of companies that I am an affiliate of at the bottom of the sidebar on the right side of every post).  I have no way of knowing who makes purchases.

I want to be upfront about the fact that I do make some money through affiliate programs, but I also want to state that I don’t choose to write about a product or give it a favorable review just because I might earn something.  In fact, there are lots of products that I could provide an affiliate link to, but don’t because I know you can find it cheaper at a big-box store and say so. And I’m not going to recommend a product that I don’t think is worth purchasing!

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that The Boat Galley is a labor of love, but yes, it’s a way for me to make some money.  I love being part of the cruising community and passing on what I’ve learned as well as facilitating the exchange of information between so many people.

Thank you for giving me the chance to do what I love!

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  1. Thank you for writing The Boat Galley. I have learned a lot about cooking on a boat and also use the tips in our home. The tips and hints work everywhere.

  2. Jodie on Facebook says:

    I love that you are giving your learning experience of dealing with all the challenges of cooking and provisioning on a boat. When we started cruising 14yrs ago there was very little out there to read and learn from. It was all trial and error.

  3. Diane Dashevsky says:

    Keep up the good work girl!! This is a wonderful site and I send many fellow “galley wenches” here for all of your great hints and tips!

  4. Good job, Carolyn. I’ll support you as long as you continue TBG!

  5. Michelle on Facebook says:

    I am voting for a ALL your helpful info book!!! thanks for all that you do!! you are wonderful!!!

  6. Sami Bolton says:

    I could not find a place to write to you but wanted to share this while I was thinking about it. Sorry if it is out of place here…..

    I think I commented about using rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle for cleaning and disinfecting……but I also stumbled across another use for it…..I spray a papertowel with it…just a small spray to barely wet, and line whatever veggie storage bag or container with it. I dont know why but it seems to help keep veggies much longer….especially soft ones like mushrooms. The papertowel soaks up extra moisture and the alcohol must kill bacteria which helps keep it fresher longer. Alcohol kills stuff as it dries……and, you dont have to worry about it like you do bleach. We are provisioning for the Bahamas now and Im going to try this with onions, potatos and garlic. I will let you know what I think after a few months.

    Sami and Barry
    m/v Deja vu

  7. I LOVE this site..
    My go ALL to everything boating…… not just in the Galley!!!
    Thanks so much for all that you do!!!

  8. I truly enjoy it — thanks to all for making it such a collaborative endeavor . . . and so much fun!

  9. Waterwoman says:

    Thanks for explaining about affiliate links, when you recommend something I need, I will be more than happy to use the link. I buy stuff from Amazon anyway!

    Look forward to any books you may write in the future. I’ve kept daily journals of our cruising life and thought someday I would make the attempt. Now that Dragon software is available, it might make it easier to accomplish.

  10. Charlotte says:

    Thanks for the background information and from now I will always click on your amazonlink before I buy anything! No brainer. I love the Boat Gallery and have learnt a lot. And I am so glad that you are making a little money from it.

  11. Carolyn Shearlock says:

    Thanks to everyone! I’m embarrassed reading all these!


  12. Cathy Orban on Facebook says:

    Carolyn, I want to thank you for generously sharing your expertise, I am in the process of outfitting my galley and have taken all of your recommendations (ordering through your Amazon links). I told my husband that you are my “Virtual Galley Guru”. It would have taken me years of trial and error to learn what you have shared, I am so grateful to you, Thank You! S/V Caterina III

  13. Cathy — WOW! Just remember to keep your own preferences in mind, too! “Everyone” told me I needed oven mitts, so I bought them and put them on the boat. Now, I’ve NEVER used an oven mitt in my life, and didn’t on the boat either (yes, they might have saved a burn or two, but I just hate using them . . .). Thanks for the kind words and glad you’re finding TBG to be useful!

  14. Danielle Redwine McDaniel on Facebook says:

    I really like your tips and tricks:D This is a great thing you have going. I am going to purchase your book in the coming months.

  15. Mary Rose on Facebook says:

    I love reading the Boat Galley. It is a great work.

  16. Thanks so much!

  17. You have an amazing site, I recommend it to friends all the time.
    Your informations is very valuable.

  18. Rose Alderson says:

    Once again I learn something. It’s so great to better understand “how something new woorks”. I will definately use your links….my only question would be, is there a central place to go to access all of your links to items you recommend on Amazon…say to do one big shop? I am kitting out our boat for a sail from BC canada to Australia in a years time…wondering about efficient ordering…it would be nice to see all the options quicker than reading through the 500+ articles.

    S/V Aussie Rules, Catalina 34

    • Right now, I don’t have one big list . . . but I’ve had a couple of requests lately for one, so I’ll work on getting it together next week (right now I’m actually out on a boat — imagine that!!).

  19. Rose Alderson says:

    Hey Carolyn,

    Any luck with that list? I am wanting to buy through your site, but am wondering if amazon will ship through their Canadian website and still credit you or not. Any thoughts?

    Cheers Rose

    ( just got back from a local regatta which I am happy to say we won in our fleet.!)

    • Congrats on winning your regatta!

      I put a section in the sidebar with all the products I like on Amazon but the links are to the US Amazon. Your comment about being in Canada just gave me some thoughts about also doing it on a page with the links to US, Canada and UK. Hadn’t thought about that, and yet I know I have lots of Canadian readers. I forget that there’s a separate Amazon for each country.

  20. Sami Bolton on Facebook says:

    you should make a lot of money!!!! Lots of hard work went into that book.

  21. Don’t I wish! Labor of love 🙂

  22. Simonne says:

    Thank you very much for all that hard work you put into writing TBG.
    I’m almost addicted tot your site.
    I live in the Netherlands and we don’t own a sail yacht anymore, but we now travel nine out of twelve months per year through Europa and Morocco in our motorhome.
    We have plans to do this fulltime.
    I learn a lot from your tips and I really love your cookbook!
    Thanks again and keep up the goog work! 🙂

  23. Simonne says:

    goog=good! 🙂

  24. My husband is the experienced sailor, but I just didn’t like his “bachelor” approach to our galley. Every time I wanted to change something, it would be an argument where I was the one with less experience. Then I found TBG, and learnt how thing should be done! So I went ahead and changed our set-up for the better, and now if he moans I tell him to read TBG 🙂 Love what you do, and many thanks!

  25. Thank you foe being here, I enjoy your articles and all the comments and feedback. Cheers

  26. Thank you for sharing – I haven’t read everything yet, but find all quite helpful as I am brand-spanking new in a galley. Keep the articles/reviews/suggestions and most of all WORDS coming!

  27. This site is a Godsend to us, we are about to set off cruising (in a month) and at the moment, it all seems a bit much, I enjoy coming on here and have you answer some of my questions and ease my worries

  28. Arion McCartney says:

    Hi Carolyn,
    My wife and I are about to join the live-aboard/ cruising lifestyle. We now live in SD, but are from the pacific north west. I have been a boater most of my life, but my wife was not.
    A year ago I talked her into going for a week-long fishing trip on to Lake Oahe (part of the Missouri river that runs through SD). We spent the entire trip living aboard our 21′ Glasply hard top cuddy. On the way home she asked me if I really wanted to stay in SD. We have a nice home in the Black hills, with a great view (We are retired). Or would I like to have a different view every day. She had fallen in love with cruising and wanted to do the live-aboard thing. Our home is now up for sale. We are looking for a vessel in the PNW. When we found “The Boat Galley” it was more than we could have asked for, She now knows that she will have all the information that she will need to make this life-style work for her.
    Thanks so very much for what you are doing.

    • Oh, you’re going to have so much fun — I’ve always wanted to cruise the PNW, we’ll do it someday. And so glad that you find the site helpful!

      • We cruisers up here in the PNW need you to join us, so you can offer advice for our northern waters. Some are cruising for as long as five months at a time, moving through Canadian waters. It sure has it’s challenges!

  29. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I have gained so much from you!

  30. Thank you for all your interesting articles. We’ve been live a boards for years and love your input. Again it was good to meet you at the boat show

  31. Thank you,wonderful tips shared

  32. I love your articles. As we prepare to sail for the first time it is a great help

  33. I’m not a live-aboard — we’re weekend cruisers. Lots of the same best practice tricks and tips, ideas or workarounds still apply when we cruise or entertain on our 30′ Grady-White. I love reading about your adventures.

    • Thanks! I think most of the info here can apply whether you’re out for the afternoon or taking off around the world. And whether it’s a power boat, monohull, cat or tri. Literally “whatever floats your boat”

  34. Dear Carolyn, thank you for your useful site. I started sailing 4 years ago, and I also love to cook. We are doing mainly weekend trips in Denmark and Germany ( Baltic Sea. ) on a 21 ft boat. I also write about cooking. My focus is on very small boats, recipes for 2 flames or BBQ. Your work is very inspiring, because there is so much to pay attention too, or keep in mind. Even if its much colder here, I could use some tipps on our Weekends. I found you on pinterest. Best wishes and thank you from Germany Cornelia

  35. Thanks again Carolyn, always enjoy your articles & tips for improvement. Your knowledge has helped me be more savvy & think twice before adding to our equipment

  36. Love seeing the family portrait with your mom and dad!

  37. Very nice! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  38. Andrew Hogg says:

    Thanks so much for this website. I’m glad that you can make some money off of it as it is a huge resource (growing weekly) and tremendously valuable to us boat nerds. You should get paid. I support musicians and if we don’t support them the music dies, or at least is much more rare. Sometimes completely free is what you pay for it. The fact that I don’t have to pay directly for it is a sweet win for me in my opinion.

    Keep up the great work!!!

  39. Your articles helped me prepare for 3 weeks on our 28ft fishing boat in the Bahamas with 3 kids–Thank you for sharing your experiences!

  40. Carolyn, I love Your articles and suggestions. They are so helpful and interesting. Also, love hearing about Your adventures with Dave and Paz.

  41. I love reading your articles an have had used many of your great “living aboard” tips.

  42. Our adventures aboard are in Europe so some of the BG articles don’t apply but many do, so thanks for the constant stream of wonderful articles, Carolyn. I frequently order things from Amazon and will do so through your web site…… my way of sharing back. Thanks for such relevant information.

  43. Thank you Carolyn! And you are helping so many people so that just has to feel so rewarding! A labor of love! (And an inspiration to others!)

  44. Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks. Always love to read them. Keep it up

  45. I’m a huge, huge fan!!!! Keep it up!

  46. I so appreciate what you do every day. I have bought so many useful things based on your advice. One of my faves are the. Magma nesting pans. I use. Your cookbook all the time, the substitution section is invaluable. You taught me how to make bread on the boat that my family loves. We have been cruising for 18 months thru Mexico, Central America and Panama. I look forward to your articles and your site is one of my regulars that keep me informed and updated on the boat. Keep doing what your doing, we need you!

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