Get More From Your Galley

By Carolyn Shearlock

Here are some smart ideas for more efficiently using what for many is the heart of the boat.

Add Counter Space

When you're not using your stove, does it bug you how much space it takes up? Space that could be used as a counter with removable countertops? Remember to use a stove cover only on top of a cold stove and to store it securely so it doesn't fly around in rough weather. Here are two ideas. Buy a maple cutting board that just fits the stovetop side to side, then add a door pull on the long edge for easy handling. Mount two dock-pole hangers on the walls just in front of your stove on either side so when not in use, the board can be hung securely in front of the stove.

Photo of galley counterspace conversion

Phot of galley counterspace with built-in cutting board

Or use a white, half-inch-thick polyethylene cutting board. Add wood to both ends so it fits snugly on the stovetop area. Screw or glue separate pieces of wood on the top and bottom edges of the cutting board. This makes a lightweight board for moving on and off the stove many times per day.

Make Your Own Gel Ice Pack

An ice pack is a really handy item to have on a boat to treat an injury or keep food cold. It's especially useful when transporting a dish to a potluck or when serving food on ice on a hot day! Ice trays take up too much room in a tiny freezer, but a homemade gel pack solves the problem. You can make it any size, and because it doesn't freeze, you can make it any shape that fits in your freezer's corner or some other odd-shaped space. Cruisers Network Online suggests this recipe: Place a resealable bag in a cup and pour into it two parts freshwater or saltwater and one part rubbing alcohol (the cheap stuff). Remove the bag from the cup and seal it, pressing it carefully to remove as much air as possible. Fold the top of the bag over just below the seal strip, then duct-tape the length of the fold, curving around the ends. Put this into another bag, press the air out, seal it, then tape it. Freeze until it turns into slush. Use it and reuse it!

An Odorless Dishrag?

This neat Scrubr is made from a nonabsorbent material that feels like spun plastic and doesn't stink. It also happens to make a good dishcloth, dries in less than 10 minutes in average conditions, works well to remove stuck-on food, and can be hung from its nifty elastic hoop. The Scrubr is almost as flexible as a rag, but it's nonabsorbent, so you'll need a bar towel or rag for that job. Lunatec also makes a softer facecloth using the same material. $5.50 (two-pack); www.Lunatecgear.com.

Check Your Fridge Seals

Your fridge is a big power hog on your boat. Make sure you're not throwing away cold air because of leaking seals. Position a piece of paper so it's gripped between the two edges of the seal when you close the door. Pull on the paper. If it comes out easily, you need to replace the seals. If you have a top-loading fridge, fashion a latch to hold the lid down before replacing the seal. You can make a temporary seal with silicone caulk and wax paper. Thoroughly remove the old seal; you'll add new silicone here on this side. Tape wax paper to cover the other edge that meets at the seal; this keeps the silicone from sticking to the second edge. Now lay down a thick bead of silicone. Carefully close the lid and let the silicone cure. After it sets, remove the tape holding the wax paper, and open the lid. You'll have to peel the wax paper off the silicone. Be careful not to nick it!  

Cruiser Carolyn Shearlock stocks the popular website TheBoatGalley.com with practical tips for better living aboard.

— Published: April/May 2015


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