Bareboating Insights – Living Aboard

Meal PrepMeals

Food Prep – Two things we do to make meals more enjoyable are marinating meats in plastic/ziplock bags before grilling (usually done the night before or morning of cooking) and pre-grilling meats or vegetables at night for lunch the next day. Additionally, Lisa brings a collection of spices in small plastic bags from home.

Making Ice – I’ve successfully made ice in some marine refrigerators by filling a plastic ice bag with mineral water and attaching it in a way that lets it rest against the cooling element using a clothing pin or a large paper clip. Depending on the cooling element and the length of the on cycle of the refrigerator, we’ve made enough ice for sundowners for a crew of 8. If you can’t pull that off, premix your

Frozen Ice Bag
Ice Bags

sundowner in the morning and leave it against the cooling element all day.


Water conservation

Water usage is the main driver for how often we need to go into port so we do everything possible to conserve water. We’ve been able to go a full week with a 4 person crew on a single boat’s water capacity (necessary in Baja Mexico). NOTE – some of you might find our techniques a bit extreme.

Fresh Water Faucets – Marine faucets tend to work like shore based plumbing and are not good at controlling water flow. We’re very careful how much we open the fresh water faucet and tend to stop the sink to reuse the fresh water were possible.

Washing dishes – it’s great when the galley sink has a salt water pump since we use salt water to wash and do the first rinse of all dishes, then run fresh water for a final rinse. We only let enough water flow to rinse the dishes plugging the sink to capture the fresh water. Also, when making pasta, we also capture the hot water when the pasta is drained.

Shower time – We use two techniques to conserve water. The first is to fill the sink in the head with water, use a wash cloth/sponge to wet down your body, soap up, and use the wash cloth/sponge to rinse with the remaining fresh water. The second is a salt water

Biodegradeable container
Improvised Biodegradable Container

bath off the stern of the boat (jump-in, soap up, jump-in to rinse) then rinse with fresh water from the outside shower controlling the water flow carefully.


Biodegradables – Since trash is stored on the boat or in the dingy, we separate out the biodegradables by cutting a 1.5 liter bottle just below the neck to use the upper half as a cover. We collect food scraps in the bottle to discard when making passages. This helps reduce that wonderful odor that attracts wasp and other insects

Personal hygiene

Marine Head Use – Since toilet paper does not go into the marine head system, we’ve been using baby/sanitary wipes (personal hygiene wipes for women work the same) to reduce the amount of paper needed for personal hygiene. Generally, a package of 72 wipes last 4 people a full week.

Other Advice: Before Departing  Provisions  Sailing Stuff

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2 thoughts on “Bareboating Insights – Living Aboard

  1. Very insightful information.

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  2. i still take dry showers which i laneerd about in the military. you pretty much just get wet real fast, then turn off the water and get all soaped up, then spray off and rinse. my wife hates the idea, but i\’m a fast shower guy anyways, she\’s more of a soak in the tub kinda person.i drink a lot of water, and i use the same plastic cup every day. just rinse it out when you\’re done and put it in the cupboard so it doesnt gather dust and stuff.

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