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No Galley, No Problem || Cooking Aboard a Small Boat

Cooking on a boat

5 Tricks to Great Meals on a Boat Boat camping is a great way to get away from it all. For one thing, boats can take us places that no other form of transportation can. These peaceful places offer quiet and serene anchorages that lie far away from the troubles of land-life. But staying on your boat presents some challenges. Small vessels seldom have everything you need for extended stays on the water. One area that is nearly always lacking is in the galley. If your boat doesn’t even have a galley, don’t fret. With some planning and creative thinking, you can eat pretty well on any size boat.

Cooking Without a Galley With a few simple items, you can survive and cook hot meals on any vessel. Sure, big cruisers come complete with four-burner ranges, ovens, freshwater systems, refrigerators, and freezers. But most small trailer-able boats don’t have any of these things. When looking at taking a small boat on a long trip, think creatively. It pays to consider the solutions used by campers and ultra-light backpackers. These folks have figured out how to feed themselves with the least amount of equipment and hassle. While looking at various solutions, keep in mind your space constraints. While you certainly have more room for bulk and weight than backpackers do, you’re still on a small boat. And chances are you have other gear you’ll want to take like clothes, fishing gear, snorkeling gear, and your regular compliment of boating items. So while you do have space, you don’t have that much to spare.

Your make-shift galley can be as elaborate as you like. If you plan on capitalizing on dock-and-dine restaurants along the way, you might be able to get by with just a coffee maker, cold sandwiches, soups, and light snacks. If you’re a fisherman, you can grill up your catch right there. But don’t limit yourself. If you plan out the sort of meals you want to have on your trip, chances are there’s a way for you to cook it on board. The primary concerns for cooking onboard are going to be having the ability to heat things on a stove, having fresh water available, and keeping food cold. The better you can do these three things, the better off your cooking situation will be.

Heating Food By far, one of the most versatile items you can cook with on a small boat is a grill. Magma makes a propane kettle grill that allows you to remove the grate and use the burner alone as a stove. For the boat camper, this solves all of your cooking problems. You can grill fresh fish or meats and veggies you’ve brought with you, and you can boil water for your coffee. Marine kettle grills are small enough to fit on any boat and can be mounted with a wide variety of mounts. You can secure them in gunnel fishing rod holders, on rails, or directly to the deck. Yes, they’re expensive, but if cared for and cleaned, they will last for years.

There are many other grill options on the market. You can use a propane or charcoal grill that is designed for tailgating. Just make sure that you have an open and stable spot where you can set it up that is away from combustibles on your boat, like the fuel tank. Make sure that it’s absolutely secure and that there is no risk of it heating the fiberglass. It cannot be overstated; nothing burns faster or better than fiberglass! Safety first. Another great advantage of having a portable grill onboard is being able to take it off the boat to the beach. If you’ve pulled up on your favorite remote island, why not have a beach barbecue? You can cook over a bonfire, roast clams in the sand, or just set up your boat grill on terra firma. Many marine grills have fold-down legs for cooking land or dockside. Another option to heating a kettle or a cooking pan is a camping stove. These come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are usually powered with propane or butane. These will boil water faster and easier than a grill alone and are perfect for your morning cup of joe. Try to find the flat models that won’t tip over on the boat instead of the vertical designs that mount on top of a one-pound propane bottle.

Fresh Water You’ve probably already considered the need for freshwater on your trip. After all, you need to drink, right? But on an extended trip, you’ll want to have more water than just drinking water. You’ll also want to brush your teeth, wash up, and do dishes.