Saturday, September 14, 2013

Things That Make Life Better: My Favorite Low-Cost/No-Cost Liveaboard Hacks

My bloggy colleagues over at The Monkey's Fist are making posts for the wonderfully helpful topic of things that make life aboard better and of course I love lists, and tips that promise to make my life better, so I had to join in!  Hmm, things that make my life aboard better ... let's see, a cold alcoholic beverage, a bright sunny day, 10-15 knots of breeze on the starboard quarter ... Nevermind.  

Over the years we've done a lot of improvising, new uses for items the manufacturer never dreamed of, to solve the unique problems of living aboard.  Here are a few:

Paper towel weight: When we're tied up in a marina slip the wind can sometimes come in from the wrong direction and unroll the paper towels all over the cabin.  A simple weight hanging over the top of the roll (in this case, a small seashell on a gold ribbon) keeps them from running away.

Solar cockpit light: inexpensive solar-powered LED garden lights can cost less than $5 and serve as cockpit lights, courtesy lights for boarding, or just to help identify your boat at anchor.  Bonus: the stake on this one fits perfectly in the top of the jibsheet winch!

Small electronics storage: small food-storage containers keep all our cables and chargers and mscellaneous accessories together and organized in the locker ... and dry!
Small electronics storage

Jewelry organizer: Small fishing tackle boxes sort my earrings, and is easy to store.  

Electrical parts storage: A bigger fishing tackle box holds electrical connectors in the lower tray, and screws in the upper.

Trash can for the head: a receptacle meant for feminine hygiene products in a commercial restroom makes a perfect trash can in the head.  It's about the right size, can be wall-mounted, and the lid is useful if you get shower overspray.  (purchased from a plumbing supply store)

Laundry quarters: An empty vial from prescription medicine is the perfect size to store quarters for the next laundromat trip.

Dinghy bailer: made from a cut up bleach or vinegar bottle
Fuel indicator: our boat has two fuel tanks.  You can only read the gauges by taking off the settee cushions.  A simple piece of paper helps us remember which tank we're running on, and sliding the paper clips makes it easy to know approximately how much fuel is in each.  We check the gages and record twice a day when we're underway.

Sprayer: Meant for garden chemicals, but the small size pump up sprayer (clean, new, of course!) is great for everything from cockpit showers to camping.

Chart protector: This simple sewing project, made from scraps of Sunbrella and isinglass, keeps charts in the cockpit clean and dry.  It seals with a strip of velcro.


  1. Good ones.

    s/v Honey Ryder Caliber 40 LRC

  2. The chart protector is a GREAT idea! I'm adding that to my project list! Thanks :)

  3. Being new to boating, I am loving these ideas! Thank you so much for sharing these.

    Sharon ( Chris n Me )