If You Can’t Take the Heat, Get Out of The Galley Part 1

Ahoy Sailors, now that you’ve learned how to anchor your vessel, let’s talk about the best ways to keep your galley organized, stable, and safe, so while you’re anchored you can make your meals. This will be a two-part lesson. Lesson one being the best way to achieve functionality of your galley, and the second lesson being boat galley safety features; stay tuned.

Whether setting out to travel the globe or just planning a long weekend across the bay, a functioning, secure, and well-stocked galley is the key to keeping your belly full, “hangry” sailors at bay, and your sanity in check.


Even the largest boats often have fractional galleys to what you would find in the average home. The lack of space, coupled with the constant movement, tropical nuisances, and limited power, could make the galley your worst nightmare. However, with a few essential tips and some thoughtful planning, you can avoid many common mistakes and start whipping up delicious creations in no time. Here are tips to keep your galley secured and functional while fully stocked.


The Boat Galley


Boat galleys vary in a ton of different ways. Size, layout, storage, proximity – the list goes on. Each boat will require a slightly different setup than the next, but certain features are beneficial.


 Boat Galley Location


From cooking and cleaning to remaining mobile and social, the location of a galley can dramatically impact your culinary experience at sea. The galley should be accessible from both the cockpit and saloon, well ventilated, and in an area that is less prone to boat roll than other areas. Placement at the foot of the boat’s companionway is ideal, as it satisfies the three considerations mentioned above. Those with multiple roles on the ship will enjoy this location as they make trips above and below deck. Each boat will have a different setup, so be sure to consider the specifics for you and your crew. What works for some will be less than ideal for others.


Boat Galley Layout


The shape and layout of your space will dictate how you set up your kitchen and arrange your boat galley accessories. Three standard configurations for a boat galley exist – Linear, L-Shaped, or U-Shaped. L-Shaped and U-Shaped galleys are more commonly found on offshore cruisers, as the design provides more support and security when the boat rolls. They also keep spaces and cooking accessories nearby for a busy evening as the lead cook.

While these confined layouts are more suitable for safety and convenience, they reduce the kitchen’s overall ability to be creative. Less space means you have to be more mindful of the equipment you’re using and how many dishes you can prepare at once. It would be best if you determined your galley’s layout by evaluating how many people are on board, how often you’ll be cooking during open-water passages, and how creative a cook you are in the first place.


Gimballed Boat Appliances

A gimbal is a single-axis support system on which objects pivot to stay level, even when their surroundings are not. Having gimbaled boat appliances is essential to cooking safely, especially when making long passages in inclement weather. The most common boat appliance to mount on a gimbal is a stove and oven. Gimballed boat appliances are lockable when not in use, so you can use the equipment as usual when at anchor or docked in the marina.


Silicone is Your Friend


Silicone is the new “it” girl. They make several products now out of silicone that are perfect for space-saving in the galley. From collapsible mixing bowls and measuring cups to cookie sheets and pot lids that don’t make a sound. It is durable and flexible, but silicon is easy to clean, heat resistant, and affordable. Plus, they make them in great colors and funky patterns, making them both functional and stylish.

Plus, when your sailboat hits rough waters, silicon doesn’t shatter when it falls from the cabinet (which is also preventable).


Logical Refrigeration Placement


While modern boat galleys are becoming more logical in their design and layout, things often leave us scratching our heads when looking at older vessels. Unfortunately, one of the most common issues is the placement of refrigeration and freezer units. Due to space restrictions or simple neglect, these cooling units are often installed near engine rooms, ovens, or in areas with minimal ventilation. Place in these areas will drastically reduce energy efficiency and drive-up costs for obvious reasons. Therefore, when looking to buy a used boat or renovate your existing galley, make energy efficiency a primary consideration. When designing the layout of your galley, make it your top priority to keep the refrigerator away from the engine compartment if space and layout permit (generator compartment if that’s an issue, too). The second priority would be to keep the refrigerator away from the hull and where the sun can heat it. The more it’s away from anywhere that sun will beat down on it (such as next to the companionway), the better.


Double-Basin Sink


While this is a subjective opinion, many offshore cruisers prefer to equip their boat’s galley with a deep, double-basin sink. Deeper basins offer a few advantages. The main advantage is to soak your dishes without worrying about water overflowing when the boat rolls. However, if you’re only cooking for a few people, you can manage this with a shallow sink as well. The selling point for most is the double basins. You can use one for washing and draining with two basins while the other serves as a soaking station. After all, efficiency is the game’s name in such a small and limited cooking space. If you aren’t using one of the basins, you can increase your counter space by placing a fitted cutting board or surface over the second basin. Depending on the meal, you may require more space or an assistant in the kitchen.


Locking Cupboard, Drawer, and Oven Latches


Installing lockable latches to anything with a swinging door or a sliding drawer is the best way to prevent things from coming open during a passage. Not only are you risking breaking your kitchenware, but you’re potentially turning ordinary household items into dangerous, high-speed projectiles. These latches are cheap, easy to install, and provide peace of mind for a more relaxed journey.


Vertical Cupboard Dowels


Another infinitely helpful boat galley accessory is vertical dowels, installations to keep glasses in place and prevent breakage. You can also use dowels to stack plates and bowls, although most find the best use to hold their wine glasses and beer mugs. These are an alternative option to using silicone plates and drinkware.


Wall-Mounted Racks


Having wall-mounted racks in strategic locations around the galley can help the chef stay organized and uncluttered without sacrificing accessibility for items like oil and spices. If your wall rack doesn’t have a security band or horizontal dowel to keep items secure, you can easily install a bungee cord to keep things from moving around.


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