Liveaboard tricks and tips

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Living aboard a boat is different than living in a house, unless maybe you live in a tiny house! We take no space for granted and have very little room for fluff. A lot of things have to do double duty. I thought I’d share a few of the ways we are doing  just that.

I can not tell you the number of times I have walked away from the fender department in West Marine shaking my head in awe of the price of those round ball shaped fenders. They are anywhere from $50 to $350 a piece! It occurred to me last February as we were preparing to cast off the lines that we were going to need to bite the bullet and buy at least two. Then the memory of my kids bouncing on the Kangaroo Ball led me to an Amazon search. I found the latest version of the same toy. Why couldn’t we use those to fend off the dinghy while it was tied astern? I ordered two, $12.00 a piece, and we put them to the test. They come with their own pump to inflate them. We tested them through the westerly blows that plagued Destin Harbor through the winter months and they did great. The dinghy rode just fine snugged up to the two blue (toy!) balls. I ordered two more for spares and off we went. We might get some stares for our unconventional fender system but the wallet is fatter. They can double as an exercise ball, extra seat or bolster as well!

The makeshift fenders keep the dinghy off the swim platform with no problem.

Staying in shape while cruising could warrant an entire blog in and of itself. I keep my yoga mat on board and confess it has gotten not enough use as a yoga mat but it does have other functions. Mom gave us a rug she was no longer using when I told her I had had to toss one whose rubber backing was deterioating and marking the floors with its rubber goo. For weeks we slipped on that rug and had nearly decided to take it back to Mom when I discovered the yoga mat would make the perfect non-slip pad underneath, plus it cushioned my feet while cooking in the galley! Mac had also used that mat as a weather stripping material for the ac installation last year. When I did take the mat to yoga my instructor was scratching her head at the length! It was a good six inches too short after Mac took the scissors to it.

Dampness and roaches go hand in hand on a boat. If you have one, you will no doubt have the other. We have some problem areas where dampness lurks on Pelican, plus I DESPISE ROACHES! I’m a yankee. I will never get used to them, ever!! My solution came from a conversation with my sister Lynn. She was telling me about a piece of used furniture she bought that reeked of smoke from the prior owner’s habit. We both hate the smell of DampRid, which many people use to get rid of smells and moiture. As an alternative Lynn sprinkled kitty litter in the drawers of the chest and the odor went away. Enter my roach bait hack! I cut the bottom off of water bottles and placed kitty litter in them so I could tuck them into my dampest corners and nooks. But, I was very afraid the kitty litter would attract roaches, so I laced it with about a tablespoon of boric acid.  Not only have the damp areas freshened and dried up but we have seen almost no roaches and absolutely no ants or silverfish.  I replace the mixture about once a month.

I knew I could not go aboard for the entire year and not get my hands dirty. I don’t grow a lot of things at the house but I like to cultivate low maintainance pots and I love lots of shades of green. I took along my flower pouches planted with vincas and they have been thriving since we shoved off the dock. I hang them from the rails with s-hooks and we get compliments on them daily. Shoot me a comment if you want some. I have them available to sell.

This was me still on the dock in Destin, late March, planting my flower pouches with Ben’s help!


My “girls” thrived all summer in my flower pouches hanging off the stern.

Last week I spent the morning helping Mom go through her cedar closet, trying on, refolding and discarding all the clutter that had accumulated. She had two twin bedspreads that we agreed she would no longer use. They are a nice neutral color that matches the interior of the boat. I took them and re-worked them into custom covers for the v berth. I cut them down on the one side to fit the contours of the custom v mattresses and was able to tuck the side panels under the matress to create a nice custom look. The part I cut off I sewed into two long pillow slip type covers that I am using to store the blankets during the day when not in use. When we get to the coldest nights these can be filled with out-of-season summer clothes and set along the side of the hull as bolsters that will serve as a buffer from the cold that clings to the hull.

New digs for the v berth!

This month we are land lubbers. We have battened down Pelican in Shelter Cove and are staying on the Gulf side of life for a few weeks. A stop in Destin to check on the renovation, a night to snuggle with our Gulf Breeze clan, and now settling in at the house for a few weeks. This weekend we will hang around LEE TRACY  and attend Peter Anderson Festival in Ocean Springs. We hope you will stop in and say HI!

One Reply to “Liveaboard tricks and tips”

  1. Lee, Love all your post very good usable hints. We are in Texas for six months will resume in May and spend the summer in Canada. Hugs to you and Mac

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