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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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Old 02-21-2010
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What Equipment is a Must Have for Living Aboard?

I am in the process of getting my boat ready for living aboard and I have to equip it for life afloat (love that blog by the way Eryka). So here's my wish list and again this for living aboard not necessarily long distance or off shore cruise. Some bacground info. It's a 33 ft Morgan OI, located Chesapeake Bay, berthed in a condo marina with full facilities. I have a steady income, but not a war chest to knock all these at once so I'm looking for a rating in order of necessity.

-Refrigeration (have a built in ice box)
-Hot Water Heater
-Stove/Oven
-Composting Toliet (I think the old head is in need of replacement soon, it stinks)
-New Dodger (in bad shape)
-New Bimini (showing it's age)
-New Cushions in V-berth, Quarter Berth, Salon & Settee

So what would you do first, second or without if you were me?
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Old 02-21-2010
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The first four are pretty mandatory unless you want to "Camp out", everyday at the condo facilities.
-Refrigeration (have a built in ice box)
a. Need ice everyday to keep things cool, or keep things in an ice chest.
1.Can buy an Engel refrigeration portable system.
b. go to the store each day for the food items
c. Eat foods that do not require refrigeration

-Hot Water Heater;
a. use condo for washing body and dishes.
b. Heat water on stove ( see next item.

-Stove/Oven
a. Get camping stove until funds allow real stove.
b. buy used stove from Craiglist or Sailorman (or like store)
c. eat out every meal
d. Eat only food that does not require heating.

-Composting Toilet (I think the old head is in need of replacement soon, it stinks)
a. Stinky head could be other problems besides the head. Joker valve or new hoses or both. Both reasonable cheap to fix.
-New Cushions in V-berth, Quarter Berth, Salon & Settee - make them yourselves.

-New Dodger (in bad shape) & New Bimini (showing it's age) Both can be solved to provide shade with canvas or plastic boom tent cover while at the dock. Less than $50 at Home Depot or Lowes.
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Old 02-21-2010
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the berth you plan to sleep in is a no brainer. do it now. we waited 6 months to address it and now rue every night we didn't have our froli and new foam.

The mattress we got from over stock.com, the serta 4" (3" firm, 1" memory) for around 100 bucks. We got a king size and cut it down with the electric knife. Cover it with mattress pads and then sheets. when ever you get all the cushions replaced you can have the mattress covered to match if you wish.

The froli is worth every penny. Its a spring system for under the foam mattress.

it makes ALL the difference in the world having a comfy bed!
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I disagree about the refrigerator, I think that is unnecessary (but by all means, if you want it, get it)

Cheese, eggs, butter, jam, etc, are all fine without refrigeration.

Meat can be put in canning jars.

What else is there in a refrigerator that is so necessary ?
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It all depends. I'd vote for the Bimini and Doger. The cocpit is our largest room, being without it when it rains would not be nice.


But sleeping is first, get that set up then everything else.
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Old 02-22-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Har View Post
I am in the process of getting my boat ready for living aboard and I have to equip it for life afloat

-Refrigeration (have a built in ice box)
-Hot Water Heater
-Stove/Oven
-Composting Toliet (I think the old head is in need of replacement soon, it stinks)
-New Dodger (in bad shape)
-New Bimini (showing it's age)
-New Cushions in V-berth, Quarter Berth, Salon & Settee

So what would you do first, second or without if you were me?
Let me preface my remarks by saying that I had little to no experience in sailing or living aboard until 6 months ago when I bought my Cal 28 ...

From your remarks, I take it you know your own boat ... and will be living aboard by yourself.

My first recommendation would be to make any major modifications BEFORE moving aboard ... it takes 3 times longer and so much more energy to attempt to get them done afterwards as you will always have 'stuff' in the way ... AND be trying to live there at the same time.

That said ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarafinadh View Post
the berth you plan to sleep in is a no brainer. do it now.

The froli is worth every penny. Its a spring system for under the foam mattress.

it makes ALL the difference in the world having a comfy bed!
I fully agree ... it turned the V berth from shades of an underground bunker in Vietnam ... to a cozy bed ...

How you do the galley depends alot on how you intend to eat ...

I went thru stages ... canned goods from Costco ... added a $10 hot plate to cook on ... and a $5 compact microwave (that Sarafina found at Salvation Army) ... that allowed something hot ... added a toaster oven to bake ... a Smokey Joe to grill ... keeping some perishables in the icebox (eggs keep much longer than you might believe ... and cheese and veggies) ... we got a great deal on a Norcold 12/110 3cu ft refrigerator ... (there went the hanging locker) ... but now I have milk and some frozen goods ... and Trader Joe meals to cook/nuke ... along with cold juice and some semblance of civility and culture ... and can even entertain ...

As for the stove/oven ... little space on the Cal 28 dictates the single burner hot plate ... but the micro and toaster oven work well ... and we've added a camping stove so that we can cook when not 'plugged in' ... the grill adds variety as well

As for hot water ... I seem to side with Melrna although adding hot water is on the list of projects

With regards to the composting toilet ... here's a rather complete discussion link here composting toilet report and on cruiser's forum ... Composting Toilets - Cruisers & Sailing Forums ... it looks as if we'll be adding one very shortly ... probably something based upon this ... Ecovita Privy Kit ... tho' if you are living alone ... and don't mind running up to the marina in the middle of the night ... it might find it's way abit further down the list ...

I would definitely add lighting ... to read relax and work by ... but you probably have a handle on this already ... along with music ... (I have found that my daily addition of Rachel Maddow, The Daily Show and Colbert has been replaced by tying knots ... and reading these forums ... but that's just me) ... AND I would also insure that you have at least one area where you normally sit ... with a redone cushion ... very comfortable cushion

I can't comment on the bimini and dodger as I don't have one ... I did at first ... want a 'privacy screen' for the cockpit ... but found that I enjoy the openness (except a wind-break would be nice when it gets chilly in the evening) ...

Lastly ... don't take aboard too much stuff ... less is better ... and everything in it's proper place always ... so you can find it (working on an excel spreadsheet system to stow and retrieve it all) ...

Hope that helps in some way ... and enjoy it ...

quick add ... always keep a list of things you want to acquire ... and their value ... new and used ... find marine flea markets (almost every yacht club in the San Francisco area seems to have one during sailing season ...) AND ... a good resale/consignment shop ... you can save much of that warchest ... and enjoy doing it as well ...
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Last edited by Cal28; 02-22-2010 at 02:46 AM. Reason: adding additional link on composting head
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Old 02-22-2010
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The point to understand is this just to live aboard, or will it be used for some sailing. If just a complete liveaboard then, you just consider it an apartment of a small size, and equip it with those items which are needed for living, bedroom, eating area, kitchen area, with those items needed, TV, DVD, good cooking stove, microwave oven, space for day to day storage for clothing and food. As for the Morgan you will also have to come up with a weekly program, of cleaning the inside hull and bilge to stay ahead of moisture and mould, I speak from experience. So fridge and stove are the most important. This is something which will come very clear in the first two weeks.
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In addition to "camping out" in the marina shower facilities, if you happen to belong to a gym, it is fairly normal to go to the gym in work-out clothing, then shower, shave, etc. and dress for work in most facilities. I did this (not living aboard, but due to work and transportation schedule) for almost a year with no problems.
Funny, but I also found workable mattress deals via Overstock, and have them footnoted for my re-cushion plans as well.
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Clarify...will you be staying at the dock long term?

Because if you are cruising, your refer will need power and a lot of it. You didn't mention batteries and charging sources so I'll assume you are staying tied to the dock
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Old 02-22-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Har View Post
I am in the process of getting my boat ready for living aboard and I have to equip it for life afloat (love that blog by the way Eryka). So here's my wish list and again this for living aboard not necessarily long distance or off shore cruise. Some bacground info. It's a 33 ft Morgan OI, located Chesapeake Bay, berthed in a condo marina with full facilities. I have a steady income, but not a war chest to knock all these at once so I'm looking for a rating in order of necessity.
In order of priority for living aboard:

-New Cushions in V-berth, Quarter Berth, Salon & Settee

If you don't sleep well, the rest of your day is pretty miserable.

-Refrigeration (have a built in ice box)
-Stove/Oven


I'd second the Engel, as they're great. You don't need much of refrigerator if you shop right, but having one for cold drinks and the few perishables you do want aboard is priceless. Also, gotta eat...so need a stove/oven. I prefer propane over diesel or alcohol, just because it is some much easier to use.

-Composting Toliet (I think the old head is in need of replacement soon, it stinks)

Chances are good that the stink is the hoses. Composting heads are rather expensive, and you could rebuild the head and plumbing on your boat for considerably less. Also, composting heads do have some disadvantages, like needing to be left unused for 30 days to fully compost any human waste...

-New Dodger (in bad shape)
-New Bimini (showing it's age)


These are nice for making the cockpit much more liveable, especially under sail.

-Hot Water Heater

Not really necessary, especially if your marina has showers. Using a shower aboard the boat just adds a lot of humidity and can cause mold/mildew problems unless the boat has a dedicated shower. A solar shower can go a long way to replacing a hot water heater, especially in the summertime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xort View Post
Clarify...will you be staying at the dock long term?

Because if you are cruising, your refer will need power and a lot of it. You didn't mention batteries and charging sources so I'll assume you are staying tied to the dock
I'd point out that I run my Engel 24x7 off of the solar panels and keep my boat on a mooring.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 02-22-2010 at 09:15 AM.
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