How To Kit Out The Perfect Cabin And Galley

Happy boating requires three things from your cabin and galley: comfort, economy of space and durability.

Quite simply, life on the ocean doesn't have to be hard graft all the time – it pays to give yourself more than just the basic trappings so you can enjoy your time afloat, whether it’s just on a day-trip fishing, or even if you’re heading offshore for a few weeks, you should make sure those on board are kept comfortable as far as possible.

But comfort on a boat has to go hand-in-hand with clever use of your space. Chances are you’re not going to have much room to spare so you have to make every square inch work for you. This is where great design comes in, and it’s important to source the very best designs so you’re not cluttering your storage space with pointless gadgets or appliances you’re hardly ever going to use.

And thirdly, whatever you stock on board needs to be tough. You’re going to put your crockery, utensils, appliances and cookware through far more rigorous conditions than you would at home so you need to be certain that they’re going to be able to stand up to the tests imposed by frequent use and potentially harsh weather.


Probably your biggest concern if you’re living on board or at least taking the boat out frequently overnight, is going to be space. A messy boat is not just tough to live in, it’s also unsafe – for example, no-one wants to be slipping over on discarded shoes or clothing if you have to get out of the cabin in a hurry and there’s nothing more likely to cause an injury in the galley than unsecured pots, pans, bottles and tins in the case of bad weather.

Make sure you’ve got a full supply of containers for anything which might come loose and cause a mess or, even worse, break. This includes smart, space-saving options like wall-mounted storage nets, gear hammocks and cargo nets; waterproof bags and for electrical goods, phones and tablets; hard-sided protective cases for your more precious computerised equipment and valuables; drybags for clothes and gear you want to transport between the boat and shore; and purpose-designed containers for water, soap, cleaning products and crockery.

Keeping cool

When it comes to storing fresh food, the important thing to avoid is spoilage – it’s not only a waste of money, but it also creates rubbish, which in turn takes up space while you find somewhere to dispose of it. Of course, how you decide to keep your food fresh – whether you want to keep something cool or whether you want full refrigeration – depends on how many people you are catering for and how long you are going to be away from somewhere where you can restock. If you’re just heading away for the day in a small boat, then a cool bag, ice box or chilly bin will probably do the trick. If you’re away overnight and there’s just the two of you and you’ve got a 12V then supply, then there are portable fridges which range in size from around 20 litres up to around 45 litres – more than enough for a bottle of wine, a carton of milk and your eggs and bacon for breakfast. And then, if you’re after, installing some serious equipment you can choose from drawers and small galley fridges up to 190 litre fridge freezers. Just remember that, even if you’ve got the best model in the marina, it still makes sense to have an ice box on hand if you’re going fishing – no one want their veggies sharing shelf-space with a catch of snapper.

Now we’re cooking

Again, choosing your cooking equipment is dependent on the size of your boat, how many people you’re cooking for and what you use the boat for. If you’re into inviting other boaties over for the occasional dinner and you’ve got space to sit more than six people, you might decide that you need something with a stovetop, grill and oven. Alternatively, if there’s only two of you and you have limited space, then a fitted two-burner stove, a combination sink and stove, or a camping stove might suffice. Other options include table-top or rail-mounted barbecues – perfect if you’ve just caught dinner.

Serving suggestions

Your glassware and tableware need to be hard-working and practical but still have to look the part for when you’re inviting people over for evening drinks. That’s where non-slip bases, stackable tumblers and melamine dinner services come in. And if you want great looking “glassware” look for ranges made of polycarbonate – you can find anything from champagne flutes to gin and tonic tumblers – which look like fine crystal but are sturdy enough to go in a microwave or a dishwasher and won’t shatter.

And when it comes to finding the appliances for preparing food and keeping everything clean and tidy in your galley, you’ll need to consider the basics (like stove-top kettles, smart stackable pots and pans) as well as some of the finer accessories (like wet-and-dry vacuum cleaners, range hoods).

Best of the rest

Living in comfort on board your boat doesn’t necessarily mean having all the trappings that you’d be used to at home. But, in some cases, a small thing can make a big difference to your time afloat.

For example, a clock, barometer or weather station can help you work out when’s best to sail on to the next port of call.

And fitting your cupboards and work surfaces with non-slip mats will help prevent breakages, injuries and all the mess that’s associated with spillages.

If you are kitting out a new boat or refitting your old boat and need advice on what's available to create a great new galley and cabin area - whatever your budget and you need some more help, phone us on 0800 102041, email us, or Livechat with one of our staff via the website.