If you’re fishing or water-skiing, you can easily work up an appetite. Boating takes a lot out of you, as do a number of leisure activities. Because of that, it’s convenient and almost necessary to have a little kitchen or galley with you on a boat.
Excited about cooking out on the water?
If you love to cook, check out some of these affordable options of boats with kitchens.
Luckily, some boats already come with a galley and you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a boat with a galley.
1. Scout 350 LXF
It’s a pretty luxurious boat.
But if you strip it down from most of the extra options (like the Fusion stereo system, grill, teak flooring, and electric fiberglass sunshade), you’ll still be left with an amazing boat and a beautiful galley with:
- A Corian countertop,
- stainless steel sink with a pullout showerhead,
- and ice chest.
The rest of the boat is just as spectacular with a retractable fiberglass SunShade awning, two baitwells (one in the leaning post and one in the transom), and two fish boxes (one portside and one on the rear starboard).
At 34’11 inches and a beam of 10’9”, it’s a decent-sized boat with 334-gallon fuel capacity.
2. Grady-White Canyon 376
This is a great center console with a great boat with a galley fit for fishing.
There are some tackle drawers, rod holders, a 41-gallon live well, freshwater washdown, some insulated fish boxes, as well as a microwaved, generator, and a grill right in the cockpit area.
If you’re looking to go out on the water with a few fishing buddies, this is the perfect boat for you.
Beyond the kitchen amenities, it also offers port and starboard bow seating in cushioned, foldaway, forward-facing seats with bolstered backrests. It also has a deluxe lean bar which holds three command elite helm chairs with footrests and bolsters (which flip up).
There is a cockpit side door with a boarding ladder, a transom door, and a lockable center cabin with head, double berth bulk storage, a stand-up shower, and an entertainment center.
This 36’7″ boat is powered by a 1275-horsepower (max) engine and has a 390-gallon fuel capacity.
3. Bayliner Ciera 8
The Bayliner Ciera 8 is beautiful cuddy boat with as much luxury as functionality. It has an excellent cockpit entertainment center, to help with hosting parties on the water.
The forward cabin is comfortable and plush. It can sleep two in the cozy aft-berth but has a capacity for eight people. It also has a shower and a sink to help you stay fresh while you’re out on the lake or bay.
As for as the kitchen is concerned, it has:
- A stainless steel freshwater sink,
- cooler niche,
- Dual voltage refrigerator,
- stove (single burner, alcohol/electric),
- and a trash receptacle.
It comes outfitted with a 250-horsepower ECT 4.5L MPI MerCruiser Sterndrive engine to power the 23’11” boat across the water.
It has an 8’4″ beam and has a fuel capacity of 70 gallons.
4. MJM 29z (in production since 2007)
This roomy boat is great for a weekend getaway or for cruising with your family and friends. It’s fuel-efficient, offers a ton of character, and comes with cherry cabinets, a convertible settee, and a galley!
The V-berth interior and cockpit can seat 10 people and can sleep two. An optional filler cushion can convert the V-berth into a double full-sized bed as well. The shower area and bathroom feature a Vacuflush head with a holding tank that can be pumped-out dockside or offshore (via an overboard discharge option).
It is exceptionally seaworthy and features a stronger and lighter hull by using a composite of epoxy, kevlar, Eglass, and Corecell. This allows it to move faster without compromising its construction.
This baby is powered by a Volvo Penta 260-300 horsepower D4 4-cylinder diesel engine and can get up to 30-35 knots.
5. Albin 43 Trawler
This boat is somewhat of a classic, but she stands the test of time.
Manufactured from 1979 – 1990, she has somewhat of a cult following.
She has a wet bar on the aft port corner and a galley down below, in the two-stateroom configuration. You can usually find her around between $55,000 to $100,000.
There is a teak cockpit with a cockpit shower, teak side decks, and an outboard engine brackets. There is also an electric windlass and a swimming ladder. You can get a bit of cover with the Bimini Top. It offers both a generator and a shore power inlet.
Onboard you’ll find an electronic compass, VHF and a depth sounder to help navigate the area and find out where the best fish are hiding.
This 43′ boat is powered by two diesel Cummins engines with a combined 420-horsepower.
6. Back Cove Pocket Cruiser
They stopped producing these small but comfortable boats in 2009. However, you can still find one, every now and then, in the “Boats for Sale” section of various magazines and periodicals.
This early 2000’s boat comes with:
- A dinette
- and a small galley with a stove,
- countertop cabinet storage,
- built-in microwave,
- drawer and door storage (below the counter),
- and a SS front loading AC/DC fridge.
The galley isn’t the only place on this boat with fantastic amenities.
The cabin boasts of:
- Varnished cherry interior,
- a Lewmar hatch with an OCEANair Skyscreen,
- cedar-lined hanging lockers,
- Teak and holly high-pressure laminate cabin sole (with surface texture),
- Sirius XM-ready Fusion stereo system (with Bluetooth connectivity),
- interior and helm deck speakers and storage everywhere (under the dinette, in the forward berth, and outboard of berth,
- just to name a few.
This 34’2″ boat could either be powered by a few different engines:
- a Yanmar 380 HP,
- a Yanmar 8LV 370 HP,
- a Yanmar LP 315,
- a Yanmar 320 8LV,
- a Cummins QSD 350 HP,
- or a Volvo D6 370.
What is required of a galley?
A galley is a kitchen or a small area on your boat which has kitchen facilities in it. It’s as simple as that.
You might not be able to throw everything into a dishwasher when you’re in a galley in a small cuddy cabin, but you will be able to cook a decent meal and wash up afterward.
Galleys on boats can be fairly simple. An alcohol stove and a cooler might even be considered a galley on a small boat. Bigger boats may even have galleys that look like full-service kitchens in regular-sized houses.
The only things required are accommodations to store and prepare perishable food like dairy products or meat.
For keeping perishables safe:
- A cooler or icebox.
It doesn’t need to be fancy. It can be old-fashioned and low tech, like a cooler with a giant block of ice in the bottom of it. In fact, if you get a portable ice chest and put a seat cushion or pad on top of the lid, you can add to the seating in your galley.
The other option is to have some sort of mechanical refrigeration. The small garage-style or dorm-style mini-fridges might seem like a great option for this but they require a 120-volt AC, which just isn’t optimal on a boat. Instead, opt for a marine-specific mini-fridge. They don’t take up much space (just a bit of counter space) and do a great job keeping perishables safe and drinks cold.
- Thermoelectric Units.
These things are great. Depending on what you need, it will use an electric current to heat up or cool down whatever you put in it. This is great if you’re carrying perishable food home on a hot day. Whether you want to chill your catch of the day or if you purchase some tasty treats while visiting a neighboring dock, the thermoelectric unit can keep your food at a safe temperature.
One tip is to make sure that the door to your refrigeration until can stay shut when the cabin is being tossed around over rough water.
Some come with extra latches. Others come with bungees or cords. Consider the inside of the unit as well. Does it have little cubby holes to prevent your soda from crushing your eggs?
Will you be able to keep everything in place so it won’t explode in your face when you open the door?
For preparing your food:
Preparing food encompasses a lot of responsibilities including washing, cutting, forming, plating, and serving food.
While some foods (sandwiches for example) don’t require much, skimping on some of these things can really limit what you can do out on the water.
- They might come standard in your galley—a regular marble, granite or wooden countertop—or you might need to install some sort of counter for you to use when you prepare your food. There are some wonderful options for counters you can install.
You can even build some yourself with a couple of folding shelf brackets
- Most galleys come with warm- and cold-water faucets at their sinks. The only thing you’re going to have to watch out for is how deep the sink is. If you have water in the sink and you start moving, you don’t want that dirty sink water to splash out and get everything wet.
Depending on your counter space, you might even be able to get a double basin sink installed on your boat. But don’t forget about having some spare counter space for preparing food, and for other kitchen and maintenance tasks.
- Alcohol stoves.
The traditional way for boat stoves to head food is via alcohol. This is the least dangerous (it’s not explosive like other styles) and is the most stable. Alcohol stoves often come in two different styles: the wick type (where you light the wick) or the pressurized type. Both of those options have the additional option of choosing single or double burners.
- Electric Stoves.
Most electric stoves run on 12 volt DC power. However, most marine style stoves use 120-volts AC power, which means that you need to be at a dock in order to use your stove. Unless you have a generator, you won’t be able to use one of these while you’re out on the water.
- Electric—Alcohol Hybrid Stoves.
These give you the option of using either electric or alcohol, which lets you use the stove out on the water and dockside. It is a great option if you like to keep your options open.
- Ovens with multiple burner stoves.
Yes, like the one you have at home. Unfortunately, these are only available for motor yachts and rather large power cruisers.
- Microwave Ovens.
These are so convenient… when you are by land. Most microwaves draw power via small 120-volt AC. They also fit on most counters. The only problem is that you have to use it dockside. However, the pace at which it cooks most food makes it worth it, if you’re not fond of slaving over a small marine stove.
- 12-volt Microwave Oven.
These can draw 12-volt power from your boat but that will take a lot of amps and the unit itself is pretty expensive. If you have a smaller boat, it’s not worth the amps. You wouldn’t want to put unnecessary pressure on your boat while you’re out in the middle of the water. Instead, opt for one of the other portable, more energy-efficient models.
How can you create your own galley on your boat?
Creating your own galley for a lunch out on the lake can be as easy as some fold-out tables, a portable grill, and a cooler or icebox.
However, if you’re looking for something a little more permanent or sturdy (and less likely to shift while you’re traveling to your destination, you have a few choices.
The installation of some flush floor mounts will allow you to put in some table bases and tabletops where you need them. You can also install tables in the rod mounts on the side of your vessel. If you want something less permanent, you can install some removable rail mounts.
Folding brackets can let you install countertops to small spaces, without the fear of having them in your way later on.
As far as refrigerators and freezers are concerned, look into what can fit in your space.
How do you piece together a good galley?
We have a tendency of filling our cupboards and cabinets with things we might need or use but since space is limited on a boat, how do you know what to bring?
The space on your boat is sacred. As you grab things to bring them aboard, think about a few characteristics of each item:
- Is it easy to clean?
- Is it easy to store? Does it collapse or nestle in other things?
- Does the item have more than one use?
- What is it’s purpose? How often will you be using it?
Also, consider only packing as many forks or spoons as there are passengers on your boat. If your boat can only handle four people, only bring four forks.
This will increase the chance that everything will get washed right after its use, instead of having all of it sit in the dirty sink.
Remember that messes attract rodents and bugs. So if you keep a mess when you’re at the dock, you might find a nasty surprise the next time you’re on the water.
Silicone is great because most of the bowls, cups, and baking sheets which are made of silicone can collapse, fold and roll into a smaller space.
This is great for saving space!
They’re also durable, easy to clean, heat resistant, affordable, and they’re pretty darn flexible. Since they come in all sizes and colors, you can find the exact product to suit your needs and your style.
Invest in things which have more than one function.
Multiuse appliances are great for saving space. Depending on when and how you cook, you might even decide to ditch most of your kitchen appliances and go with an Instant Pot instead.
You might not think you’ll need one but it is quite versatile. Even the smallest (the Instant Pot Duo Mini 3 Quart) can make:
- Boiled eggs
There is also a saute function on InstantPots, which makes it suitable as a replacement for pots and pans.
They come in different sizes (3 QT, 5 QT 6 QT, and 8 QT) to help fit your needs.
Don’t actually cook in the galley.
Stoves are great but let’s face it: it’s hot down in the galley and there isn’t much space.
Not only that, cooking in a small space always results in a big mess: splashing grease on the walls, spilling things on the floor, elbowing your fellow boaters, etc.
Instead, opt to bring your grill and cook up top.
How do you store food in your galley?
Make sure you have a system in place. A system of organization can help your galley flow nicely in addition to working and functioning well. If you don’t know where to start, try this:
Separate your food into groups that work well for how you eat and prepare food. Keep the items you use often in accessible areas.
Keep cardboard and labels off of your boat (roaches and earwigs like to lay their eggs in the corrugation of cardboard and in the labels of aluminum cans.
Also remember that when you pack a lot of food, it can impact how your boat runs.
Lastly, here are a handful of boat galley hacks to help your productivity in the kitchen so you can quickly get food ready and clean up. The faster you get that done, the sooner you can get back to having fun, right?
Iceboxes and small marine refrigeration units are great, but they can sometimes be too small for our needs. Get a water filter instead of buying water bottles for your drinking water.
It’ll save room in your cooler and is better for the environment. Instead of buying a case of water, you can buy a small filter for your sink (either under the sink or hooked up to your faucet), or you can get a pitcher filtration system.
In order to help cool down your galley and help air out food smells, get a four-way wind scoop (or an omnidirectional wind scoop) to help ventilation. Try a few fans as well. It should help with the temperature issues and stuffiness that can come with galley cooking.
Try a couple of two-speed cageless fans which move more air at a faster rate.
A small whiteboard to pin up in the galley can help keep you updated on what perishables you have in the fridge. This should help tell you what you’ll need to use up before the weekend boating excursion is over.
No one likes wasting food and sometimes, even in small coolers and refrigerators, you can lose track of the food you have.
Try a double magnet bar pinned to the bulkhead in the galley in order to hold knives. The double magnets have a stronghold to ensure your knives will stay put during rough sees.
A knife block can be heavy and secure enough to stay in place, but knives can still fall out if there is enough ruckus. Knives in a drawer will just move around. The edges will dull at a faster rate and you may end up accidentally cutting yourself if you reach in for something without looking.
Cabin Cruisers, Fishing Boats, and Trawlers. Oh my!
These are a few great examples of boats with galleys. They are roomy and have the headroom as well as the square footage for a decent cooking space.
Cabin cruisers are basically mobile hotel rooms. You can take the entire family out for a short weekend adventure on the water. In addition to that, fishing boats are wonderful when they come with galleys. Perfect for preparing fish right out of the water.
Can’t get fresher than that! Trawlers are great because they’re a little like Doctor Who’s Tardis. They might look squat from a distance but they are much roomier inside.
Having a galley on your boat is helpful for a number of reasons. You’ll get to eat better food when you’re out on the water. If you are fishing, you’ll have a chance to have the freshest grilled fish. You will be able to provide food and cold drinks if you bring along any family or friends.
The option of living on your boat or staying on your boat for the weekend will be much easier.
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Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.