Here is a “kitchen sink” list of considerations in planning the galley aboard your boat. This checklist draws on the experience of the 18 contributors to the "Galley Advice from 18 Cruising Women" article. Use this list as you:
- think about what you want in your galley (and what you don't want...)
- evaluate the galley in boats you are considering buying
- plan modifications and outfitting of the galley and eating areas
Please don't think that the perfect galley has everything on this list - these are just all the options. If you read the "Galley Advice from 18 Cruising Women" article, you will learn that simple is often best, and many appliances and gadgets may not earn their space aboard for you.
- view the checklist items on this page
- or download the checklist in PDF format, print it out and use it to make notes (about the boats you look at, or about what you do and don't want in the galley, or as you read the advice of our 18 Galley Contributors...).
- Is the galley u-shaped or alongside/bench? Can you secure or wedge yourself in to work in rough conditions?
- Is the galley a dedicated space or does it also provide access to the engine compartment or aft cabin? Can you cook in the galley while an engine room maintenance project is underway?
- Is the galley up or down (relevant to catamarans and powerboats with multiple levels)?
- Does the galley share a wall with the engine room (may get HOT when engine is run)?
- Is the galley near the cockpit or is there a way to pass food and drinks through to the cockpit easily?
- Can you move safely from the galley to the cockpit underway?
- Is there good air flow through the galley, including when underway or when it's raining?
- Are there dorades or vents that exhaust galley air?
- Are there opening ports or hatches in the galley?
- Do you have one or more conveniently-located fans or can you add one, either permanently or temporarily?
- How much counter space do you have? Does it double as a lid for the fridge, freezer, or storage locker?
- What is the counter top made of? Is it easy to clean? Can you place a hot pot on it?
- Do you have a fold-down counter (or could you make one) to provide extra counter space when needed?
- Do counters have fiddles on the edges so that dishes don't fall off underway or in rough conditions?
- Do you have a good cutting board (could be built-in or a sink insert)?
5 Storage space
- How much storage area do you have in the galley for your dishes, cooking staples and cookware (drawers, shelves, cabinets, lockers?) -- The kinds of dishes and cookware that you use affect the storage spaces you will need and vice versa.
- How much usable space do you have near the galley for storing provisions and less-used cookware?
- Where will you store your spices, cookware, cooking appliances, glass wine glasses if you choose to have them?
- Can you get into your primary food lockers under way without everything falling out?
6 Stove & oven
- How many burners does the stove have?
- Does the stove have an oven and/or broiler? Is the oven large enough to bake bread or a small turkey?
- Is the stove gimbaled so that you can operate it underway at a heel? Does it swing freely on its gimbals?
- Does the stove have moveable brackets to hold pots and pans in place?
7 Stove fuel
- What fuel does the stove use (propane, kerosene, alcohol, CNG, electric)?
- Is there a shut-off solenoid for the propane to the galley?
- How much propane can you carry? Is there a good sealed propane locker that is vented overboard?
- Do you have the type of regulators that may be required internationally?
- Do you have the adapters needed to fill your propane tanks in other countries?
- How many sinks do you have? Are they large enough, deep enough, and appropriately shaped for your largest pots?
- Where is the sink located relative to the waterline? Will the sinks backfill or gurgle when the boat is heeled?
- Do you have headroom over the sink so that you can comfortably wash dishes? (Oddly, some boatmakers have placed a cabinet over the galley sink so that you can't lean over it!)
- Are your water faucets pressure-driven (using an electric pump)?
- If so, do you have a manual hand or foot pump as a backup in case the pump fails?
- Do you have a salt-water faucet in the galley (foot or hand pump or pressure-driven)?
- Does your faucet have one or two handles (eg a mixing handle for hot/cold water can be quickly turned on/off with one hand saving water)?
- Does your faucet have a spray hose and nozzle?
10 Water system
- How much water can you carry? How many tanks do you have?
- Do you have a hot water heater? Is it 110volt, propane?
- Is your hot water heater plumbed into the engine cooling system so that running the engine heats the hot water heater?
- How old is the hot water heater? How long will it be before it starts leaking and you have to try to replace it?
- Do you have a watermaker?
- Do you have filters between your tanks and galley faucet (or connected to the faucet)?
- Do you have good lighting to work in the galley?
- Do you have suitable lighting for eating dinner in the cockpit?
- Do you have a fridge?
- Do you have a freezer?
- If you have both, are they separate boxes or combined in one unit? (Separate boxes can provide some redundancy if one fridge breaks down.)
- Are the boxes well-insulated? Is the top insulated? Can more insulation be added if needed?
- Are they top-opening and/or front-opening?
- How large are the boxes? Can you reach the bottom of the boxes? Especially with top-loading boxes, can you organize them with bins or shelves to get to items easily?
- Can you easily open the fridge and get things out of it while underway in rough weather? If front opening, can you open it when the boat is heeled (monohulls) without everything falling out? (eg Is there a lip to hold items on the shelves? Does the door open forward/aft or to port/starboard?)
- How are the fridge and/or freezer powered? They may be DC (12 or 24 volt) or AC (110 or 240 volt), engine-driven, or run on propane.
- What kind of cooling does the fridge/freezer use (sea water pump, keel cooler, air)? Can you operate the system when the boat is out of the water?
- Can you leave the fridge/freezer running unattended for several days while you are away?
- Can you make ice? Can you keep ice? Can you keep ice cream frozen?
- How much power do the fridge/freezer draw? Will you have to run the engine or generator daily to keep up?
- Do you have a thermometer with a display mounted outside the box so that you can easily monitor the temperature without opening the box?
- What electric appliances will you use? Are they DC (12 or 24 volt) or AC (110 volt or 240 volt)?
- Do you have a microwave?
- How many amps do your AC electric appliances draw? Will you power them with an inverter, generator, or only use them at the dock?
- How do you generate electricity? Do you have an inverter, generator, solar panels, wind generator?
- Do you have a safety strap to hold you in place in rough conditions?
- Do you have or need a safety bar to keep you from falling into the stove in rough conditions?
- Do you have a way to put out a galley fire (fire extinguisher and fire blanket)? In the event of a galley fire, can you get to the fire extinguisher from the galley and from outside the galley?
- Can you safely get out of the galley if you had a flare-up at the stove?
- Do you have well-placed hand-holds in the galley and between the galley and cockpit?
15 Eating area
- Where will you be eating your meals? Do you have a good usable dinner table and seating? How many guests can you have to dinner – does the table expand for dinner parties?
- Do you have a good usable, easy-to-set-up cockpit table so that you can eat meals in the cockpit? How many people can you comfortably seat in the cockpit for dinner or happy hour?