In a lot of ways, living on a boat is a lot like living on land. Although there are lots of similarities, there are a few things we need to do a little differently as well. Below you will see the highlights but you can read more about each item by clicking the button.
We use propane gas for cooking but the rest of the energy for living on Wild Horses comes from the batteries, fueled by lots of solar panels.
Wild Horses has a TV which we use to project streaming content. And, of course, we have our cell phones with lots and lots of data...
Inside Wild Horses we have an oven and three burner stove, fed by propane. Outside, we have a BBQ attached to one of the stern rails. We also have a fairly large top loading freezer and a small front loading fridge, about the size of half of regular-sized fridge.
With all of our grey water going directly into the lake or ocean, we use environmentally friendly products or just plain vinegar + water for dishes and cleaning throughout the boat.
On Wild Horses we have cupboards, a dresser, pantry etc. but we also have lots of storage in behind and under seats and under our floorboards. Every space is maximized!
The nitty gritty.
More details on our Gas, Electric & Water
Unlike on land, utilities on a boat have to be created and conserved. Actually, that isn't 100% true. It is really a tale of two cities - life at dock and life at anchor. At dock, we can fill up our water tanks as often as we want and we can use as much power as we choose. Both come at a cost of course. At anchor, all is free but not as easily obtained. We use propane for our stove and the energy for our lights, TV, refrigerator and to power our electronics comes from our batteries. We have several solar panels that feed into our batteries, which keep us sitting pretty as long as we have sunny days. With our current set up, we cannot make our own water but one of our boat projects is to put in a water maker (it is purchased but still needs to be installed). We have also installed 2 six kilowatt lithium ion batteries so that we don't have to worry about power usage if the sun doesn't shine for several days.
More details on our TV & Communication
We have a TV on Wild Horses (yeah!) but no cable or satellite access. In this age of great streaming content, this isn't a big deal as long as we have data or access to free wifi. Even on land, we have done away with the land line so our cell phones (with lots of data) are our link to connecting with friends and family, and for TV-based entertainment. We both have local SIM cards with lots of data on them.
More details on our cooking facilities
I have to admit, I actually prefer cooking on Wild Horses than on land. The three burner stove is easy to work with and having it gas-fed is ideal. Essentially, I can cook everything and anything on the boat that we would on land. No compromises. This isn't to say that it is the same, however. Of note is the top-loading freezer. Before I embark on cooking a meal, I try to make sure that I have everything I need from the freezer. Why? Because the lid for the freezer is also part of my workspace (please don't ask me for ice for your drink while I am in the midst of dinner prep work! You WILL get the side eye!). We are very lucky to have a large-ish front-loading fridge. My only compromise here is that, like everything on the boat, we need to conserve energy. This means no holding the fridge open while we try to figure out what to eat or where it is in the fridge. Nope! All food has its normal place in the fridge so it is easy to find. We also keep an inventory of its contents so we know when we are getting low on a favourite item or if something needs to be eaten soon. No food waste! (see the details on cleaning as to why this is important)
In the summer, our favourite is using the stern BBQ. Again, no compromises here. If everything doesn't fit on the BBQ, we can supplement by cooking a few things on the inside stove.
More details on cleaning stuff on Wild Horses
Ah, cleaning. Not my favourite activity on the boat or on land! But a necessary evil, of course. On the boat, it is actually more essential so it tops my to-do list every day. Why so critical? Bugs, humidity, dog hair and lack of space. The bugs and humidity are self explanatory. Nobody wants them and the best way to ward them off is to keep your living space, bilges, cupboards etc. clean, clean, clean. Dog hair is also something we battle with daily. Ocean is a German Shepherd so we see lots of dog hair! It isn't just about keeping things clean but also about keeping drainage, gear and essential mechanisms unclogged. You want your bilge pump to be ready to work and not clogged with dog hair! We (i.e. Mike) dusts and vacuums every day and it sometimes feels like we are winning the war. Last, but not least, space. Our boat isn't small but it still doesn't allow the luxury of sloppiness. The boat seems bigger with everything in its place AND it is safer. You know exactly where something is when you urgently need it. And, you are not tripping over anything to get to it.
More details on our storage
When we lived on land, we had lots of storage space, which, let's be honest, can lead to lots of clutter. With Wild Horses, we have to be far more conservative with our "stuff". Although our boat is a good size at 47 ft., storage space is still at a premium. Every cupboard, shelf, dresser, and hanging locker is maximized, plus we have storage under seats, behind seats and, yes, under the floorboards. But it isn't just about the actual space for our storage, we also have to take care of HOW we store stuff. Humidity and condensation can wreck havoc on electronics, cardboard boxes, dog food etc. Therefore everything we store, is removed from its original packaging and placed in a sealed and water resistant container (plastic boxes, ziploc bags, dry sacks).