We are Cruising!
Thirteen (13) Things to Know Before You Sail to the Bahamas

Food Storage on a Sailboat

We’ve lived aboard for nearly nine years, and food storage was an early priority. On the day we toured the boat, i let EW know that if he wanted to eat I was appropriating most of the port settee area for food storage. P1260039 Since that time, I’ve been refining my storage system and accumulating more space for food items. EW insists on eating every day.

I’d planned food storage, purchased shallow tubs to help keep items from spilling, cleaned and painted the compartment and thought we had it right. The long settee (couch and spare single bed) along the port side had quite accessible storage underneath. Galley items take up two thirds of the space, and I graciously allowed EW to use the other third for heavy tools. (See, I can be flexible.) In order to get to the space, we would  lift or bend the cushion, hold up the plywood cover with one hand, or have a helper hold it as we found and removed our items.  Or we removed all three cushions and the plywood to allow for hands-free access.


P1260041 It never occurred to me that there was a better way until we got the insurance survey back. That survey requires us to screw or fasten all lids and floorboards that could fly if LaLuna goes the wrong way up in a big storm. We don’t expect to be in that situation, but EW worked in Fort Lauderdale to comply with the insurance company. He knew screwing down that settee cover wasn’t going to work as I need to get into it at least once a day. The solution was to attach a hinge to the back of the board and slide bolts to the front to lock the board in place.

The photo at left shows the area – and gives you a preview of the the ultimate solution.


As he was planning the project, I had a brainstorm. (Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it causes heavy sighs and much eye-rolling.) This time it was a good thing – it meant more work for EW but he was cheerful about it.

I asked him to hinge the galley cover so that it would open over each storage compartment, not along the whole length of the settee. Then I asked him to hinge it 5 inches out from the back of the settee, to allow the seat cushion to stay up in back. It was brilliant, I tell you. Brilliant!

P1260042 Since we are at sea, with few power tools, EW used his very special Japanese hand saw and patiently cut the board into four sections:

  1. The section over his tools, which we needed to have open fully.
  2. One piece along “my” two-thirds, 5 inches wide.
  3. The two lids over the galley section.

At right, Tools and Galley One are open and all cushions are removed.

How I wish we’d thought of this 8 years ago! This complies with our safety requirements, preventing cans and tools from flying  around the boat in the event of a knock down. Since I don’t anticipate a knock-down, I am more thrilled with the ease of access I now have under the settee.




The photo at left shows one easily opened cupboard with all cushions still on the settee. That works for quick access. When I am storing or digging for supplies, I can take the two back cushions off and the lids and settee seat stay up.


As EW says, “We eat tonight!”


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marcia nixon

Pure genius! Well done!

Howie Hart

Hi Barb - For a good space saver, keep good quality tomato paste on hand (Contadina) . You can reconstitute it with water, add a few dry seasonings and viola - decent pizza or pasta sauce.


excellent post ! thanks for shareing the good info.


LOL, I just noticed the can of Spam in the pict. Excellent long term survival food. Spam rules !

Barbara Hart

Thanks for the idea, Howie. I have never thought of that. Blonde. Really Blonde.

Barbara Hart

Thank you for the comments, Ray. Glad you caught the Spam. EW threatens to serve it and I threaten him with Vienna Sausages. I still can't believe that I'm eating Valveeta - plastic cheese.

Mark Brown

That's ingenious and space saving. I have a question though, does this kind of storage lengthen the shelf life of food? And yes, I do think that's spam.


Would love to know exactly which "very special Japanese saw" , and if it is still going strong?

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