Boat Life: Things They Don’t Tell You

Since our sailing adventure to Mexico is officially postponed until the summer of 2017 (thanks to the weather and the powers that be), we decided to take off for a week-and-a-half to cruise around the coast just to get familiar with our sailboat and day-to-day life at sea. Otherwise known as, “Boat Life.” 

Below are a few notes from my experience you may one day find useful.

A little, “Things They Don’t Tell You” list.

It’s not pretty but it’s real life.

Because when you live on a boat, sh*t get’s real.

The “Head”

• Let’s say the compostable head (read: com-pos-ta-ble toilet. Think about it. Yeah, exactly.) is not completely installed. You may find yourself in a bind, especially when you’ve just had a big cup of morning coffee and a bowl of oatmeal.

To add to the equation, there’s no land or marina insight.

What do you do?

Well, when offered a bucket to relieve yourself from inner turmoil, take the bucket as a blessed gift to your bowels.

This is an opportunity to do something different in your life by doo-dooing in said bucket in the cockpit of the boat.

Your thought process may go something like:

“Holy $#!&, I can’t believe I’m taking a dump in a bucket.”


“Wow, this view is pretty magical.”


“Hey, this ain’t so bad.”


“Must dispose of gently overboard…”


“Joy to the world!” with the same vibrato as Clark W. Griswold in Christmas Vacation.

Your perspective on life will change drastically with your newfound source of freedom and you will never be the same again (in a good way).

The alternative? Don’t use a bucket and have a bad attitude all day because you are full of it.

Full. Of. It.


• You have a 36- to 48-hour window, post-shower, for sex.

Since bathing can be irregular (depending on where and when you find harbor facilities) that not-so-fresh feeling will creep in and reroute you both from Loverville straight to Cuddle Town.

Baby Wipes become your savior for all activities of the loins. And one day, you both may actually believe Baby Wipes are all you need for sexy time.

Cussing Like A Sailor

• The phrase “to cuss like a sailor” is well-known for a reason – because it’s &@*##!%$ true!

The only way to communicate the urgency of a situation is to pepper your words.

Any expletive will do.

For example, when the $*#@!^%  jib sheet gets loose and the sail is flapping all over the %*#!^@$ place, you need to get your #@&% $#!% together and pull that #$&!@& in! #^@$!

Waterproof Everything

• Bye-bye wardrobe. And no, turning your car into a closet is not practical.

Due to limited space (hello, 29-by-8 feet of living area), you will not have room for your vintage leather fringe skirt, long peach faux fur vest, and blue suede, six-inch heeled boots.

You’ll wear gear – all the time – and think, “How the hell do I make this look cool?”

This will become your main first-world problem.

Hats become your best friend as do earrings, bandanas, and scarves. They’re easy to stow and will help you look less like a waterproof tourist and more like your stylish self when you finally walk on land again.


• You’ll feel seasickness knocking at your throat and you will say, “Not today, vomit! We are not playing today!”

You will force that nausea away by gnawing on that chunk of ginger you just cut from the root, singing ’90s R&B songs, and staring at the still, nausea-free horizon.

Luddites Unite! Kind of.

• You’ll swear off social media and TV shows, proclaiming you “are over it.”

This is one of the reasons you love sailing after all.

Then, after four to six hours of cruising on day three, you’ll click on Instagram just to “see what’s going on” and find yourself with a giant case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), while everyone posts pictures of Mick Jagger from the Desert Festival show.

The only cure will be an episode or two of The Real Housewives on the Bravo app.

Weeks later, you’ll find the courage to delete Instagram from your phone, but the Bravo, HBO, and Netflix apps will stay.

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