Sailboat Guideline – Only Multiple Use Items Allowed

Since space is a premium when living on a boat, sailors try to find multiple use items to save precious storage. This mantra can lead to some fairly creative multi-purposing of standard items.

Case in point; the ice chest.

As part of her standard charter packaging, LIB was outfitted with a large ice chest which hangs out in the cockpit.  When it is only two of us on board, the ice chest is rarely used for cold storage. But it serves many purposes such as holding fresh water to rinse scuba or snorkeling gear. It can act as a dry container in the dinghy when transporting laundered clothing from shore or perhaps provisions from the local grocery. It is an extra place to sit or a place to store gallons of water.

Sometimes we use the ice chest as a large container to wash clothes because we do not have a washer/dryer on LIB, nor do we have plans to add one.

Now that we will be living on LIB and will use our ice chest more often to wash clothes, Frank decided to modify it to try to make it a bit more self agitating and hopefully create less human agitation. IMG_0596

Plastic cut-outs ready to glue inside the ice chest.

The hope is that when we put clothing, water and soap in the modified ice chest, the plastic edges will act as bumpers and increase the movement of the clothing inside the ice chest thus allowing the clothing to agitate/clean itself while we sail.


Here is a picture of the inserts actually glued into the ice chest.

The modifications to the ice chest are fairly small and will not significantly affect our ability to use the ice chest for other purposes, so this could be an excellent way to improve the washing machine function of our ice chest while retaining its other functionality.

I have some concerns that since our boat is a catamaran and does not heel like a monohull, the agitation inside the ice chest/washer will be insufficient to clean the clothing.  However, if we find that is the case, we could put the ice chest in the dinghy and tow the dinghy for a while when we are sailing.

Surely the bumping and movement of the dinghy, combined with the modifications Frank has made, will be sufficient to bump and clean the clothing….

This may not be the perfect solution to our laundry needs, but in this case, my laziness is the mother of Frank’s invention.

Thanks, honey, for working on making laundry on LIB easier. I sure hope it works!

5 thoughts on “Sailboat Guideline – Only Multiple Use Items Allowed

  1. Ashore, a pestle and mortar was an essential piece of kitchen equipment. Aboard Carina a saucepan and the end of the rolling pin work just as well. Suppers that used to be prepared in three or four pots are now prepared just as well in one or at most two. And I would be lost without my big green plastic bowl which is bread-making bowl, salad bowl, food prep bowl, kid’s toy, etc etc. So many items on board are multi-purpose and I’m sure would amuse the manufacturers to discover what they are now being used for!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I will keep your multi-uses in mind! I am quite sure I have overpacked both clothing and kitchen as I still think like a land based person. I wonder if I will need to have a garage sale of kitchen items once my boxes arrive…


  3. Great re use. We used ammonia instead of laundry detergent because it rinses out easier and is good at removing the stink from cruising clothes that are not washed as often as land clothes.

    Have fun. I am enjoying your blog.


    1. Thanks for the laundry tip, Beverly! I was thinking I would add vinegar but using ammonia sounds like a great idea!
      So glad to hear you like the blog. Positive feedback is welcome! Well almost any feedback is welcome really.


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