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Thanks for visiting my site. I have had 3,133,211 hits since August 2013. Wow, and thank you!!!

23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler cruising on $14 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

Here, I share my views on living aboard a small boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!


Celebrate with me: My friend Ken on
 Sparrow made comments work again. His
assistants Erin and Lessa are on the right.

I'll be updating the old pages over the
next couple weeks.  Thank you Ken!!!

Date: 18 July 2017. Small Powerboat Option.


My website has opened me up to new friendships near and far. I post and folks read. Over 3 million so far! That total is beyond amazing to me. I truly am blessed to lead this life. What is even better is when I discover someone mentioning me in an online forum. A fellow boater named Sea Dreaming on Cruiser's Forum said this: CF member janice142 has a blog about life aboard a trawler. Very charming!  I admit I puffed up a notch at that.

That someone I never met reads my site is beyond cool.  This is a sort of legacy few of my generation are privileged to enjoy. Often there is the feeling of being invisible once past the half century mark. I seem have escaped that via my website. I am so grateful folks read my stuff. Gosh though, I wish I was as smart as my Daddy was...

Just last year I met Janice and Marty at the
St. Pete Boat Show. They recognized me and said hello.

It was wonderful to meet them. They are nice folks!

I'm not sure what was scarier: #1) That the photos are current so I really do look like that or, #2) That it is only going to get worse from here on out. The calendar is not my friend!

I don't now about you, but when I look in the mirror I see a much younger and thinner redhead.

Correction: It was in 2015 I met Janice and Marty.
Time surely slips by quickly doesn't it?!?

But I digress...
A woman named Keri was seeking advice regarding a life in paradise aboard a sailboat. That is something I can well understand. I wanted that too. We all want our nirvana. Mine's aboard Seaweed. This is my advice to those wondering if boating would work in your circumstances.

Having a boatload of money is not required.
It's helpful no doubt to have a larger pot of gold.
More money equals more choices.

For those considering a sailboat, I shall be so bold as to suggest a power boat (small!) might be an alternative worth considering. You'll be afloat and the view is spectacular.

The same sights are seen from the aft deck of my 23'er as from the mega-million dollar yacht nearby. Frankly my view is probably better because I can anchor closer to shore.

A dolphin is swimming just off the transom of Seaweed.

As for learning about this life on a limited budget, I do believe you'll find value perusing the rest of my website. I'm doing it and enjoying life so much more than any could imagine. It's been 9 years on this boat. She's almost perfect except for the stuff that is broken, needs upgrading or tweaking.

There is always something that draws my attention. More time is spent diagnosing and figuring out what is wrong than in the actual fix. I like the mental challenge, most of the time.

Also, it is wonderful to have a cadre of friends to call for advice when things are going belly up.

Cheryl and I went to lunch when we were
in Gulfport with our boats. That was fun.

Chatting with other boaters offers perspective. My problem of the moment is not the only occurrence of its kind. Another boater has had a similar event. They know how it was solved. Sharing our triumphs is good. I know I appreciate the guidance when I'm going off course. I tend to look for the complicated solution when there is something easy I could and should try first.

Staying in touch is critical. How I do that is described in the
Lonely No More article. If you only telephone when you want something folks will duck (avoid) your calls.

A simple "I was just thinking about you and wondered how you are doing" phone call can reestablish relationships that have faded. I recommend it.


Contact is important too for sanity's sake. I remember one Christmas where I saw not a living soul. No signs of life, no cars driving in the distance, no boats moving. It was spooky.

Were it not for the cell phone I would have wondered if I had fallen into one of those *TEOTWAWKI scenarios described in the dystopian novels and by YouTube preppers and survivalists! That last Christmas in Carrabelle was a pivotal point in my life. I am grateful I have a boat that will take me out for an afternoon or weeks at a time. Life is good afloat.

*TEOTWAWKI: The End Of The World As We Know It, i.e. doomsday or Apocalypse causing societal collapse and anarchy.


Mother used to say:
The ideal boat sleeps two,
feeds four and drinks six.

I believe that to be true. Mine however sleeps one, feeds two and I don't drink. Finding the right boat is not easy. Deciding what best suits your intended IMMEDIATE use is important.

Don't buy a world cruiser until you have spent time living aboard a coastal boat. Once you know what fits you, selecting your Last Boat will not be overwhelming. You won't be a novice. That boating experience will save you money in the long term. Knowing what you can live with along with what will never work are two items that can make or break this life afloat.

As a woman alone I had a few items on my checklist that were important to me:

  • Diesel engine. I bought a boat with a gasser.

  • I wanted a place to entertain where the fellow would not be staring at my bunk. Didn't want anyone to get any "ideas" you know?

  • See out. No caves. I wanted to be able to sit down and look over the anchorage. Watching nature is an important part of my happiness quotient.

This is my dinette area. I do most of my daytime living here:

Continuing with my list of Must Have's:

  • A convenient head. I'm at an age where that's a part of my night ritual.

  • Be able to go forward in a blow to check my anchor. That is not great aboard Seaweed however I can do it. That's another compromise I made.
  • Not too many steps. I have bad knees (three surgeries) so the up/down thing needed to be curtailed as much as possible.

No boat will meet all your requirements. You'll be choosing what will work and making adaptations. I chose an inadequate boat that did not have all I needed. She had enough, and in the intervening nine years (I bought her on Pi Day 2008) she's almost perfect.

Chartering a boat similar (ideally identical) to your Dream Boat can help solidify your opinions about life aboard that model. Boat layout is important to me. I wanted a galley up. Many wish more space for entertaining with the galley down below.

Ron of Doodle Bug, formerly Aces & Kings, enjoys his
go-fast fishing boat. He steers from the fly bridge.

Ron on the fly-bridge of his Viking40.

Ron likes running his boat from the fly-bridge. Lots of folks do like being up where they can watch the waters. That is especially convenient in areas with coral reefs like the Bahamas. I'm not keen on being in the sun so prefer a pilothouse for inside steering.

Read more, learn more, ask questions, fine-tune your plan and then ask for help implementing it. In the meantime visit YachtWorld for eye candy. See what appeals to you and what you don't like.

This is the view from my galley sink. I love that
lacy Thames River tablecloth turned into a curtain.

As a trawler owner I wanted my galley up so I could see out while cooking and washing dishes. This is also a benefit because of my age. I drink more because it is convenient to get out a beverage from my reefer aka refrigerator. If the reefer were down below I don't know that I would "feel like" going up and down steps just to get something to wet my whistle.

My friend, looking for his Last Boat, wants a covered cockpit. He calls it his back porch and imagines himself sitting back there reading his Kindle. Yep, you guessed it: he's been in my cockpit reading and found it very relaxing.

I've rattled on a bit. This life is possible however you need to absolutely have the correct boat. I believe for me (and possibly you too) that a power boat, houseboat or even shanty-boat might be an option to consider. I love love love my Seaweed.

I can well imagine living out my days aboard her. She's not fancy. Seaweed is my home, my shelter, my safety and my happiness. I would not want to live anyplace else.

Good luck to all those seeking their Dream Boat. I hope you find your happiness and bliss. I have!

Important Addendum: "THANK YOU KEN for making comments work again."

I'll be updating/changing all the rest of the pages over the next week or three to the new link. He did it. I am so happy. Thanks Sparrow! You're the best.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the
Small Powerboat Option page.

Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Locations,


Announcement: I did start a few months ago emailing notices to readers when new articles go up. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.

My Cruising Kitty earns money each time you buy on Amazon through my links. It costs you nothing and helps supplement my cruising funds. I appreciate it so much when you click through my site's Amazon links. It really does help keep me afloat.

Thank you.


Pets of the Week: Erin and Lessa
aka Princess and Thunderfoot
aboard S/V Sparrow

Submit your pet's photo.
Please email pictures of your crew!

More canine, feline and feathered crew members can be found on the The First Mate Gallery page.


The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix. She weighs in at 4 pounds 3 ounces.

Coming soon ...

Making a pattern for an Alternator Bracket


Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world. Inside every boater is a story. Let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

For the novice, here's how to write: Simply pretend you're sending a letter to a friend. Tell about an event or a memory from years ago that you still recall.

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard. Personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower. Kids were kids and our families often shaped the adult we have become. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Parrot or a macaw

  • Electric food dehydrator

  • Any picture of boats underway or at anchor

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing -- I'd prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


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