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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: I have had over 3,000,000 website hits
since I started writing back in August of 2013. Thank you!!!

Date: 23 April 2017. Buying a Big Boat (part 2)


The introductory article Buying a Big Boat (part 1) tells how Pete and Deb are exploring boating. They are deciding if this life is something they would like to pursue. Like smart people everywhere they are taking classes and learning all they can before making a final decision.

As we mature, at least for me, the boating fun is found most often in a life of decadence. I'm a big proponent of having the most comfortable boat you can afford. Then make her better. Nine years ago Seaweed had potential. She was however an Inadequate Boat. It has taken literally years to get to this point. I must admit the here and now is mighty fine.

Life aboard Seaweed is better than I ever imagined.


Please don't expect any boat you buy to be walk-on ready to live life at anchor. You'll need to familiarize yourself with her systems first. There will be oddities the Previous Owner did that you will wish to unscramble.

Often I hear "We don't want to be dock queens but rather live on the hook as much as possible just like you do." This is common and it is a goal to work toward.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Initially new live-aboard boaters SHOULD BE dock queens. Get to know the systems in comfort with a power cord providing unlimited power. Learn where you have ready access to supplies, advice and help.

C-Quarters Marina is a friendly place. Cap'n Kim
who works there made me feel right at home.
She provides weather forecasts for the Loopers
getting ready to cross the Gulf of Mexico too.

Life on the hook is not for brand new boaters. Those that can afford it should plan to spend a couple months getting ready while dockside.

I recommend a marina with congenial boaters. Making the transition will be easier if you are with other folks who have been there and done that, just as you are doing now.

Meeting friends for breakfast at McDonald's is fun too.
 Ruwan, Nishan, me and Tracy had a lovely chat
 the day my water pump died. I needed that too!

A marina also offers options. You're not having a good day? Go to a restaurant, spend the night at a hotel, and/or visit another boater on your dock. Having an "out" makes staying aboard a CHOICE not a requirement.

Being on a vessel at anchor when things are going belly up is definitely not for a new-to-the-boating world couple. That is almost always a recipe for disaster.

Most boats are not set up for extended life at anchor. Many of the newer boats have generators. You will also want multiple ways to generate power, including a solar array.

Having a built in diesel generator is a very good thing.

Side Note: I am a firm believer in having the ability to recharge my battery bank in a variety of ways. Some ways you might consider are via solar panels, a wind generator, a portable generator and/or the alternator on your engine.

I believe solar is a good adjunct to a generator. With enough solar panels, the sun might be your sole source of power. I have 445 watts of solar atop Seaweed. All of my power needs and wants are provided by the solar panels, except I cannot run my 5k BTU room air conditioner. That requires a generator.


Solar panels, with a Large battery bank are "the way to go" in my view. Solar power is virtually trouble free. No hassle, and just monitor your battery bank. An inverter will turn your battery power into AC.

On Seaweed solar powers everything except the air conditioner.


Affiliate Link

MorningStar ProStar PS-30M PWM Solar
Battery Charge Controller, 30 Amp 12/24 Volts


I have a Morningstar ProStar-30 aboard Seaweed. It allows me to see how much power I'm putting into my batteries. Of course an MPPT solar regulator would be ideal. It's also a bit more pricey than I can manage at this time.

For details on solar regulators read the
Solar Regulators
(Standard vs. MPPT)


If you are planning on life away from docks and anchoring in remote spots, solar is a good addition to your power plan. I recommend it.

Thank you for reading. Part Three will be uploaded shortly.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the Buying a Big Boat (part 2) page.

Categories: Characters, Comfort, Gear, Locations, Recommendations,


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.


Pet of the Week: Erin
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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