Cooking on board can be quite a challenge. Even when you’re anchored at a marina, you can never expect a nice, smooth experience. An impolite, or inexperienced mariner, might decide it’s a great time to zoom by your boat just as you’re working with a pot of boiling water.
The main way to stay safe in the galley is to be prepared for the unexpected to happen. This involves planning the meal prep tasks in advance and thinking them through.
For example, if you’re going to be chopping things up for a dish, use a non-slip cutting board, and cut everything needed all in one go. If there is an area on the boat that allows it, try to sit down while working with knives. It minimizes the chance of cutting yourself if the boat decides to roll. When you’re finished with the knife, clean it and put it away.
The same idea goes for canned supplies that can become projectiles if a sufficient wave comes along. Either get out 1 canned item at a time and make use of it, or if you feel the need to get 2 or more canned items at the same time, put them somewhere safe, such as a sink or a bucket.
If you plan on cooking on a stove, ensure that your pots and pans are going to stay where you put them. Pot restraints can help you keep a pan where you want it to be. They attach to your stove, and if the originals that came with the stove have been lost, find some replacements. You should also be familiar with how your stove gimbal works. Take some time to practice releasing the latch to see how the stove swings. Once you see it in motion, you’ll be better able to judge how it’s going to act in a cooking situation.
You may want to install some handles in the galley to give you something to hang onto when the boat is moving and you’re trying to cook. There are also various straps available that can be installed to be behind your back when you’re cooking. These are intended to keep you from tumbling away from the galley area while cooking. There are inherent pros and cons to each setup, so you’ll have to decide what works best for you.
If your boat has been around for a while, checking to see if all the safety latches on the cupboards are in working order is a good idea. You don’t want a jar of pasta sauce falling out of a storage space at an inopportune moment.
If your galley has an oven, take extra care when opening it. Hot pans have been known to slide. Same thing with the stove—you don’t want to end up with boiling soup on you. Some sailors highly recommend using a pressure cooker pot, depending on what you’re cooking. If you want to cook something in a much shorter amount of time, this will do the trick.
As an added plus, it has an attached lid, so no worries about the contents ending up decorating your space. If you’re only going on a short trip for a few days and have a cooler, or a refrigerator on board, you can cook your mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, etc. ahead of time at home and put them in storage bags to take along. Think of all the time and propane you’ll save!