Cruising Mom: Carolyn Shearlock
Boat: S/V Barefoot Gal a 1999 M 34’ Gemini
Crew: husband, Dave; dog, Paz
Site: The Boat Galley

Years ago we ran across The Boat Galley when researching which type of wide mouth thermos to buy. After a Google search, we stumbled across Carolyn’s thermos testing article and was wowed. Since then we’ve spent HOURS on her site and Pinned a million articles. Her site is a soon-to-be cruisers goldmine!


Carolyn has been a liveaboard cruiser for over 11 years. She and her husband started out on a monohull (Tayana 37) in 2002 exploring the Sea of Cortez, Pacific Mexico and Central America. After 6 years and 7000 miles, medical issues moved them back to land, but not for long. While landlocked, she and her friend Jan collaborated on and published The Boat Galley cookbook, a cookbook for cruisers, and Carolyn also started The Boat Galley blog

After having spent a few years fostering the blog (and missing the cruising community) she and her husband returned to liveaboard life in 2014 when they purchased their current boat, a 1999 34’ Gemini. Their cruising grounds are the Florida Keys where they maintain a home base in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon. (They were one of the few boats who survived Hurricane Irma! Read her post about that.)

The Boat Galley 

The cookbook! What makes this cookbook unique is that it is written for cruisers by cruisers. Of course boat cooking is different than cooking ashore: limited supplies, minimal appliances, storage issues, and all to be done in a kitchen the size of your smallest 1/2 bath. It has over 800 recipes and loads of helpful tips to help you not be a slave to your galley. My favorite parts are their food substitution experiment shares and their ‘make it yourself when you can’t find it’ options. 

Yes, it all started with the cookbook, but The Boat Galley has become so much more. The blog is the b-e-s-t cruiser resource with over 1,300 articles about ALL aspects of cruising, not just the galley! Have a cruising question? She’s blogged about it. Seriously, type in ANY cruiser pain point in the search bar on her site. It’s there. (You can read the story behind The Boat Galley here.)

Carolyn has created even more Boat Galley resources these last few years. In 2018 she bumped up her podcasting game big time by collaborating with Nica Waters (Fit2Sail) and Lin Pardey ( to create The Boat Galley podcast. They post 5 – 10 minute long episodes every other day that shares information that helps turn cruising dreams into reality. In 2017 Carolyn published an amazing resource, Storing Food without Refrigeration. It’s a 121 page ebook about eating good, healthy, and delicious meals using fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, eggs, cheese and sour cream…all without using refrigeration. This year she created an Amazon Store listing all of the items she’s suggested in her articles over the years.

Current And Upcoming Boat Galley Projects

Don’t forget, The Boat Galley is also on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. She’s just curated all of her free downloads and checklists into one place called The Boat Galley Resource Center. As she explains, “it’s a bit of a pathway, tailored to where you are on the journey to cruising: still deciding if you want to cruise, actively preparing to cruise, or currently cruising. There are recommended articles to start with, downloads, books, and all sorts of other resources.” She’s also working with Rainman Watermakers on their launch of two new watermaker models. She notes, “They’re going to launch right here in Marathon on January 16. I love the Rainmain that we tried out last summer – high capacity and off the shelf parts.” For more information click here. And this spring, Carolyn will be publishing the second edition of her popular ebook, Storing Food without Refrigeration! She teases sharing, “It will be coming out in both print and Kindle editions. It’s going to be about 60% bigger than the first edition, and will be available on Amazon.” Can’t wait to get a hold of that!

Wrapping Up

At the heart of everything, Carolyn loves sharing what does and doesn’t work on boats. It’s a passion from which many cruisers have benefited. Since finding her site in 2013, The Boat Galley has become my ‘go to’ cruising resource, and following her that long, I’ve learned that she’s also a pretty amazing human being. I commiserated with her when she confessed there was a time she wanted off the boat, cried when Paz narrowly survived that darn boat yard dog attack (thankfully he’s ok), and worried about them when it was apparent they’d take a direct hit from Hurricane Irma. She’s been a part of my cruising journey the longest and, even though I’ve never met her, she’s the most important person in my CLN. Carolyn gave me the cruising knowledge, and thereby, the confidence which helped me go cruising with my family, and for that I am truly grateful. 

Free Giveaway! 

I reached out to Carolyn to let her know I was writing this article, and she graciously gave us a copy of her ebook Storing Food without Refrigeration to giveaway! (Thanks again Carolyn.) To be entered into this giveaway, just subscribe to our newsletter before Jan. 1 and you’ll be entered. (Already receiving our newsletter? You’re automatically entered!) Our newsletter shares tips about cruising as a family. And don’t worry. We won’t SPAM you. We won’t share your email address either. We only send you an email once a week that shares notables that every cruising family can use with top posts and timely tips that don’t necessarily get published on the site. Let us help you save time. We’ve done the work so you can just do what you love…spend time cruising with your family!

Update: Giveaway extended deadline to Jan. 6th!

Check out other people CMB has recommended to add to your cruiser learning network here.