How to handle boat life practically and socially

Living on a small sailboat in a tight space with other people can sometimes be amazing and interesting, but it can also be challenging.

To make it as easy as possible to understand and prepare for this way of life, we have created this small collection of practical examples of “not to” and a couple of “do”s, some of them more obvious than others, and a small list of small things to remember to make everyone around you happy and comfortable.

Ultimately, it’s all about awareness and respect for your surroundings and friends.

Short overview

  • Do NOT empty stuff without filling up
  • Put everything back in it’s right place immediately after use
  • Do not act greedy
  • Take care of the sharp knives
  • Keep dirty clothes and shoes outside
  • Speak only English on board
  • Don’t bring stones, bones, or antlers on board
  • Don’t fill the fridge with rotten leftovers
  • Don’t be sloppy – do your duties properly and thoroughly
  • Don’t overfill the trash
  • Get the full trashbags directly to the waste station
  • Be precise and on time

Do NOT empty stuff without filling up
When you take the last part of something (especially your roommate’s favorite), make sure it’s replaced with new and that it’s put on the shopping list. If you suddenly want to make waffles or a cake, make sure you don’t empty the milk and eggs, which are for breakfast or other planned meals.

When you have used a rechargeable device (headlamp, VHF-radio, our beach loudspeaker), put it directly on charge, so it’s ready for the next one. And – never put empty packaging back in the lockers…

When you’ve pulled the last part of the toilet roll, put on a new one!

Put EVERYTHING back to the exact spot you found it – immediately.
EVERYTHING in a boat has its special place to be stored – EVERYTHING!

When you take something from a drawer, locker, box or anywhere else – put it back to the exact same spot when you have finished using it – immediately. If you don’t know the place for something, ask the skipper.

If not, someone will be spending time looking for it or not being able to perform their duties, maybe even in a critical situation when safety matters.

Every year, we pay thousands of Euros to replace gear that someone in the crew forgot to bring back on the boat after using it outside, such as connections for the water hoses, trackers (!), radios, power tools, normal tools, clothing, and other equipment.

Do not act GREEDY
Do not fill your plate with big portions of food, even when you’re extremely hungry. Most likely, the rest of the crew is hungry, too. Wait for the next round! Greediness is not accepted when you are on board. We are humble, and we share! Many small portions look way better than starting out with a big one.

Remember that toppings are toppings and that chocolate and snacks are for emergencies and special occasions. If you want snacks or need more topping than bread for your meals, you’re welcome to fill up our reserves yourself.

Take care of the sharp KNIVES – Do NOT put them in the drawer!
Our kitchen is equipped with some expensive sharp knives, which allow us to cut ingredients for our meals efficiently. NEVER put the sharp knives in the drawer with the other cutlery or in a pile in the dishwasher – it makes them unsharp. The sharp knives go on the magnet on the wall.

Keep your dirty clothes and shoes outside – do NOT bring dirt inside
Working clothes or other dirty clothes should NOT go inside the sailboats. Do your best to keep the boats clean at all times. Mud and dirt may bring insects, seeds, or other parasites inside the boat, which can greatly damage the boat and the interior for instance mold or ant colonies.

Do NOT speak other languages than English on board
Sometimes, we have many people from the same nationality, with native languages other than English, on board. Do not speak other languages than English on board. Make sure everyone on board is included. Always.

Do NOT fill the boats with stones, bones, and seashells
Yes, there are a lot of exciting things to find out there, like whale skeletons, seashells, and beautiful stones, but please do not bring them inside the sailboats. Most likely, you will forget them and not bring them back home, and we just have to spend time getting rid of them when you leave. And – they may contain parasites.

Do NOT keep small portions of leftovers that rot in the fridge
We do not want to throw away food – but we also do not want people to get sick on board due to poisonous old leftovers that start to spread mold and rot in the fridge. This is a balance, and if you are not sure your leftovers will be eaten, throw them away at once. This is a part of the special way of living on a boat with limited space – balance!

Do NOT do a sloppy jobmake it properly in the first place!
When you are cleaning the kitchen, the toilet, your room, or taking out the trash – do NOT do a sloppy job – do it properly. If not, someone will have to do it again for you. If you do a sloppy job, you put yourself in a higher position than the others. We are all equal, and no one should have to do your job over, because of your laziness.

Do NOT overfill the trash!
When you overfill the trashcan inside the boat, food leftovers and other dirt spread inside the locker/drawer, and it starts to rot and stink. When the trash is full, you must change the bag and add a new one. If the trashcan is dirty – clean it (properly) before you put in the new bag. Bring the full trash bag ALL the way to the deposit station immediately.

Do NOT leave household trash on the boat or outside, it will be attacked by animals and birds
When you empty the trash, bring the full trash bag ALL the way to the deposit station. Every other alternative will create a smelly and dirty situation, where someone else will most likely have to clean up your mess. Rats, birds, otters, and other animals will smell the trash, and they will break the bag and rip everything out, spreading it around in a big mess, littering nature and the ocean. That’s the opposite of what we’re here for.

Be precise and on time
If you oversleep or are not able to meet at the agreed time for other reasons, the rest of the crew will be waiting, burning hours. Everyone joining ITSB is motivated to clean as much as possible. Waiting on the pir is not very fun. If you’re 30 minutes late in an 8-person crew, you’ve burnt 4 work hours—or reduced our capacity with 120 kilos of collected beach litter.