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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!


Date: 10 January 2018. Rat Traps (securing mouse traps too)


So far, knock teak, I have not had an issue with rodents aboard Seaweed. This fact does not mean that I am unprepared for such an event. To be on the safe side several traps were purchased. In case I'm faced with rats or mice I want weapons in my arsenal.  Here is how I make sure the critters cannot escape.

Seaweed is close to mangroves. Along
with birds, rats live in the mangroves.

It would be easy for a critter to come aboard my home.

Proof that critters do board my boat:

This is Ella. She is a Great Blue Heron. I named
her Ella Fitzgerald because Ella sings the blues...

Boats that tie to a dock at some point may be faced with rodents. Old sailors will suggest putting a metal funnel on your lines so that the critters cannot climb aboard easily. The large end faces the dock. This supposedly prevents rats from coming aboard. Theory says that as long as the funnel is large enough the rat won't be able to climb over and your boat will be safe.

Everything works in Theory. I
should have named my boat Theory.

Theory is wonderful. That said, I want weapons of destruction aboard and ready. Thus I went to Walmart and bought both a rat trap and four mouse traps. I bought Victor brand. The single rat trap was $2. A four pack of mouse traps were also $2.

Side Note on mouse traps: You can buy two at the dollar store for a buck.

Then I got out my drill. I chose a 3/8" drill bit
 and made a HOLE ↓ in one corner of each trap.


My plan is to tie a small piece of twine through the hole in the corner. Then I'll secure the trap to something structural. That way when a critter is caught it cannot drag off the trap to an inaccessible spot in my bilge.

Because I do not intend to reuse the trap I want to be able to grab the trap by the string. I am not touching a dead rat. That is not in my future. I'll hold the trap by the string over the water. Then I will cut the line close to the trap. I am saving the twine. I like that stuff.

Doesn't everybody have a box of Small Stuff? That's what Daddy called lines 1/8" in diameter and smaller. I have a box from Estee Lauder (it held my favorite perfume in the world, Beautiful) that holds Small Stuff. You might be surprised how often I have used a few inches of the line stored in that plastic box.

It's little things that make this life satisfying. For me, having supplies is critical to my happiness quotient. I want to be prepared. Should a mouse or rat dare to invade my Seaweed, I can get rid of it immediately.

There are more important things to
do than go to a store to buy rat traps.

I have visitors I want to watch. Viewing
manatees playing under the mangroves is fun.


There are two manatees in the mangroves behind Seaweed. Because they resemble large grey rocks spotting them is easiest when they come to the surface to breathe.

Enjoying life aboard Seaweed often seems to mean that time vanishes more rapidly than I can imagine. Watching wildlife can fill hours. Grab a kindle and read too? Well, entire days can disappear before I know it.

Retirement afloat is awesome.
I highly recommend it!

This is Cap'n Kim's Sea Turtle. Sea
Turtle was home for Kim and family.


Kim's galley, starboard side


Cap'n Kim is a great cook. A lot of ladies afloat are amazing in the galley. For myself, I enjoy spending time and effort in making healthy foods. There are fewer distractions when at anchor. Thus I can experiment and go wild in my galley.

Sometimes that innovation is a success. Not always though. I got a little too enthusiastic recently. In case you wondered, adding eleven dehydrated chili peppers to a pot of chili is a BAD IDEA. Three would have been plenty though next time I'll start with just one pepper.

You could say I'm a red hot
cook now. My chili was scorching!


All of us who live on boats are careful. Our galleys are kept clean and we do all we can to avoid pests. Having a few mouse traps and one rat trap is a way to insure that no rodent will take up permanent residence aboard Seaweed.

Besides the sanitary issue, rats will eat through the insulation on your wiring. They can chew into plastic and cardboard boxes to get to the contents. And they poop. Eek!

In thinking about it, I may just add another rat trap to my arsenal. I will again drill a hole in one end for a line. Securing the trap will keep the critter in one spot.

Even thinking about rodents gives  me the creeps. Yuck.

To finish on a bright note, here's a visitor I don't mind one iota:

This is Buddy waiting for me to give him
hotdog wafers. One of us is well trained.

Enjoying life afloat is what I do. I wish the same happiness I experience to each of you. Happy boating!

Addendum, January 2018: Cap'n Sid Tracy in the comments tells of a rat trap that can easily be made by yours truly. Best of all, I already have everything necessary aboard Seaweed. I liked his idea so much I've copied it here so all can read it. Thank you for posting the how-to captain.

Cap'n Sid says: A cheaper way to rid your self of rodents is to take a plastic pail and puncture two sides. Up near the top. Run a piece of dowel rod thru one hole have a piece of PVC that fits over the dowel rod and will rotate. The rod carries on through the next hole. The PVC must rotate freely. Then in the center of the PVC place a dab of peanut butter or other sticky bait. Fill water in the pail but below the rod and PVC. Rat/mouse will trot across the rod to the PVC and when he/she starts across the PVC for a bit of bait the PVC rotates and drops him/her into the water. Now if he/she drowns you can just empty the pail overboard and some fish will have a snack. If he/she is still paddling around either dump or dingy away to a new location and relocate the unwanted guest. This worked for me.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the
, and Rat Traps (securing mouse traps too) page.

Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Galley, Unmentionables, Wild Things,


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: Angus
aboard Evan

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:

  • Pets afloat (include pet and boat name please)

  • Any picture of boats underway or at anchor

  • Photos of people enjoying life in or on the water

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing. I 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 bunches!

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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