Home   |   The Boat   |   First Mate   |   Admiral   |   Guestbook

Thanks for visiting my site. I have had 2,509,994 hits since August 2013. Wow, and thank you!!!

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!


My friend on Sparrow was able to get Comments back for me. They are still wonky and soon will be perfect. I have faith, and LOVE comments. Thanks are due to Ken and his feline crew consisting of Princess and Thunderfoot otherwise known as Erin and Lessa. I am very grateful for their efforts... Thanks Ken. See you on the waterways.

Princess & Thunderfoot

Date: 16 June 2016. Safety Nets.


In case you wondered life is truly wonderful afloat. Now that my Betsy (the Kubota diesel)  runs I've been taking Seaweed out for lots of day trips. Mostly it's just for a couple of hours at a time. I am working out the kinks in both me and the boat. Some things that were fine on the east coast simply won't work here in this area. Not for me anyway.

For instance, I have nets in the pilothouse
 doorways to keep me safely inside the boat.

In other areas there are not quite so many boaters out and about as I've found here. I'm one of those that waves hello. My handy-dandy nets get in the way of greeting others.

When folks are with me as is often the case of late leaving the nets off is fine. Honest to goodness, it's even better to have someone aboard. It gets lonesome otherwise. I love being able to say "see that dolphin" and having an extra set of eyes is always helpful.

One reason I am able to take others with me is the Fifteen Minute Rule. Wherever I am I can always take Seaweed out for a spin within fifteen minutes. Spontaneous adventures are the most fun.

I keep her backed in or spin her around with lines. That way I can immediately take off in forward gear.

Note: I am just not good at backing Seaweed into slips. That's why I pull straight in then take a couple of lines a turn her around. It's easier. Having a small light boat makes this a breeze in all but the windiest of times.

When the wind is kicking, I'll anchor until it abates.

I am aware that Experts can back their boats into the trickiest of spots. That's not me. With more practice I'll improve. In the meantime I'm out here having fun.

I wave at the boats as they pass by. Some are very close.

I am glad Seaweed handles a wake well. That's because
 she has a lot of weight low in her bilges. (Batteries!)

Safety of course is my number one priority. As a soloist there is no one who can put the boat into neutral or return for me if I fall overboard. I MUST stay aboard. That said, the net does not have to go all the way to the top of the doorway.

I do have a sewing machine so fixing a better safety net is on the agenda. The netting covers the entire doorways (port and starboard) so I am secure inside Seaweed. When I wave at boats going by with the netting up no one can see. Argh.

One thing you will find as you boat more is that some of your Good Ideas aren't so perfect. This is one such case. Being able to adapt is the key for success.

Listing a variety of solutions will often find a workable one that is both cost effective and relatively easy to accomplish. A friend advocates a minimum of five fixes for each problem. He lists on paper the ideas, then implements the one that is most viable.


Solutions to the Safety Net
versus Waving Problem:

  1. Remove the netting.

  2. Stop waving.

  3. Cut the net in half so I can reach above the net to wave.

  4. Replace netting with a "half door" using wood.

  5. Make a bar (wooden) at the half-way point of the door to keep me inbound. Add a hole in it to put my cup when underway

  6. Build a box that takes up the bottom third of the doorway. Said box could be a place for Skipper to watch the dolphin. Add a bit of netting above her spot to keep us both in the boat.


I am not going to stop waving. I'm having fun and enjoy waving at folks. It's a way to make friends.

Cutting the net won't work either. This is safety netting from Defender's and it is not inexpensive. Eventually I'd like to buy more and completely encircle the bow of Seaweed. This is not a High Priority item however it is on The List.

There is always a list.

No boat is ever finished. That is a part of the fun. There is always something to do. Small projects give a sense of accomplishment as they are completed. The problem is that each new job spawns more ideas.

Those good ideas evolve into Projects!

Seaweed is my Last Boat. I know that changes made today will increase the decadence level for the rest of my life. I am installing infrastructure, updating and improving the basics.

I am also using the boat. Too often folks get so involved in fixing and upgrading that they forget to enjoy the boat. Do not let that happen to you! Go Boating. Often.

The wooden bar across the door opening solution mentioned above is interesting. I like the idea of having a place to put my beverage while underway. I am considering this one seriously.

One problem with this idea is that wood is hard. If a wake threw me into the bar I could break something. Netting allows a soft landing. Staying aboard is crucial. Not being hurt in the process is paramount. This idea is on the back burner.

Still, a flap down drink holder that also kept me inboard might be a Good Idea at some point...

A platform for Skipper has a definite appeal. She likes sticking her nose out the doorway and watching the water, fish, dogs ashore, etc. She's my boat dog.

Skipper is secured to the doorway with a
leash. She cannot fall in or out of Seaweed.

In the meantime I'll have the nets up partially when underway without guests aboard. This is not the best solution.

I like being inside, safe and secure in my home. The next time I pull out the sewing machine I'll make a padded border to go at the top of the netting. It will give me an "edge" and be a bit tidier. In the meantime it will be Good Enough.

This is my Singer 221, circa 1937. She's a gem.

That's it from the Gulf coast of Florida. I'm out and about a lot nowadays. Don't forget to say hello on Channel 16 if you see my Seaweed. I'm always listening.

Boating is fun and tiring too. For me, for now, it's nap time. Plus there is this thing called a Kindle...

Happy cruising to you and yours.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the Safety Nets page.

Categories: Gear, Pets, Security,


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.


Pets of the Week: Erin and Lessa
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 who weighs in at 4 pounds 3 ounces.

Coming soon ...

VHF aboard Seaweed

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, and inside every boater is a story. Well, 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

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard, and personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower, but kids, well, kids were kids. 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.


Copyright Janice Marois  |  Home  |  Archive  |  Topics  |  Boat List  |  Site Map  |  Email Me  |