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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: 16 May 2016. Storing Nuts, Bolts and Screws.


Aboard Seaweed I have a system for sorting and organizing my screws, nuts and bolts. It works and is easy to maintain. This is what I do, along with a couple of suggestions on how my method could be better. Best of all, it's totally free using stuff you already own.

For the smallest screws I have used empty aspirin
bottles. The labels come off leaving a sticky residue.



Low Odor Paint Thinner  made by Daler Rowney removes the glue without damaging the plastic aspirin bottle. The thinner is about $8 for a small container at Wal-Mart. It works well. Because I paint seashells I have this item in my ship's stores.



Yes, that tooth pick with a single hair is the paint brush. I have other larger brushes. For fine detail I make my own paintbrushes.


But I digress... or as Kidlet says I run down bunny trails.  (That means I go off topic.)

Little aspirin bottles are a good size for short screws, lock washers and such. The problem with them is that you have to line up the arrows to open the doggone bottle. I don't want to hunt down my glasses to see the arrows so the first thing I do is take out my red nail polish [see Kindle versus Fire (nail polish too) article] and paint the arrows red.

If it's a set of the same thing I'll glue one on top of the lid. Sometimes they come off so I fairly regularly glue a second time. Of course if I used something better (hot glue or silicone) that wouldn't happen. It's a small enough thing to replace that I haven't bothered to do a more permanent solution. For others I write what is inside on the top.

The tiny nails shown above on the left are brass and will not rust. I regularly replace screws that could rust with better quality stainless ones.

First of all, know I am totally a stainless girl. I do not keep things that cannot be used aboard the boat. Having a supply of nuts, bolts and screws is for convenience not necessity. I would not buy in advance unless I came across a real bargain.

Confession time: I do have and enjoy beautiful things that simply bring me pleasure. Boating isn't all about working on the boat and having a huge spare parts inventory.

If you are like me, when I discover something I need for Seaweed I buy one plus a spare. I went from almost no spares eight years ago to a fairly substantial collection though not overnight. I've purchased as needed and that has worked well for my budget.

You do not need to have Everything at the
 onset. Buying as you go is Good Enough.

Here in the United States most parts can be obtained ASAP using overnight delivery. Thus, having spare parts out the kazoo is less necessary than if you were heading out to remote locations.

I already have lots of hardware. It was leftover from our previous boat supplies. Having the nuts, bolts and such stored in accessible places is for my convenience. And too, it is nice to be able to share with folks. I generally have what's required.

On our 40'er we used to have a collection of spice bottles. Those were filled with screws in various sizes. I kept them when we sold that boat. During the galley switcheroo [see
Securing a Refrigerator (fans too) article] the collection that formerly resided where the *reefer now is was moved into a milk crate in the bilge.

*Reefer: boat talk for a refrigerator.

It was a mess. I do not do chaos and
disorder so this was not my favorite:

Side Note: You might notice that I have hose clamps attached to the bulkhead on the left side of the above photo. They are sorted into three collections.

  • Small (up to about an inch diameter, for small hoses and such)

  • Medium (about 1 1/2" to 3")

  • Large (above four inches)

I've got them on small loops of line so that I can easily retrieve one or more. It's handy to have spares and by sorting them in advance I can get just the right size without a hassle. There are three brass cup hook holders the hose clamp collections hang on.

For me having items accessible and stored properly is a big advantage. Folks are always amazed when I have so much and can find it quickly.

Still, there is room for improvement. You might see the varied sizes of bottles in the collection. My favorites without a doubt are the old pill bottles. Those without the childproof safety caps are the best. Next, spice jars are wonderful. You can see through them and they store a quantity of screws.

Were I to build a hardware collection again, from the get-go I would use spice bottles. There are a myriad of spice shelves available from both retail stores and thrift shops. It would be wonderful to have a locker with a big collection of bottles all lined up on a neat rack where I could see them.

I also have one super-sized mayonnaise jar
with hinges 4" and smaller stashed aside.

The matching ones are tied together. If I require a
pair of hinges I can easily find them in this collection.

A local guy preparing to cruise had too many screws to fit into small bottles such as I have aboard Seaweed. For his collection empty instant coffee jars were utilized. The jars are plastic with plastic lids that won't rust. They fit a lot.

Someday he can sort them down into better organized, more size specific groups. For now this is the way they are sorted:

  1. Small bolts such as you would use in an electrical panel (short stubby ones)

  2. Screws less than one inch long

  3. Screws more than an inch long up to about 2" long

  4. Larger diameter and longer screws

  5. Washers, lock washers, finish washers and nuts

  6. Bolts that are not BIG

  7. The largest bolts, wing nuts, washers, nuts, locking nuts (those 5/16" and above)

The above groupings seem to work well as a starter point. To do it all as precisely as mine are (sorted by size, thread count) would be an overwhelming task. Sometimes Good Enough is indeed good enough. This is such a case.

Yours do not have to be perfect. For now, simply remove the ones that would rust and Call it Good. There's boating to be done, and sorting screws is one of those things you can do at anchor.

With a gentle breeze and some music playing
on the radio, well, sorting screws is almost fun!

Yachts at anchor including Lady Catherine.
Isn't she a beauty? Photo by Island Time.

To you and yours, I wish lots of wonderful days and nights at anchor. And may all your screws be just right for the job at hand.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the Storing Nuts, Bolts and Screws page.

Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Organizing, Vignettes,


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: Julie
aboard M/V Hero

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 ...

Danielle Guerrino and Connie Kalter


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

  • Derelict sloop or ketch

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.

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The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

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