Land Life Vs. Boat Life: Part 1, The Bathroom/Head & Laundry Room/Hand Washing

I know for us, moving onto the boat wasn’t quite as much of a shock as it would be for some because we spent several years living on a converted bus with our kids years ago. We had already lived in a ‘moving home’, traveling and without some of the conveniences of modern life (like running water) and minimal space.



It did seem like it was just “normal” pretty much from day one, but I know there are a lot of differences between our old life and this new one. Of course everyone has their own experiences with the vast variety of boats out there, but this is ours, specific to our old boat (1976 46′ Norman Cross Trimaran) and our choices that we’re making regarding space/energy use on the boat. A LOT of cruisers have washing machines, ovens, hot water, water makers, etc. and we plan to add some of those things as we go, but this is where we are right now. Regardless of all of the differences, it is so totally worth it to get to have this experience!


First things first, you must know that our Unimpressed Llama is on the door to the forward head, so you always go in with a smile 😉


For comparison purposes, this was the llama on land:

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Bathrooms Vs The Head

Land: At home our bathrooms included a sink, toilet and bathtub/shower.



Boat: On the boat, we have two heads (aka, weird boat name for the toilet/shower room). The front head has a sink and a toilet with a button for flushing. The back/aft head has just enough room to fit inside and sit on the tiny, low toilet (the sinks are in the cabins on either side of the head). I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who might be large boned or drunk, because you’d probably get stuck.  Plus, it has a manual hand pump for flushing that seems to have a mind of its own. Basically you pump the handle a few times, wait and then pump it a few more times… or more until you hear/feel the whoosing sound as the toilet finally flushes.

You also have to be careful to NEVER put toilet paper in the toilet on the boat. A habit that isn’t the hardest thing in the world, but still, a change.

Both heads have showers… but no hot water as of yet (BRRRRR). Basically you pull the shower curtain around to cover the doorways and have a hand held shower. Its a little less than convenient, but once we have hot water, I’m sure it will more than suffice.

The front head has an astonishing amount of storage, though. Far more than my bathroom at home. As of yesterday, all but one cabinet was thoroughly cleaned out and organized:

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As with most spaces on our boat, storage, cabinets, etc get more shallow the closer they get to the floor, since obviously a boat doesn’t have straight vertical walls.

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Still, that means the cabinets up high have a LOT of storage in our case. We have all of our bathroom things, bulk items like shampoo, feminine products, etc all stored in our forward head as well as the bulk hair dyes for the colorful headed people, of course.


The cabinet behind the toilet even has MORE space, as it goes back a LOOOONG way. Here is where we have our large 1/2 gallon jugs of paint stored, 11 purple monkeys (stuffed, not real;), and a big tub of extra foods and whatnot.

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Here is the toilet and shower curtain that pulls in front of the toilet (and around to cover the sink) for showers.


And our awesome bathroom floors that I love for whatever odd reason. <3

The aft head is a LOT smaller. It is squeezed between the two aft cabins and it just a teeny tiny space with JUST enough room to sit and use the toilet and stand and use the shower.

As of right now, our BIGGEST challenge with the bathrooms is the holding tanks that have to be pumped out more than once a week because we have such a large crew. When we’re out at sea it won’t be as much of an issue, but right now its a problem. That and the lack of hot water. Maybe I should have said that is our biggest problem… but really, I’d rather wait on a shower and not have the toilet holding tanks overflow!

The shower portion of the aft head
The teeny tiny squatty potty in the aft head.

That being said, the challenges with the head(s) are unique to us. MOST people don’t cruise/live aboard with 6 adult sized people and MOST of them probably have hot water as well. We’ll get there, eventually. When Patrick finds time to build his solar powered hot water heater!


At home we had a nice big washer and dryer. The room was plenty big enough to double as a pantry and our storage space was amazing.

The washer got clogged way too often and then if the kids didn’t notice, they’d put sopping wet clothes in the dryer, which would then stop working and need to be reset. It was a pain.


However, laundry on a boat is more of a chore. However, on the PLUS side, there is also no laundry room to get piled full of everyone’s dirty clothes as they waited for someone else to wash them. On the boat its everyone for themselves and the clothes stay in each person’s cabin (SUCH a relief for me!!!)

When we’re docked at a marina, we can use the laundry facilities there, but it gets REALLY expensive, really fast. Especially with all of these humans. Instead, we went for hand washing for the most part. We’re hoping that this makes the teens a bit more conscientious about not getting tons of clothes dirty/keeping tons of clothes, etc. Its obviously not terribly fun to wash clothes by hand and have to hang them out to dry.

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But hey, I suppose the boat at least looks somewhat colorful that way, right? We look like a bohemian themed boat whenever Paris does her laundry!

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All in all, when it comes to these two rooms, things are obviously easier/more convenient on land (I DO miss my long hot baths!), but when you’re evening view is this:


It makes up for a lot. I’m so thankful that we finally decided to take this on!!!

Tomorrow I’ll have up a post covering the Galley/Kitchen and Salon/Living Room.


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The Monkey's Fist




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