My [Mom, daughter, sister, Nan] lives on a boat. What??

Epoch N4717

You live on a BOAT?  Can you walk around on the boat?  How do you cook?  Is sleeping on the boat a challenge?  How do you find your way?  Are you cold?  Is it like a cruise ship?  Like on the ocean?

Some of our family and friends have been to the boat, so they have an idea about this boating thing. But for others, the idea of living on a boat is beyond comprehension.  My sister calls me “outdoorsy”!  Ha!

So, for my family and friends, I thought I’d write a blog about Epoch and what it is actually like – to live and cruise on a boat.

Epoch is an ocean crossing trawler motor vessel, a Nordhavn 47 or also stated:  N4717.  Our boat is 47 feet in length.  17 is the hull number; 17th hull built in the 47 series.  The beam is 16 feet (the boat width) and the draft is 6 feet (the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull or keel). Draft determines the minimum depth of water the boat can safely navigate, so to say.  We cruise at around 7 knots per hour.

Epoch at anchor

There are 8 “rooms” on Epoch.  Starting at the stern or back of the boat is the cockpit, an outside area with access to the swim deck.  We enter the boat from the cockpit into the salon.  The salon is the living space and has a television, chairs from home and an L-shaped settee and table.  The salon looks into the galley.  The galley has a full-sized stove (propane) and oven (electric), dishwasher, trash compactor, microwave, refrigerator and two freezer drawers with an ice maker.  Starboard to the galley is the GE clothes washer and dryer closet. 

Washer and dryer

Forward is the pilothouse or wheelhouse where we “drive” the boat.  In the pilothouse are the Navigation/Communication Electronics, autopilot, VHF radios, electrical cabinet, instrument displays for wind, water depth, heading, and stuff we like to know.  We have a helm chair and a L-shaped settee with table. Behind the settee is the watch berth, an area you can sleep on.  Scott uses the watch berth when I am at the helm during our overnight cruises.  He is supposed to sleep but I think he has one eye open the whole time!!  We spend most of our time in the pilothouse when underway.  The pilothouse has two doors, port and starboard to access the boat deck, bow and flybridge. And a coat closet!

Pilothouse helm chair and electronics.
Pilothouse watch berth and settee
Coat closet

Stairs down from the pilothouse lead to the staterooms.  The guest stateroom is forward. On the port side of the guest stateroom is a double berth.  It is also equipped with a hammock that can be easily installed to sleep smaller people (like you Mayzee and Hadley!).   The starboard side of the guest stateroom is a desk and office. In the guest head (bathroom) is a shower, sink and toilet.  At the bottom of the stairs to port is the master stateroom.  The master berth is a walk-around queen.  The head is similar to the guest head.

Forward head.
Guest stateroom

From the master stateroom you access the engine room.  The centerpiece of the stand-up engine room is a single lugger marine main engine rated at 174 HP.  The main engine is configured with dry stack exhaust and a keel cooling system. A wing engine is located aft and to starboard in the engine room.  It functions as a “get home” engine in the event of a main engine shut down.  The wing engine has its own shaft and folding propeller for auxiliary propulsion should it be necessary. 


The engine room also houses the Northern Lights generator, water maker and storage space for extra parts and tools. From the engine room you access the lazarette. In the lazarette we store scuba tanks, more extra parts and an air compressor for diving.  There is a hatch from the lazarette to the cockpit.   

Epoch also has a flybridge with two helm chairs and a settee.  We have not had the opportunity to use the flybridge very much during past cruising, but with Mexico cruising planned, I’m sure we will use the flybridge a lot.


The electrical system in Epoch can run appliances, make and heat water, charge batteries.  We have hydronic heat and air conditioning! The boat has a bow thruster, a crane for deploying the tenders and water toys, an electric motor (windlass) to lower and raise the anchor (121 pounds), and stabilizers.  Stabilizers are little fins on the side of the boat that keep the boat from rolling in the ocean. We also have a flopper-stopper, when deployed when at anchor, will reduce roll.  We carry 1500 gallons of fuel, 400 gallons of fresh water, and 400 gallons of holding tanks (waste water). When we are at marinas, we plug into “shore power.” When at anchor, we use the generator for electricity.

Filling Epoch with fuel can take all day!

We have two tenders or dinghies on board.  One is used to explore bays, marinas, estuaries.  The other tender has wheels we can lower which will be used to run through the surf to explore the beaches in Mexico.

Safety equipment? We have our EPIRB, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. An EPIRB is registered to our vessel and is meant to help rescuers locate us in an emergency situation. We also have PLBs, Personal Location Beacons, designed to be carried on our life jackets. In the unlikely event we need to abandon ship, we have and our Winslow 6-man offshore life raft. The life raft is packed into this case and has a hydrostatic release for deployment. Our “Ditch Bag” containing survival equipment is kept close by in the pilothouse.  We also have our Lifesling and MOB, Man Overboard Recovery system.

Ditch bag. Does it contain a beer or two?

Maintenance and operation of the boat takes work.  Scott spends time in the engine room changing oils, filters, maintaining the water pumps and systems.  Epoch runs 24/7 during some cruising so Scott keeps the systems well maintained. When we are not making water and water is available in the marinas, we fill the water tank with a hose.  And twice a year, we fill Epoch up with diesel fuel. Me? I do similar things on board that I do at home.  When we are underway, Scott likes to be at the helm. I do the majority of the engine room checks.  Scott docks the boat. I am the deck hand and put out fenders and lines.  We use headphones to communicate during docking or anchoring so we don’t yell at each other!

“Marriage savers”??

For fun, we read about the places we are going.  We fish and crab.  We enjoy beverages on the flybridge or cockpit if it is warm enough.  We actually love cruising the days away and enjoy anchoring or docking in marinas for the evenings.  We like to explore ports and villages, learning about the history, culture and yummy foods.  We take our tender with beverages and explore or visit other boaters. Since we don’t have a vehicle when we get to marinas, we walk a lot.

Shopping with the “Hornet”. One of two grocery haulers.

 We read, Scott maintenance manuals and I enjoy fiction and biographies. We both read cruising manuals all the time. I listen to audiobooks and have picked up a new hobby called English Paper Piecing (thanks to my daughter Eileen!).  We keep in touch with friends and family by email, text or cell phone and I send postcards!  Yep, postcards!

English Paper piecing

Just in case you were wondering, we do sleep on sheets and pillows in bed.  We have an espresso maker for our morning lattes.  We watch the ‘Today’ show sometimes. We have computers and a printer/fax on board. I make cookies and use the crockpot.  Sometimes we grill dinner in the cockpit. Our beer is COLD!  Storage of stuff is sometimes odd.  We store things in many locations like drawers, small cabinets, under settees or in floor hatches. Daily question, “where did I put that….?” Really, all the comforts of home. It is our home.  Living and cruising on a boat is different, but the same.  And….. the scenery and weather is always changing. 

Come visit ! Please !

3 thoughts on “My [Mom, daughter, sister, Nan] lives on a boat. What??

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