We have all heard the term galley but often wonder what part of the boat this refers to. While not all vessels are fitted with galleys, they serve the critical purpose of feeding hungry boaters, passengers, and crew. The onboard equipment varies based on the size of the watercraft but generally includes a method to keep food chilled in addition to cooking. Here is what you need to know about the function of a boat galley. 

What Is A Galley On A Boat

The boat’s galley is essential when traveling or staying aboard the vessel for overnight trips. 

If you’re wondering what is a boat galley, a galley is a nautical term for a kitchen aboard a vessel. The cooking equipment and refrigeration vary based on the size of the watercraft. In the galley, the onboard chef or owner has the opportunity to store, prepare, and cook food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

 The galley on a boat ranges from a tiny space to a sprawling layout fitted with high-end cooking equipment. No matter the size, they serve the same purpose: to feed those who are hungry, whether it be family, friends, guests, or crew members.

What Does A Boat Galley Consist Of

The galley kitchen on a boat is not a one size fits all trust me I have worked on yachts. Yachts offer the convenience of space resulting in the ability to include more equipment compared to small watercraft. Here is a list of the most common boat galley equipment aboard vessels. 

Cooktop Range

Most if not all vessels equipped with a galley contain a cooktop range. Whether a single burner or multi-burner, cooktops are the most common ways mariners prepare food aboard boats. 

When burners are not in use, they are fitted with removable covers, allowing increased counter space. Explore the types of cooktops available for boats at West Marine


When it comes to refrigeration, the size of the unit matches the size of the vessel. On yachts, walk-in refrigeration is standard compared to small watercraft with mini-fridges large enough to hold a day or two worth of meals. 


Similar to a cooktop, galleys are equipped with microwaves. The microwaves are effective for reheating food or making it simple with a frozen dinner. 


Don’t expect to see an oven in the galley of a boat if it measures less than 50 feet in length. Ovens are not standard on small boats due to the space they require when installed. 

Draw Backs To A Boat Galley

Despite the convenience of storing food and cooking meals aboard a boat, galleys have drawbacks.

A galley is a confined space with limited resources available compared to the standard kitchen constructed in a home. 

We have had the opportunity to cook in galleys on vessels ranging from thirty feet and exceeding 170 feet in length. The amount of resources available is based on space. 

Small vessels are limited, and the galley is positioned in a confined space. Confined spaces present a problem with storing and preparing meals. 

Food Holding Capabilities

Limited food storage requires more frequent visits to the grocery store to stock up on supplies. Refrigeration is minimal onboard small vessels. A cooler is a welcome addition to increase the ability to hold cold items onboard. 

Cooking Surfaces

Our kitchens are fitted with an oven, microwave, and burners for pots and pans. On the other hand, boats contain a limited number of cooking instruments depending on the size of the vessel. 

Yachts galleys are equipped with home comforts, including cooktops, ovens, a microwave, a deep fryer, and more. 

As you step down in size, you become more limited in cooking tools. Generally speaking, small vessels are equipped with one or two burners on a cooktop and a microwave. You will not find ovens on boats between twenty-five and thirty-five feet in length. 

Whether large or small, boat owners have the opportunity to grill. Grills are designed to mount in rod holders or railings and are excellent for cooking fresh meals beneath the sun or stars on the vessel’s deck. Check out these 5 recipe ideas for boat grills

Cutting Space

Counter space aboard vessels is limited, thus reducing the food preparation area before cooking. 

To reduce mess or avoid feeling confined in the galley boat, bring the cutting board outside. Food that drops during preparation is easily rinsed away with a hose compared to on the carpet in the boat’s interior. 

Now You Know The Function Of A Boat Galley

It is challenging to describe what is the galley on a boat as it is highly subjective to the size of the vessel. Galley’s provide an unmatched level of convenience for the occupants rather than finding public grills or dining at restaurants. I have used small and large galleys and find that no matter the size, they are beneficial. If you’re not into boating conjure up your own boat galley ideas.