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We have all had the experience of walking into someone’s home and immediately being able to detect a strong aroma, either pleasant or unpleasant. Smells that come from cooking, pets or sometimes worse things can be easily missed by the occupants of the house but immediately noticed by those visiting. Boats are the same way but due to their much smaller footprint, even more susceptible to overpowering odors.

We’ve run into several friends lately who have told us that they have no sense of smell. I am definitely not among them (insert big nose joke here). Not too long ago we stepped aboard a boat belonging to some new friends and the bad odor I detected was so overpowering to me that I needed to step back out into the fresh air. Strangely, the owners of the boat seemed not to notice it.

We take great lengths to keep our boat smelling good including keeping it exceptionally clean. We go so far as to clean out the bit of stagnant bilge water that sits in the bottom of each hull on a weekly basis and then rub down that area with bleach. Does it work? Well, I think so but because we live on the boat, we may never know for sure. Like everyone else, we surely become accustomed to the local smells. We haven’t had any complaints yet.


  1. Boats don’t ‘usually’ smell much. Seawater doesn’t become smelly as easily as freshwater. More often it is old food, dirt round the cooker and appliances, mouldy packaging etc. I can’t see that any of those will apply on One Love!!!

    Excessive cleaning can make it smell like a hospital. That would not be nice.

    All of which I’m sure that you know.


  2. When my wife and I began dating, her house screamed CAT. Through some encouragement, carpet removal, cat food change, and kitty litter brand change, people are surprised when they see our cat, they didn’t smell it. I guess its the same thing that allows people to live near papermills.

  3. So here is the silly question (silly because I know you have already answered it to your satisfaction) – Why is there bilge water at all?

  4. “We take great lengths…”
    We go so far…”

    I don’t see any WE in the photo! ;:<)


  5. I’m endlessly impressed with the effort and diligence with which you two pursue the ‘boating life’!

  6. If you ever encounter a strong odor that you just can’t eliminate through the usual methods, I highly recommend this stuff. It’s magic, or at least, magically effective:

    A quick tip in case you ever wish to try some — it’s much cheaper to order the Pet version with the green label rather than the Marine version with the blue label. It’s the same stuff, just labeled differently, but the marine version is sold at a premium, because it has that word “marine” on the bottle.

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