Cooking aboard requires some thought toward safety.
If using a charcoal grill, make sure you have plenty of ventilation—whether you’re in a calm anchorage or at the dock. Burning charcoal produces carbon monoxide, a deadly gas. Grills designed for boats clamp on to the rails in an open area. If you plan to use charcoal, learn how to dispose of leftovers legally and safely.
Propane grills provide a safer alternative to charcoal; however, you should never grill inside a cabin or under a canvas enclosure. If you use gas cylinders for your grill, don’t store them in the cabin or any enclosed area. Store them in cylinder bags hung off the rails or in the open. The cylinders can leak from bouncing around in the boat.
The most common methods suitable for galley cooking are alcohol, propane, compressed gas and electric. Each will cook your food, but cooking times vary.
When purchasing alcohol, make sure the alcohol you purchase is for marine stoves.
The most commonly used fuels aboard, propane (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) provide a quicker, hotter cooking surface. I recommend using pot brackets to prevent spills.
Observe basic safety practices for all gaseous fuels. Secure tanks in a well-ventilated area. Ensure that all stove lines are in good condition with no corrosion or cracks. Check fittings for tightness throughout the season. There should be no odor, even when cooking.
Considered the cleanest and safest way to cook aboard, electric stoves usually can only be used when you are docked with proper shore power available. Many larger boats have their own generators; however, using stoves and electric appliances without shore power requires a considerable amount of generator power.
Kerosene, gasoline and Coleman fuel aren’t recommended for cooking onboard. They give off toxic fumes and aren’t easily controlled. Gasoline fumes are explosive. Portable stoves and cookers aren’t recommended for onboard use.
Any galley stove must be well-ventilated. Keep all smoke filters and connectors clean and in good condition. If using an exhaust fan, keep it clean and grease-free.
For the safety of you and your family, install a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm in the cabin or galley area. Carbon monoxide is colorless and heavier than air, so install the alarm lower for best protection.