Life in a boat can be great, especially if you have the conveniences of home. Here are some appliances that will help make your boating experience as comfortable as can be. Portable Ice Maker While out boating, who doesn’t enjoy a nice tall glass of iced tea? Well, you need ice for that, and a portable ice maker is a great way to give you the ice you want and need. These units do not require a drain, and are relatively simple to use. Just pour water in the reservoir, choose your ice size, and voila, ice appears in about 10 minutes (depending on model). My favorite is the EdgeStar IP210SS. This baby will make about 28 pounds of ice per day, holds about 2 pounds, and makes ice in as little as 6 minutes. Plus, the commercial grade stainless steel means that it will not corrode in the salty sea air. A quick tip though, if you use bottled water in your machine, you will want to add a tiny pinch of salt. Most of these ice makers need some type of impurity in the water to make the ice. Induction Cooktop You gotta eat, right? I mean, you are out on the boat, you catch some fish, why not cook it up and serve it? Fish, it’s what’s for dinner! Anyway, an induction cooktop I think is a better choice than a regular hotplate or portable stove for a boat because they are generally safer and use less energy. An induction cooktop only heats the cooking vessel, so the actual cooking surface is cold to the touch, which helps prevent burns. I am partial to the Avanti IHP1501. It’s small and portable, has easy controls, and heats up to 440 degrees. Best of all, it comes with a skillet, so no trying to hunt down an induction ready piece of cookware. This unit comes with one. Portable Fridge / Freezer My coworker and I argued over this point, and since I’m writing this and she’s not, guess who won. Basically, her point is that a mini fridge would be better. I say a portable because it has both a 115V and a 12V option. Plus, you will get more use out of it because it can go in the car with you and you can use it camping, hunting or fishing. Now, these come in various sizes, but I chose to just go relatively down the middle with the EdgeStar FP630. I am in love with this unit because it comes with a flash freeze option that will get it down to -8 degrees F in a matter of minutes. And, it will hold the temperature for several hours if you unplug the unit. However, you can set the temperature as high as 50 degrees, so you can use it as a refrigerator or a freezer. This is also a favorite among fishermen (or women, whatever the case may be). Portable Air Conditioner Last summer, while I was vacationing in South Texas, I cruised around the Gulf of Mexico in a rather nice boat. Not sure if you have ever been in South Texas in August, but it’s like being 3 blocks from the sun. Enter the wonderful portable air conditioner. Now, like all air conditioners, these units have to be vented in some way. You can do it through a wall, ceiling, floor, window, whatever. You just have to be certain to get the hot air coming off the compressor out of the room you are trying to cool. My pick is the EdgeStar AP8000W. This compact unit is powerful, will keep your cabin cool, and only uses 840Watts and 7.9Amps. Plus, it will dehumidify up to 71 pints per day, and you don’t have to empty condensation from the collection tray. Trust me, a comfortable cabin makes for a happy boater! Washer Dryer Combo Ok, so if you live in a houseboat, or are going to be on the water for an extended period of time, clean underwear, and well, clean clothes in general, are a necessity! You have several options to help you with this. A value option is the WonderWash and MiniSpin dryer combo, affectionately called The WonderSpin! The WonderWash is a hand cranked clothes washer. You basically put your clothes in, add water and detergent, spin it for about 5 minutes, drain the water into a sink, add more water for a rinse, drain, and you are done. You then put your wet clothes into the MiniSpin. This will spin dry your clothes for you to then hang them up. Now, if you have the room, and the money, then you may want to consider a washer dryer combo. These units will wash and dry all in the same drum, and most do not need venting because they use condensation drying. Your best option on these, in my opinion, is the LG WM3455HW. It has a 15 pound load capacity (2.7 cubic feet), and several washing and drying options. Because of the condensation drying, most of these machines do not dry effectively. However, the LG does a better job than most. Also, you can get the optional portability kit that will allow you to store it in one place, then wheel it out when you need to and hook to a standard sink. Finally, the great thing about this unit is that it plugs into a standard 115V outlet, so no special wiring is needed.