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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler cruising on $14 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

Here, I share my views on living aboard a small boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!

Thank you Bi for your generous donation to my
PayPal account. I appreciate that very much!

Date: 9 June 2019. Tips for Cooling the Boat.


Alert: This started out as a short singular tip on how to keep the boat cool. I rather ran on at the fingertips so you might wish to pour yourself a nice cool glass of iced tea.

As summer arrives the heat becomes oppressive here in the humidity belt also known as the southern United States. Seaweed has an air conditioner. My friend Edwin installed it for me a couple summers back. That series of articles starts with Moby-Cool a/c cover Tweak. During the hottest days my small 5k BTU air conditioner wasn't quite enough to cool the entire boat. Here's what I have done to abate that situation.

This is Edwin ↓ who installed my 5k BTU Haier air conditioner in the overhead of my galley. Upper left corner of this photo (white area) is where the cool air comes through into my cabin.


Side Note: The galley/dinette area of Seaweed is where I do most of my living. Forward of my pilothouse and down two steps is my head and shower. All the way at the bow is my bunk. Life though, that happens in my galley at the dinette. It's where my netbook (thank you Karl!) and tablet (thanks Sir!) are most enjoyed.

Thus the air conditioner is installed
directly above that area of my boat.

I use a Haier 5000 btu room air conditioner.
This is the least expensive model sold. Cost: $110.

The 5k BTU Haier does quite well most of the time at cooling the interior of my boat. Then comes summertime. With oppressive humidity and weeks of 90 degree-plus temperatures my unit struggles. Now is the time of the year I begin to have problems cooling Seaweed.

The first thing to do is to block of drafts.
To that end, I utilize FOAM at the back door.

The foam tucks around the top of the doorway.
It blocks the hot outside air from coming inside.

Some day I will find some black rubbery stuff, 1.5" wide by 1/8" thick and 5' long. Years ago my friend Dale had a roll of it. That would have been perfect, tucked outside along the edge of the door. IF it the rubber is as good as I hope, I'll buy eight more feet to do the two pilothouse doorways too.

In all probability McMaster's has the rubber I desire. I am not up on the terminology to know what to order at this point. For the curious, McMaster-Carr [link: McMaster's] is a place to explore. It is akin to a candy store for grown-ups who like fixing things.

The next thing to do is to shrink
the size of the area being cooled.

To that end I utilize my shower curtain:

In case you wondered, the shower curtain I use was bought at Walmart. It is fabric, does not mildew and dries quickly. When I needed a way to block off my pilothouse, I chose to use the shower curtain as a barrier.

I utilized what I already had on board,
versus going out to buy the "perfect" item.

To hang the shower curtain I used a CUP HOOK HOLDER on the starboard side up high just aft of my door.

Just right of the cup hook holder is an old black antenna from a wifi booster. After this photo was taken I did remove said antenna. I sealed the hole using SilPruf. So far, I am impressed. There are no drips nor leaks where the antenna had been.

affiliate link

Along the overhead in Seaweed, between the pilothouse and galley is a teak strip. That strip covers the where the two fiberglass panels of my overhead meet. The wood-covered gap also provides access (barely!) to the wires for my steaming light. The good thing is that it is wood, thus easy to screw into.

I used three screws, inserted horizontally. They were
placed where a normal shower curtain ring would be.

Because of the teak I could easily hang the
 shower curtain all the way across my cabin.

You may have noticed a black wire near the screw shown above. That is a speaker wire. It is one of those Good Ideas that has not panned out quite as well as initially expected. The intention was to use the wire to bring the sound of a DVD player over to a speaker by my ear. All too often I forget about the wire as it is nearly out-of-sight, and thus out-of-mind.

Good Ideas become great
only if they work, and are utilized.

IMPORTANT: The shower curtain holes do not match up side-to-side. What that means is that though they appear to be evenly spaced, they are not. I can only hang my curtain with the front facing aft for my screws to mate  with the holes perfectly.

To keep the sunlight out of my pilothouse, I hung
a white table runner over the west side window.

This also is easy to place and remove. Additionally the table runner lets in some light. I can see around the edges. Folks walking by cannot see in easily. This is a layer of privacy for me.

In a nutshell, folks on the starboard side could at the correct angle peek into my forward cabin. Both the head and a part of my bunk are visible. For obvious reasons, that is not welcome!

Another good idea I implemented was the use of Reflectix.

Reflectix is bubble wrap with thin silver (aluminum-type) covering on both sides. The silver coating does eventually deteriorate in sunlight. The great thing about Reflectix is that you can cut it to size with scissors. It will stay in your windows if you've got any sort of an edge/frame.

Reflectix is available at Lowes Hardware Store in larger rolls than on Amazon. The one I purchased was 3' wide. It covered every window in the boat with some left over.

Affiliate link↑

I bought a roll of Reflectix at Lowes for about $60. With it I had enough to cover every window in the boat. The problem I experienced is that when everything is covered in Reflectix my Seaweed turns into a cave. It's awful!

For my happiness I need to see out. That's one reason why after careful consideration I opted to go with a power boat. Sailboats in my price range tend to have cave-like tendencies. Despite the desire to visit all those wonderful places shown in the cruising magazines (Tahiti, the South Pacific, etc.) I knew that I would be most comfortable in a home that offered a view from inside.

Seaweed provides that view outside. I am truly blessed.

Looking out on my bow over Christmas I
spotted an immature ibis sitting on my bow rail.


You know, life aboard a
boat is truly wonderful...


I pulled out my bird book and looked up the ibis standing on the bowrail. The book I recommend is from the Golden Field Guides series and is titled Birds of North America. That's an affiliate link which means if you buy something through it I get a small percentage back at no additional cost to you.




Quite frankly, I like every Golden Guide made. I have Birds of North America, Seashore Life, Fishes, Fishing, and Seashells of North America. They are all amazing, wonderful and worth the money, even at Retail prices.

Side Note: Field Guides (specifically Birds of North America and Seashells of North America) are 360 pages while the others are 160 pages. The contents are all the same if you buy one from the 1950's or a later edition. The difference is that the glue in older ones tends to fail after 50 years or so.



My copy of Fishes is from 1955 incidentally.

If you're curious about me flogging certain products, know that it is because I find them of value. The Amazon links are a convenience for you and a way for me to on occasion make a little bit extra via the affiliate link. It costs you nothing and does help me. I REALLY appreciate it when folks take the time to use my links. It makes a difference!

For instance, I found myself in need of a Tens7000 unit. The pain from my broken arm has not abated much, thus the wish for a Tens. Well, three months of Amazon income and it was paid for by you, my readers. So THANK YOU!!!

But I digress...

This is the Haier a/c unit, under the Moby-Cool
cover. The owner of Moby-Cool is Scott. He's great!

Scott's phone number is 407-435-9733. Leave a message.

And no, Scott's not paying me for mentioning his product. I Really don't like boats that appear ramshackle or unloved. To that end, the Moby-Cool cover hides what could be a rather tatty looking a/c unit. I like mine.

As a side note, you may notice the solar panels are raised twice. Once is the zigzag bracket that attaches to the panel. In addition to that I lifted the panel a further 3/4" using starboard. Starboard is softer than metal. If the solar panel vibrates the aluminum brace will not damage my overhead and cause a leak.

But I digress...

Basically you need to know this: If your vessel is like mine with large windows, in the summertime that will cause problems. The windows must be shaded if at all possible. In that regard, Reflectix helps.

Boats such as Grace with her covered side decks are
more immune to the sunlight shining on her windows:

The windows being shaded makes a
world of difference in the inside temperatures.

An additional way I help my 5000btu A/C by Haier cool Seaweed is by curtaining off the pilothouse portion from the galley. The pilothouse has seven windows providing a greenhouse-effect to the boat. The a/c unit does fine for the galley area even in blistering summertime. It does not do so well when attempting to cool both the galley AND my pilothouse.

By late afternoon Seaweed is shaded by the boat to the west of me. I open the curtain part way and the rest of the boat rapidly cools off. Each evening the shower curtain is moved down below into my forward cabin for its intended purpose: so I can take a shower. 

Folks in houses do not always cool rooms in their home they are not using. I follow the same principle aboard my Seaweed.

A pair of HELLA FANS situated by the dinette
also help. The closest one on the right is used most.

This is what I do to
stay cool aboard Seaweed:


  1. Close off a major heat source by separating the galley/dinette area from the pilothouse. Sunlight flowing into the windows of my pilothouse forms a greenhouse effect, where temperatures can easily top 100 degrees when at a dock.

    At anchor the boat swings with the tide and breezes, thus stays cooler.

  2. Fill in gaps where drafts occur around doors using foam.

  3. Dress in less. Summertime outfits are skimpy unless I'm out in public.

  4. Drinking lots of iced tea from my refrigerator is a real pleasure. I chill apples too for a special cool treat. Details can be found in the Cinnamon Apples article.

  5. The Hella 12-volt fans (available from Defender's) for about $25 are used during the hottest part of the day.

  6. I don't do physically demanding activities except early in the morning or late in the afternoon or evening.

Heat exhaustion is a real
thing, and it is Dangerous!

Instead I read, relax and write, crochet, eat, etc.

Update on the broken arm: It's not great. Not yet. You see, I thought (really!) that I would be totally recovered by now. It is a bit disheartening to be healing so slowly. Tomorrow though a new Tens unit is scheduled to arrive. I'm excited for that.

In the meantime I am reading on my Kindle and perusing the world via a Verizon tablet. Those two items have helped me keep my sanity. It's a wonderful life here aboard Seaweed. I am truly blessed.

To you and yours, thank you for reading. Happy boating.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the
Tips for Cooling the Boat page.

Categories: Boats, Books, Characters, Comfort, Galley, Gear, Locations, Recommendations, Unmentionables, Wild Things,


Announcement: Folks who want to be notified when I post are welcome to become subscribers. I email readers every time a new article goes up. That's usually once or twice per week. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.

Something a new reader might not realize: Almost every picture on this website can be clicked. The photo will get larger when clicked. Do that a second time and the picture should be full size. Enjoy...

My Cruising Kitty earns money each time you buy on Amazon through my links. It costs you nothing and helps supplement my cruising funds.

Thanks for your support, and heck, just for being here. I appreciate that more than you can imagine.

Paypal Tablet link:  *CRUISING KITTY
*for those who wish to donate direct to me via paypal.


Pet of the Week: James
aboard M/V Loafs and Fishes

Submit your pet's photo.
Please email pictures of your crew!

More canine, feline and feathered crew members can be found on the The First Mate Gallery page.


The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix. She weighs in at five pounds.

Coming soon ...


Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world. Inside every boater is a story. Let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

For the novice, here's how to write: Simply pretend you're sending a letter to a friend. Tell about an event or a memory from years ago that you still recall.

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard. Personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower. Kids were kids and our families often shaped the adult we have become. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Pets afloat (include pet and boat name please)

  • Any picture of boats underway or at anchor

  • Photos of people enjoying life in or on the water

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing. I prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks bunches!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the
waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


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