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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 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 Cap'n 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.

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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.

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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 is 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. When 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 might 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 with Accessories 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.

I'd love to learn ways you stay cool in the summertime aboard your boat.
And, is there anything special you do this time of the year just because it's hot out there?

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

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