Keep your boat comfortably dry and avoid conditions that create mold and mildew on your boat

Mold loves a closed boat. Air trapped inside holds moisture on which mold thrives. Unattended boats generate moisture inside through condensation because water, air, and hull temperatures are always changing and at different rates. This process accelerates in a humid climate. The solution is to exchange inside air for outside air, which greatly reduces the chance of mold forming. Dorados, louvers, vent plates, and other waterproof ventilation systems help with air circulation. But if there is no air movement in the boat, they will not be effective; powered ventilation might be required. There are 12-volt vents for boats, solar-powered vents are a choice and can move a surprising amount of air. Some models with batteries can run for 24 hours a day, using stored power to run at night. A good rule of thumb is to replace the air inside the boat every hour, and vents are typically rated by how much air they can move in an hour; a 30-foot boat, for example, contains about 800 cubic feet of air. Larger boats typically need two powered vents, one for intake, one for exhaust.

Replacing the cabin air will not do any good for closed lockers; keep them clean and open where possible. Open covers over the bilge, but do not forget later that there may be a giant hole in the sole — leave yourself a note on the cabin door so you or someone else does not accidentally step into the bilge in the dark. Removing some of the contents of lockers over the winter helps air to circulate. Small, 120-volt heated wands are available that warm and circulate the air in lockers, but they will not be effective if the cabin air is not vented. If you are able to use shore power, these heaters are safer than hanging an electric bulb in a locker because they cannot get too hot and are not prone to breaking if the boat is rocked. Never leave an unattended household heater on board; every winter boats (and neighboring boats) catch fire from these heaters or their extension cords.

When you visit your boat this winter on a sunny day, be sure to open it up and let fresh air in while you are doing an inspection. Have lunch, come back, and button things up again. Your boat will appreciate the blast of fresh air. Over winter, many boats are shrink-wrapped, which can present problems for air circulation. Shrink-wrap is great for protecting a boat from snow, dirt, and sun, but it limits how much air can get below. Vents should be installed in the shrink-wrap; depending on the size of the boat, several may be required. There are also solar-powered vents designed specifically for shrink-wrap. If no security concerns exist, consider leaving the cabin doors open under the shrink-wrap so air can better circulate.

A quick reminder about cabin heaters

Use heaters that have safety features such as, high and low heat settings of 750 watts and 1500 watts, and a built-in adjustable thermostat that allows you to maintain the perfect temperature. It is VERY IMPORTANT to use heaters with Automatic shutoff if tipped over.

Place heaters in a safe place, away from materials like seat cushions, curtains, blankets Etc.. Avoid using extension cords to power heaters

Add a dehumidifier to work with the heat units. These have a built-in fan that circulates warm air within your boat to keep the interior comfortably dry. Designed for safe, continuous dockside operation, the spark-free Air Dryer draws less current than a 100W light bulb, so it is inexpensive to operate all year ‘round.

Make sure heaters have ~

  • Grounded Plug
  • Automatic shutoff if tipped over, with a hidden switch under the cube that shuts the heater down when lifted off the surface

*** This winter during freezing temperatures the water supply on the docks will be shut off & system drained. Hoses will be disconnected from hose bibs.