For several years now I have heard the debate among sailors about using generators on their boats, especially the Honda
which is affordable and can drive most of your boats energy needs like air conditioners, battery
chargers and hot water
. Many argue about gasoline storage
and the dangers of Carbon Monoxide (CO). Others like the convenience of energy on their boat beyond solar
especially in hot climates and lack of utilities for mooring
. I have never bought the "danger" issue of gasoline storage
and CO because CO meters are readily available at low cost and we have been using gasoline on boats for a hundred years. We heard much of the same "safety" arguments many years ago about propane
but we now use propane
on our boats on a regular basis with little safety
generators are expensive and you will never get these energy sources to run your A/C. A 3.5 to 4.2 KW diesel generator
installed is always over $10,000 and takes up a lot of room and they do not guarantee the sound level when they run at 3000 RPM
The real issue is noise both to your boat and to your neighbor's boat.
I wanted to use my Honda
2000 on my Catalina
375 sailboat to run its air conditioner, charge the house batteries, and make hot water
but not all at the same time. The Honda 2000 has sufficient power to do these individual functions one at a time. The Honda 2000 is quiet but it is still too noisy for most people when running at full load sitting on your boat’s swim platform or fore deck
. I designed an enclosed sound proof box for the Honda which used a specially designed wet exhaust
system to dampen the exhaust
noise and direct the wet exhaust to outside the hull
just above the water line. The sound box was custom built into the starboard stern lazarette just above the diesel fuel tank
, see attached picture. In addition to the wet exhaust cooling
I installed two 3" inline blowers that were powered from the Honda 12V output plug
. These blowers sucked hot air from the sound box out through the stern vents and to the open air.
The sound reduction was substantial producing the following sound tests. At anchor
with no generator running the cockpit
area showed general ambient background noise at 47db. Start the Honda, put under full A/C load, and leave the sound box lid off (Honda exposed to open air, with the meter next to the sound box) showed a reading of 68 db. Place the sound lid on the box and place the meter on the hatch
lid, the reading was 53 db. Walk around the cockpit
and the reading was 51-52 db. Sit out on the foredeck, and the reading was 48 db. Below decks in the salon
with full A/C load the reading was 51 db, in the aft cabin
52 db and in the V-berth 49 db.
How you cool the Honda 2000 in its sound box is complicated engineering and the specs are are attached in a PDF format.
You can have quiet energy on your boat for reasonable cost and be safe.