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Old 12-02-2010, 10:36   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Eastern PA
Boat: Island Packet 31 (35'), Black Squirrel
Posts: 239
Questions on Moisture, Heat and Living Aboard

I am moving onto my boat part time this spring and want to be ready. By part time, it will be random based on when I am working in the area and available to come down, however it should be three to five days a week. I will be mid-Chesapeake (read hot/humid/summer) and will have full electrical while in the slip. So here is my list my list of questions for those living aboard...

** Keeping dry inside:
I know it's “ventilation!” But how to tell you have enough before everything is damp? If I am on the boat in the summer I will be running A/C, however when I leave it will be turned off and that means the cool, dry air will be replaced by warm moist air.

How much air transfer in a hot moist atmosphere is enough? I was thinking of replacing the center companionway board glass with a vent and putting two solar vents in the v-berth. Enough or do I need a bigger 110v fan keeping it moving. I was also considering adding a bilge blower (overkill?).

Do things like this (Air-Dryr Marine Dehumidifier from Wholesale Marine) have success in the humid summer?

**Keeping clothing dry
I will have dress shirts, suits (yes – some us still wear them), etc. and bagging them will be impractical. Have you found desiccants work for closets and drawers or do they absorb so much while sitting on the water they are impractical? Is it better to approach the above issue and this one takes care of itself?

**Shutting down when leaving
When leaving for a couple of days (as many as a week) do you typically shut down everything electrical? Some say never leave anything on and then people leave lights, bubblers, etc.?

Plenty of people leave their boats for weeks. Do you have alarms? If so, who do they notify and how? I wanted to put a bilge alarm in and then tried to figure what I would expect their reaction to be. How many of us even look when a car alarm goes off? (other than to find the !#%$%! at 2 a.m.)

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Old 13-02-2010, 06:29   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,842
Your ventilation thoughts sound good to me. I have two West Marine heater/circulators similar to the Air-Dryr in storage because I don't think they do much.

Yes desiccants do trap a lot of water. Buy the "damp-rid" bucket type of moisture attractant that use salts in a basket within the bucket and you can buy refills inexpensively at home centers.

The clothing issue is a problem -- make sure you leave closets ventilated or you may have a mildew problem in your clothing.

Shutting down when leaving -- many people leave shore power connected if at a dock. You should shut down all, IMHO.

Alarms: If your marina has 24/7 security you hopefully don't need it but it's something to attract a guard's attention, if it doesn't you're on your own to decide what's best. I think a bilge alarm is a good idea -- I have phoned a neighbor on a mooring when I heard an alarm from within his boat, even though it wasn't sitting low. (Turned out to be a fuel vapor alarm, on a gas-powered boat).
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