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Old 21-03-2011, 17:24   #1
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Storing a Boat in the Tropics

We are leaving our in Malaysia for 4 months while we return home to work which got me to thinking about the particular challenges to boat storage in the tropics. In the tropics the boat will be subjected to torrential rains, brutal sun, high humidity and pests including termites, roaches and, in our area, monkeys. Tropical cyclones are a subject in themselves.

Some of the things we do are:

-reflective material in the windows and hatches
-chase down all leaks
-spray protective film on all electrical contacts and exposed metal
-put clothes in plastic bags
-remove batteries from all electrical toys and put the toys in plastic bags
-fill fuel tanks and add biocide
-close seacocks
-remove sails and running rigging and store below
-remove all food not in cans from the boat
-set out roach motels and boric acid

The list goes on..
Last year we sprayed termite poison everywhere but probably will not this year. We are also considering leaving an AC on at it's lowest setting to help with humidity and to prevent cooking the interior.

I am sure many on this board have stored their boats in the tropics and have wisdom to share. I would be interested to hear what others do.

Mike
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Old 25-03-2011, 22:07   #2
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Re: Storing a Boat in the Tropics

Thought of a couple more:

-Treat wood with propylene glycol/boric acid solution to deter termites
-Plastic bag around prop(s)
-check zincs
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Old 25-03-2011, 22:51   #3
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Re: Storing a Boat in the Tropics

We don't have our boat here yet, but we do leave our home in Krabi, Thailand for 6 month periods and have similar issues. One thing we do is put desiccants in closets and cabinets to absorb moisture. We get them at Home Pro and they are shaped like a small box. Sorry, don't recall the name or brand.
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Old 25-03-2011, 23:17   #4
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Re: Storing a Boat in the Tropics

Get the bilge as empty as you can which usually means sponging out the last bit. Check the knobs on all ports to be sure they are tight. I missed one once and paid the price. Do a lap of the deck and remove anything stealable. That includes your anchor, blocks and all sheets.

It's OK to leave some packet food on board provided you isolate it from the rats and roaches. Try those big plastic tubs that KMart and Target sell. Fill one with whatever packet food you have such as dried fruit, pasta, muffin mix, flour sugar or basically anything that can last through your absence. Don't underestimate roaches. They are quite happy eating through a cardboard box.

Put your pillows and blankets in a garbage bag and turn all mattresses up on their side. Open all locker doors. Pop a slurp of bleach into each water tank without emptying them. Remove bimini, dodger and any other canvas.

Have a plan for cleaning all surfaces when you return. I use vinegar and hot water but those spray on bleaches also work.
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Old 26-03-2011, 00:46   #5
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Re: Storing a Boat in the Tropics

How well do those desiccant boxes work?
We are thinking of using them on our boat just on the East coat of Australia.
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Old 26-03-2011, 02:02   #6
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Re: Storing a Boat in the Tropics

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How well do those desiccant boxes work?
We are thinking of using them on our boat just on the East coat of Australia.
They seem to work well for us. We use the boxes at the house in Krabi and they were pretty much all water when we returned. Things were still moldy but would have been a lot worse. We'll probably use more next time. We used envelope shaped ones you can hang up for the boat back in Virginia, and they worked too. Of course, its not as humid there but bad enough in July and August.
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Old 27-03-2011, 17:18   #7
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Re: Storing a Boat in the Tropics

We put dessicant boxes in our wardrobes on our cat over the Summer on the east coast of Aust. They are supposed to last for a month or two, but I found with the high humidity, most of the crystals had gone and the box was full of water after only a week. I think if we leave the boat next Summer we will investigate a dehumidifier.
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Old 27-03-2011, 18:23   #8
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Re: Storing a Boat in the Tropics

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Originally Posted by Teeto View Post
We put dessicant boxes in our wardrobes on our cat over the Summer on the east coast of Aust. They are supposed to last for a month or two, but I found with the high humidity, most of the crystals had gone and the box was full of water after only a week. I think if we leave the boat next Summer we will investigate a dehumidifier.
Wow, after only a week. Our were full of water after 4 months, but of course I don't know how long they had been like that .... maybe 3 months and 3 weeks!

We are thinking of a dehumidifier too ....
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Old 27-03-2011, 23:14   #9
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Re: Storing a Boat in the Tropics

I put mine on a mooring, pull my hard dink over the front hatch chain it on, and can open it 3inches to let air in and even in the worst storm has not leaked.
I also dump all my blankets clothes in the V and none have gone moldy.
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Old 27-03-2011, 23:26   #10
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Re: Storing a Boat in the Tropics

"tropics" is an effing huge generalization. That designation includes the entire section of the globe between 20 degrees north and 20 degrees south. That's more than half the surface area of this planet.

That's a lot of real estate.

If the OP can be a bit more specific about potential moorings, wet or dry, the OP might get better advice. This information doesn't have to be super-specific, but data such as the hemisphere, and maybe even the continent, might have bearing upon the question.
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Old 27-03-2011, 23:33   #11
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Re: Storing a Boat in the Tropics

Why ?

What places in the 20N - 20S bracket don't get lots of rain in summer ?

The middle east doesn't count. Hardly anyone will be headed there.
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Old 28-03-2011, 20:12   #12
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Re: Storing a Boat in the Tropics

I think the dehumidifier is the best solution but that requires a fair bit of power, so if you're not on a dock with power you can't use one.
I guess a week of desiccant boxes is better than nothing and if you can make the boat fairly air and water tight you may be able to suck all the water out of the air if you have enough desiccant boxes.
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