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Old 25-02-2018, 09:26   #1
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Location: Boston
Boat: Boston Whaler, Conquest 315, 31ft
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How do you keep your life jackets dry?

One problem I have is that when I return I want to stow the life jackets, but if they are wet with spray then there is a potential mold problem. This problem is especially acute if it is rainy or misty and there is no sun.

How do you deal with this problem?

I was thinking of maybe getting a fan or one of those ceramic fan-heaters, but it still might take hours to dry the jackets with something like that, and normally I don't want to sit on the boat for 6 hours after it comes back waiting for a fan to dry off the jackets.
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Old 25-02-2018, 12:16   #2
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Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
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Re: How do you keep your life jackets dry?

It's actually a hard one.

One way to approach it would be first thing when you get back to the dock, and the boat is tied up, fill a large bucket with soapy water, slosh the salty life jackets, rinse with fresh, taste them for salt free, (it always takes more fresh water than I think it should!) and hang them on the life lines to dry while you do the other putting the boat to bed chores. Right before you leave, bring them in and lay them on the cabin sole, with ventilation, to finish drying. Yes, a fan will speed drying, if you can hang them below, rather than laying them down, it will be better. You can stick them side by side on hangers, if you can string a line for them below, for instance, our boat has pad eyes on the deck beams to tie up the lee cloth for the starboard settee, and I can string a line through them. It depends on what you have or want to add how you'll do it. For instance, if you have cargo nets for them, and good ventilation, toss them there. Or you could take them home each time, and deal with them there.

Good luck with it. Complete removal of the salt is the only way I know of to prevent their mildewing. If the salt is gone, air will dry them. Salt draws moisture from the air, so they cannot dry completely as long as they are salty, they will just get damp again.

Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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Old 25-02-2018, 12:26   #3

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Re: How do you keep your life jackets dry?

What or where are you trying to stow them?

If you mean, returning to a home ashore, I'd wash them and hang them in that famous wet locker, the bathtub.

On a small open boat there may just be no place to do that. But if you have an enclosed cabin, same thing. Wash or rinse them. Spray them with one of the antifungal products (Starbrite and others make them) or the "yellow" Lysol spray, and hang them to dry.

You probably do not need a heater, but installing one of the solar fans will ensure enough airflow to get them all dry and prevent crud growing. Good way to keep the boat aired out as well.

If there's no place obvious to "hang and spread" them, consider a six foot piece of closet rod from the hardware store, and just tie that some place where it can hang them while they dry. Then stow the pole before sailing again.

As long as it is freezing cold, ice won't grow crud. Anything warmer, and the rinse/spray/airflow will keep the crud out.
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