Keeping your boat well ventilated isn’t just a question of comfort it is also an important part of reducing maintenance and wear and tear on your boat. This is especially true for wooden boats or boats with wooden finishes as poor ventilation can lead to the build-up of rot and mildew. And while it is unlikely to sink your vessel, it can be very costly to repair if left too long.
When it comes to the comfort of the crew, ventilation plays an important role. Cabins trap hot air and this is especially true when the crew is holed up inside during bad weather or if you use the galley for cooking. Galley heat can be so bad that some boat owners insist on exclusively using the deck grill for cooking.
So what can you do to improve the ventilation on your vessel? Below we’ve listed 5 of the most effective devices and tips for improving the airflow and ventilation in your cabin.
GET A LOCKLATCH
LockLatch is used in homes around the world. It is a lockable latch that can be fitted to any door or window (or porthole) so you can leave them ajar, but still securely locked in place. Although LockLatch is made to be applied just about anywhere, it was originally invented for boats. The inventor of this ingenious device, Anthony Bairos, created it as a solution to the combination of hot weather and petty crime he faced while sailing off the North East Coast of Brazil. LockLatch not only allows you to better control how wide you open your boat hatches, but also allows you to leave them open when you are docked or have gone ashore.
While screens are intended to help with airflow, they still have a big effect on the amount of air that comes into your cabin. If you are sailing in an area that doesn’t have lots of bugs, it’s good practise to remove your screens to allow for maximum air circulation and stops hot air from being trapped inside. Removing screens is not always possible, but is a cost effective way to get that little bit more fresh air that can make life more pleasant.
GET A WIND SCOOP
For such a simple idea a wind scoop really can go a long way towards helping get fresh air into your cabin and keep it cool. Wind scoops are usually placed over the forward hatch and catches any cool breeze and directs it down into the cabin. Another variation on this idea is called the breeze booster, it is designed to function the same way as a wind scoop but fits over the side deck port light instead of the forward hatch.
GET UNDER COVER
There are a number of different shade and cover options for your boat. Which one is right for you will depend on the size and nature of your craft, but cover is a great way to reduce the overall temperature of the deck. These can range from awnings placed over the forward hatch, which allow you to keep it open even during light rain. Another type of shade is a boom tent, these inflatable tents are usually placed over the boom (as the name suggests) and can be deflated and easily stowed when not in use.
INSTALL SOME FANS
Fans help air circulate around the cabin, by placing a few near ducts or hatches you can pull cooler air in from outside and allow it to flow around your cabin. A system of fans can pull air through the cabin cooling more areas. There are a wide variety of fan and ventilator options available, so you can easily find the right combination for your boat.
GET A GALLEY EXTRACTOR
Instead of helping get cool air in, a galley extractor fan is intended to get hot air out. We’ve already spoken about how the galley is a particular trouble area when it comes to cabin temperature and the general quality of air. A dedicated galley exhaust fan stops this hot air from circulating. If you’re looking to have your exhaust fan running regularly you may want to explore the possibility of getting a 12v solar powered fan.
PUT THE “VENT” BACK IN VENTILATION
The trouble with letting air into your cabin is keeping water out. That’s why boats have special vents that help you keep your cabin both fresh and dry. Choosing the right vent depends on the size and purpose of your boat. The best vents for rough seas and bad weather are dorade vents. These vents feature special cowls that capture large amounts of air and redirect it below through a box which funnels water back out onto the deck. They can also be turned in different directions to take advantage of winds or create airflow between two separate vents.
We hope that you found this article on boat ventilation useful. Perhaps you have a device or method we haven’t heard of before. Why not email us on [email protected] and we can include it in a future article.
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