Tips for Keeping Cool Aboard Your Boat

Washdown Hose Beats The Heat boatingmag

As I ran down the bay with my family last evening, the temperature dropped noticeably as we approached the inlet. The tide was flooding, and cool tendrils of ocean water flowed into the bay dropping the local air temperature. When we left our back bay creek, we were sweating; by the time we got fully out into the ocean--just two miles away--we were reaching for sweatshirts.

Yes, boating is my favorite way to beat the heat. But sometimes, the weather is just so hot and still that even the relief found aboard the boat needs a little help. The next time that happens, try these tips to raise your boat's chill factor.

Water evaporating provides a cooling effect. Use the washdown hose, or a bucket, and splash down your fiberglass or wood cockpit sole. (If your boat's sole is covered in glued-down carpet, this tip may not be for you) Doing so will noticeably drop the "local" temperature and provide relief for your crew.

Deck hatches, or those in hardtops, are best installed so that they are hinged aft. This way, while anchored, any breeze will flow into the boat when the hatches are open. I realize some hatches are installed hinges forward on the premise that they will simply close, instead of ripping out, should a careless captain in a fast boat take off into the wind. There's some merit there, though I prefer to give skippers credit for being careful. If you add a wind scoop, like this Breeze Booster from West Marine or the Windscoop from Davis Instruments, your hatches will be even more effective.

Drink lots of water. Its what your body needs to cool down when the heat is up.

A dark cabin is a cooler cabin. While you can have custom hatch and port covers sewn by a canvas fabricator, simply draping towels ( a tarp, silver side up over all, would be the ticket in the desert or equatorial tropics) secured by lines or weights will reduce the solar gain and keep the cabin cooler.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever --Jaques Yves Cousteau