Skip to content

The 5 Best Tips for Preventing Mold and Mildew on Your Boat

The 5 Best Tips for Preventing Mold and Mildew on Your Boat

Mold and mildew are a real problem for boaters. Boats live in a wet environment and have enclosed spaces where moisture in the air and condensation create the perfect conditions to keep things damp and warm, just the way mold likes it. Once mold and mildew get established, they are difficult to get rid of, and most boat insurance does not cover related damage. The key to dealing with mold and mildew is to prevent them by creating conditions adverse to their development. We've collected the five best tips to prevent mold and mildew on your boat.

Find and seal leaks

Prevention starts with eliminating water ingress. No matter how much effort you put into drying out your boat, if water is still getting in, you are getting nowhere.

hull join seal Check all seals around deck-penetrating hardware such as hatches, stanchions, cleats, ports, vents, windlasses, bow rollers, etc. If water is getting in through any of these seals, you should remove the hardware and check that water has not seeped into the deck core. Dig out any deck core rot, fill and reseal the area, and reinstall your hardware with new sealant. Do not neglect scuppers, thru-hulls, hull joins, and the bilge. Scuppers can get clogged blocking proper drainage, thru-hulls may need to be resealed, and bilge pumps need to be checked that they are removing water properly.

Use a boat cover

Another way to stop water from entering your boat is to use a boat cover.

Boat coverWhile the cover will act as a water barrier, it also reduces airflow, which is critical to keeping your boat dry. Ensure that your boat cover is properly vented. If you are using a tight cover such as shrink wrap, it is best to add active ventilation in the cover’s vents, e.g. solar fans. Also be sure you are preventing any pooling on your cover as pooled water can find its way into your boat.

Ventilate ventilate ventilate

Probably the most important tip to take away from this article is to properly ventilate your boat. Stagnant air holds moisture and with changing temperatures, condensation will occur. Keep all areas of your boat exposed to airflow: cupboards, lockers, rooms, bilge covers, etc. should all be left open. Additionally, install vents.

cowlPassive vents such as cowls or dorades are inexpensive and easy to install if your boat does not have them. Even more effective are active vents such as solar fans (solar is best in case shore power is not accessible). When choosing an active option, ensure the vent’s rated capacity will exchange the volume of air in your boat about once an hour. It is best to have both active intake and exhaust vents located to create airflow throughout your entire boat, leaving no stagnant areas. You can also increase air movement around cushions and mattresses by adding an airflow barrier, a layer of woven polymer that allows for air circulation. Better yet, remove cushions, mattresses, blankets, and other moisture collecting materials entirely.

Reduce humidity

This one is probably obvious. Mold and mildew love humid conditions, so reducing humidity equals mold prevention. True, though there are several approaches to this to be considered.

boat dryerBoat dryers are the safest powered solutions to reducing humidity

Solutions that require power can be both impractical and dangerous. They require a constant power supply and should not be left unattended. These include heaters and dehumidifiers. A common example many boaters use is an electric lightbulb. Every year fires are caused by lights and heaters that are left on, or by their extension cords, in unattended boats. If you’re on board, feel free to run any of these devices. Electric dehumidifiers are particularly effective (be careful not to dry out the air so much that you crack interior wood)! The best option for unattended use are specially made boat air dryers. These dryers are meant for 24/7 use, have no moving parts, and include features to prevent overheating and spark. They are even rated safe for engine rooms.

calcium chloride

Solutions that do not require power are safer yet. Chemical dehumidifiers usually containing calcium chloride absorb moisture and deposit it into holding containers that you can empty. You can make a DIY version by filling buckets with sidewalk de-icer (check the label to ensure it is indeed a calcium chloride base). There are also compact silica gel units you can tuck into hard-to-reach areas that need to be changed monthly.

Keep it clean

Clean up any areas where your airflow is low, that are damp, or that are already showing signs of mold or mildew – stay on top of the problem.

mold under hatchUse 1:3 vinegar and water solution to clean up these areas. Vinegar will kill most mold species. A 10% bleach solution also works wonders with mold and mildew. There are many commercial products on the market available that work similarly. Also consider products that are designed to passively kill mold and mildew such as Tea Tree Oil gels that slowly evaporate and deposit the mold-killing oils onto interior surfaces.

Finally

Combine the above tips for best results. Reducing humidity will have a limited effect if your boat is not properly ventilated or you have a leaky deck. Make sure to check how you are doing regularly. Keep an eye on those nooks and crannies where mold may develop, and constantly adjust your strategy to make improvements. If you get a day every so often where the sun comes out and a dry breeze blows, head down to the boat and open her right up. Spend the day, have some lunch, and let her air out before closing her up again. Remember: mold and mildew control is one issue where the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” definitely applies.

Published

Recent Posts

Bent Boat Anchor Shank: Common Causes and Prevention Tips
Bent Boat Anchor Shank: Common Causes and Prevention Tips
Numerous factors can ultimately lead to a bent anchor shank, but the majority of the time this is caused either by a bad snag or from the boat shifting its load in a perpendicular direction from the anchor set. In this article, we will discuss common causes and prevention tips to help you avoid finding yourself in such an unlucky predicament.
Prepare Your Boat For An Above Average Hurricane Season
Prepare Your Boat For An Above Average Hurricane Season
According to the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS), 2021 will likely bring more hurricanes to the Atlantic coast than we have typically seen in the past. As a result, boaters are being warned to immediately begin putting together a plan of action in case a hurricane does touch down in your area.
Best Methods For Anchoring Your Jet Ski in Deep or Shallow Water
Best Methods For Anchoring Your Jet Ski in Deep or Shallow Water
Jet Ski and PWC riders often don't have actual docks or slips for you to tie up to when exploring new areas. As a result, it's important to have the right gear and know-how when it comes time to take a break and drop the anchor. Follow along below as we discuss the best methods for anchoring in either shallow or deep water.
Best Options For Connecting Your Boat To WiFi Internet
Best Options For Connecting Your Boat To WiFi Internet
Whether you’re sailing around the world, exploring remote destinations, or hosting a few friends for a weekend getaway, there has never been a better time to connect your boat and guests with high-speed internet. Today’s digital era has made connectivity an essential part of work and play for most people, so we’ve assembled the best methods for accessing the internet right from your boat.
Best Boating and Fishing Mobile Apps of 2021
Best Boating and Fishing Mobile Apps of 2021
In today's modern world, there are a plethora of apps available to help us navigate our everyday lives. In recent years the boating world has benefited greatly from a variety of helpful apps that can help take your boating experience to the next level. Boaters today can download apps to help them log their trips, download nautical charts, reserve a slip, and even learn to tie essential boating knots. We have reviewed many of the apps on the market today and are sharing our best boating and fishing apps.
Choosing the Right Lighting For Your Dock
Choosing the Right Lighting For Your Dock
Dock lights not only help give your dock the right look but also go a long way to ensure you, your guests and your property remain safe and secure. We've assembled a list of the best dock lighting options to help you find the perfect solution for your dock.
Best Anchor Rode Accessories to Make Anchoring Easier
Best Anchor Rode Accessories to Make Anchoring Easier
Anchoring with inadequate ground tackle is not only unsafe but can also make setting anchor a painstaking and arduous process. Luckily there are a number of solutions available to help simplify the process and to help keep you and your craft safe. The three main components of your anchor rode are the anchor line, chain, and anchor but additional accessories can be added to customize your system for your specific needs to help make dropping anchor a snap.
2020 Holiday Gift Guide - 15 Best Boating Gift Ideas
2020 Holiday Gift Guide - 15 Best Boating Gift Ideas
It's that time of the year again! Are you having troubles finding that perfect gift for your boating enthusiast? Never fear, we have assembled 15 of this years coolest and best gift ideas that will put a smile on any boaters face.
Best DIY Upgrades to Add Comfort and Value to Your Boat
Best DIY Upgrades to Add Comfort and Value to Your Boat
As the weather begins to cool off and the boating season starts to wind down, now is the perfect time to start planning a few DIY upgrades you can perform to improve the comfort factor and value of your boat for seasons to come.
Outboard Boat Engine Won't Start: Common Issues and Fixes
Outboard Boat Engine Won't Start: Common Issues and Fixes
Oh no! You go to crank your outboard only to realize it won't start. Don't fret - by following these common outboard problems and fixes you'll be able to identify and resolve the issue in no time.
We use cookies on Anchoring.com. By using our website, you're agreeing to the collection of data as described in our Privacy Policy. Learn more
Accept