QWe’re seasonal boaters and pack up the boat for the winter, but come the spring, however much we try to air it, the boat smells musty, a bit mouldy and damp when we open it up. What would you advise?
MARCUS PETERS, via email
ANICK REPLIES… Fresh air is a good friend all year round, especially during the winter. If windows are left closed and the surface of the walls and windows become colder because the outside air temperature is lower, condensation will form inside, hence the damp, musty smell.
Some people leave a window hopper or two open over the winter to keep air circulating around the boat and that certainly helps. If you can get to the boat regularly, then do that and thoroughly air it; run the engine, too, because mechanical items simply hate just sitting around doing nothing for months on end, plus it will keep your batteries charged up and they’ll last longer.
You can also get a dehumidifier; they aren’t expensive nowadays and really do work. They reduce the humidity in the air by sucking it in, removing the moisture and then blowing dry air back out. You’ll certainly notice the difference. You’ll need to check how the water drawn out of the air is dealt with; some dehumidifiers have a tank that collects it so you’d need to drain that regularly, while others simply have an outlet pipe so you’ll need to think where that excess water is going to go.
Also, how are you going to power it? If you have a mooring with a shoreline then leaving one switched on is no problem, but if you haven’t and you run it through the inverter, you’ll risk running the batteries down very quickly.
But perhaps the best solution is to continue to take the boat out through the autumn and winter, the cruising can be great at this time.