Summer is rapidly approaching which means that Aussies are once again gearing up to head to the water to swim, sunbake and surf. Those with boats (and more commonly those with FRIENDS with boats) will be eager to get out on the water to experience summer days on the sea. Boats are a great way to spend time, but when you are stuck on them on a really hot day, it can feel like there is no way to escape the heat. You can’t simply head inside, turn the air conditioning on and take off all your clothes like you may want to. There are plenty of ways to keep cool on a boat. Some of the ways are simple and obvious, others include boat-specific equipment specially designed to keep sailors cool when out on the water.
Seems pretty simple to us. The beauty of boating is that when you get too hot, you have the option of jumping in the water. Of course, it is not always feasible. You may be sailing through a bay, it may be a heavily congested area, or an area with some pollution, or you might be all dolled-up in makeup, had your hair done or are going out after the boat and don’t want to be all sticky and gross. But, if swimming is an option, get your togs on and jump in and cool off!
Splash water around
If you don’t want to go all the way in, you can at least have a splash or a paddle around. What’s more, you can also splash water on the deck which produces a cooling effect when it evaporates. Make sure you use fresh water on the boat, as salt water can cause damage to certain areas.
Whether it is an ice pack or just ice in the cooler, there is nothing more refreshing on an incredibly hot day than putting ice on the nape of your neck or on your forehead. Keep a bunch of ice on board, and if you know it’ll be hot, bring some ice packs and maybe even some hand towels to throw in the ice cold water in the coolers.
Drink water and eat light
We need water to keep ourselves hydrated, but also to keep ourselves cool. When we get hot, we dehydrate which perpetuates and accelerates the overheating. Our bodies also have to work much harder to digest heavy, big meals, so it is much better to eat light foods and snacks throughout the day rather than eat carb and protein-heavy foods.
Shade is key to avoiding that sweltering heat. On a boat it is impossible to shelter under a tree or head inside and flick the air conditioning on, so you need to prepare some shade to bring aboard.
The best kinds of shade are protective clothing which include large brimmed hats, sunglasses shirts that cover your shoulders and neck and maybe even a bandana which you can dip in cool water to keep your head cool. Make sure your clothes are light and breathable fabric which allows the wind to pass through, and whatever you do, avoid black clothing and denim!
You can also grab a portable shade umbrella which is perfect for keeping the strong summer UV rays off you. Just be sure to keep it closed while the boat is moving or in strong winds as it will fly away and you will risk becoming another funny video on the internet. If you’ve got a bit of money set aside, you can even install a boat tent or additional shaded sections to offer your deck a little reprieve from the sun.
While not technically “shade”, it is also advisable to keep applying sunscreen regularly throughout the day, as the sunshine will creep up on you slowly but surely. Tip for beginners: put your sunscreen in the esky or cooler for a pleasant cooling sensation when you apply it.
Misting systems are the perfect option for keeping your boat crew cool without having to jump overboard or pour a bottle of water all over your head and carefully picked outfit. Some marine misting systems can lower surrounding temperature by 14 degrees, which is a welcome feature when the sun starts to beat down on your sunburned skin.
Air conditioning and fans
Technology is an amazing thing, and it has made it possible for boating to be an absolute luxury. Why wave around a handheld fan or rub ice cubes on your neck when you can install a state-of-the-art air conditioning unit, or even plug in a small, efficient fan?
Air conditioning is an amazing feature for a boat to have, however it is not within everyone’s price range (nor does it make sense for every kind of boat). If you have a big boat with a relatively large inside area, or multiple cabins, and you wish to host parties through summer, it might be in your (and your guests) best interest to invest in air conditioning for these interior areas. There are many different types of air conditions with different capabilities and capacities, so you need to make sure you pick the air conditioning system which suits your needs.
Boats can be kind of cramped so you don’t want a large, bulky household fan taking up space, but you could try small cooling fans which have plenty of power and take up minimal space.
Wind funnels, sometimes known as Windscoops or cabin coolers, are devices which attach to the hatch of a ship and direct outside air into the ship cabins. It almost looks like a miniature tent or sail, which attaches to the cabin entrance and drives wind into the cabin which keeps people cool and air circulating. Understandable, excessive wind, cool temperatures or rain can cause problems, but in those cases, you will not be worried about heat, and can simply take down the wind scoop cabin cooler and close up the hatches.
Boating is best done in the summer, when the sun is out, the water is warm and people want to party. There are plenty of ways to keep cool if you ensure that you are prepared with all the right gear, clothing and cooling options. If you’re a boat owner in a hot climate, some of the cooling technology like fans, wind funnels and air conditioners might be great investments by making your boat a better and more comfortable place to be.