Ooooh that smell. Can’t you smell that smell. The smell of death surrounds you. If you are a boater of a certain age, those words might warmly conjure up a band of Southern rock and rollers. However, if you are a boater with an acute or lingering moldy, musty odor, an altogether different and far from positive image comes to mind: a smell like death which, if not treated properly, can be the end of comfort and enjoyment aboard your boat.
Many boaters take boat odors for granted; they are something you put up with, will quickly abate when you are underway or in a wind-swept anchorage or marina or can be temporarily eliminated with deodorizers, air fresheners or a bit of elbow grease and a strong cleaner. However, persistent or chronic boat odors often indicate more pernicious factors may be at play.
One primary source of on-going “old boat smell” lies literally at the bottom of every boat – the bilge. As the lowest point in the interior of any vessel, it serves as a catchall for all manner of fluids, food particles and everyday dust and dirt. However, its location below the floorboards can make it difficult, if not impossible to clean and, especially problematic for mold, bacteria and fungus build-up, to keep dry.
Here at Marine Special Products Group, we have entered into a partnership with Florida-base Arid Bilge Systems to install and service their patented Dry Bilge Machine. Their system uses microprocessor technology, along with small-diameter lengths of plastic tubing and a variety of ultra sensitive pickups, to periodically, automatically, and thoroughly drain all water from one or more bilge compartments. This system works to remove the remaining fluids which your bilge pumps fail to remove, leaving the bilge bone-dry and therefore starving mold, bacteria and fungus of a key element they need to grow: moisture.
Another root cause of “old boat smell” is the quality of the actual air in the boat itself. For most recreational boaters, the plain fact is that their boats don’t get used that often and keeping a large space closed for a week or two creates a perfect storm for the spread of mold, mildew, and other airborne threats to a person’s respiratory system and overall health.
This is where our expertise in Marine Air Conditioning can help with boat odors. Boat AC does more than just cool the air in a stateroom or saloon; it also conditions the air by drying and filtering it, which keeps the onboard environment less damp and free from airborne particles. In situations where air quality is questionable, we often recommend a solution such as Dometic Marine’s (www.dometic.com) Breathe Easy Portable Air Purifier or In-Duct Air Purifiers.
A compact Breathe Easy portable unit can reduce airborne odors from mildew, food, tobacco, and other sources via its Photocatalytic Nano-Mesh technology with ultraviolet light. Technically speaking, the UV light bulb in the purifier activates a titanium-diode catalyst on the surface of the mesh which absorbs pollutants and odors, allowing clean air to return to the cabin. The Breathe Easy In-Duct model uses the same technology but is installed in-line in air conditioning duct hoses.
If you are contending with that smell, that old boat smell, we have a variety of solutions to help eliminate the source of noxious odors. Drop us a line and we’d appreciate the opportunity to come by your vessel and help you once again breathe in the fresh, salty smell that boating is meant to represent.