Stay Cool on Your Boat This Summer – Tips for You and Your Furry Crew

Ah, summer—the season of sun, sea, and sizzling temperatures. While the Pacific Northwest offers some relief with its cool breezes, there are days that you and your boat can’t escape the heat. Whether you’re cruising the serene waters of Puget Sound or anchored in a secluded cove, keeping cool on your boat is paramount. And let’s not forget our furry friends who rely on us to ensure they don’t overheat. Here are some clever tips to keep you and your crew cool as cucumbers.

Embrace the Shade

One of the simplest ways to beat the heat is by creating shade on your boat. If your vessel doesn’t come equipped with a bimini top or a canopy, consider investing in one. These provide ample shade and can reduce the temperature significantly. For an extra trick, use an emergency blanket—yes, the same shiny, crinkly kind used in survival kits. Draping an emergency blanket over a window or an exposed area can reflect the sun’s rays and keep the interior cooler. It’s lightweight, easy to store, and incredibly effective.

If you are at anchor or heading to the beach you can also try a pop up shade tent or an umbrella. I have this weighted half base on my boat that holds an oversized umbrella in place. Make sure the umbrella has one or two wind vents at the top, I purchased the one with the open and close crank so I don’t have to fight with it in the wind. A pricier option is the rail mounted boat umbrella from Magma with adjustable tie-down lines.

Low-Draw Fans for a Breezy Boost

When the natural breeze just isn’t cutting it, a low-draw, circulating fan can be a game-changer. These fans are designed to use minimal energy while providing maximum airflow, making them perfect for boats where conserving power is essential. Place a few strategically around the cabin to keep the air circulating. A fan blowing directly on you (or your dog) can make a world of difference in comfort levels. I purchased the Honeywell HT900 and place it by the helm door, pointing to the ceiling. I also have a couple of USB rechargeable fans that I plug in when I am on shore power or the generator is running then I can use them when I am not charging the boat for a no-draw fan! I purchased this adjustable height fan with four settings.

Hydration is Key

This might seem like a no-brainer, but staying hydrated is crucial. Always have plenty of fresh water on board for both you and your dog. Insulated water bottles (I prefer the wide mouth to add ice) or coolers with ice packs can keep your drinks refreshingly cold. I also add an Organika Electrolyte Powder to stay extra hydrated and to replenish important minerals throughout the day.

For your dog, consider a portable, spill-proof water bowl. Encourage frequent drinking—dehydration can sneak up faster than you think, especially in the heat.

Water Play for Pups

Dogs love to splash and play, and a quick dip can help them cool down. If your dog is comfortable with swimming, let them take a swim break. Just make sure to use a doggy life jacket, especially if you’re in open or deep water. For non-swimmers, a shallow kiddie pool on deck can provide a fun and refreshing way to beat the heat. Fill it with cool water and let your pup splash to their heart’s content.

Spray Bottles and Cooling Towels

A simple spray bottle filled with cool water can be a lifesaver, I love the continuous spray, fine mist bottle. Mist yourself and your dog throughout the day to lower your body temperature. For an added cooling effect, use a towel soaked in cold water. Drape it over your shoulders or your dog’s back. There are also specialized cooling towels available that stay cooler for longer periods—definitely worth the investment for those scorching days. I also purchased a cooling mat for my dog and he loves it.

The Power of Evaporation

Another handy gadget is a portable misting fan. These combine the cooling effects of water mist with a fan, creating an evaporative cooling effect that can make even the hottest days bearable. They’re battery-operated, making them perfect for boat life. Set one up on deck and let it work its magic. Especially fun for a very cool dock party.

Protect Those Paws

The deck of a boat can become unbearably hot in the sun, and it’s easy to overlook how this affects your dog. Always check the temperature of the deck before letting your dog walk on it. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws. Lay down a light-colored towel or mat for them to walk and lie on. Dog booties are another option to protect those sensitive pads but make sure you get ones with a non slip, thick base (not the thin socks).

Strategic Anchoring

Choosing where to anchor can make a big difference. Look for spots with natural shade, like overhanging trees or cliffs. Better yet, pick a side of the channel where the sun goes down first. The shade from the land can provide a cooler environment than being out in the open. Plus, the scenery is usually better!

Stay Sun Safe

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget about sun protection. Wear lightweight, long-sleeved clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and plenty of sunscreen. Dogs can get sunburned too, especially those with short or light-colored fur. Apply a pet-safe sunscreen to their nose, ears, and any other exposed areas. If your dog has a light-coloured nose, a balm is a good option.

Final Thoughts

Summer boating should be fun and relaxing, not a battle against the heat. By implementing these tips and tricks, you can ensure that you and your dog stay cool and comfortable, no matter how high the mercury rises. Remember, a happy boat is a cool boat. So grab your emergency blanket, low-draw fans, and water bottles—let’s make this the best summer on the water yet!

Stay cool, stay hydrated, and most importantly, enjoy every moment out there. After all, isn’t that what boating is all about?

I only endorse products I have used or that come highly recommended by a fellow boater.  If you purchase a product through an Amazon affiliate link, I may receive a small commission.  However, there is no extra cost to you.  I am not recommending products solely for the commission, I am doing it so I can try more cool products.