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long term storage

posted Feb 19, 2015, 4:27 PM by Sue Norris

Reflections on long storage of our boat.

We had left our boat for quite a while and while we were gone we thought that we had sealed the boat us to keep water out ...Apparently we didn’t.  Some things were ruined. Electrical bits and pieces and screwdrivers do NOT like sitting in water. The timber walls were covered with a light coating of mildew. A mild bleach solution hopefully has helped to keep it at bay.

Wood and silicon tools and equipment(silicon cooking trays) ... things that are porous, which hold food particles or moisture will go mouldy in a humid tropical environment.  Ours were all grey and furry if they had been left out or where air could circulate. Next time I will seal them up in plastic tubs or plastic ziplock bags.  Soft furnishings were ok though. Apart from smelling musty they, fortunately, showed no sign of mildew.

The  soft foam matting  that keeps things on the table and benches had to be washed because it was mildewed. I would not put it back on the table as it was threatening to stain the wood

Paper that had been left out, although strangely crinkled with damp were less affected with mildew... perhaps it dried out enough to withstand the dampness. Inside drawers they seemed less affected...in fact perfect, just smelt musty. 

Clothing seemed to be ok, although it smelt musty. Straw hats were growing small mushroom farms (ewww)

                     hat with mushrooms                                                             grey stuff is mildew on the timber

In the galley storage I found some grey taco shells and rice paper sheets. Even though they were in “sealed” plastic bags, it wasn’t enough.

I had to throw out jars of spices. I had hoped they might be OK, although I knew they would not be; they were grey, smelly and nondescript. The only thing that was ok was an unopened sealed tin of curry powder.

White plastics had turned yellow, especially hard plastic. It seems that it is the heat not light that is doing this, because things that were away in cupboards had turned yellow too.

Tablets ( Milton, URAL, Steradent...) had puffed up their cells. I didn’t use the ones for consumption but the Milton tablets were ok for cleaning drink bottles, I think it was the CO2 that had filled the bag.  They didn’t seem damp but the atmosphere was very humid.

Vegemite, although it had a slightly weird taste was ok. We didn’t get sick anyway.

All the steel cooking tins and trays had gone rusty, non-stick peeling off.

Some electronic things did not work...straight away (without help) terminals had corroded. Being in a high salt and very humid environment meant that they were constantly soaking up moisture from the salt and corroding. Some things refused to work, like the printer.

The electrical appliances and instruments (even the wind gauge which hasn’t worked for ages) on the boat all seemed to work, including the battery operated vacuum cleaner...once it was charged

Light and fresh air seems to be the best inhibitor for mould and mildew. After a week all the smell had dissipated.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

Scrupulously clean wooden and silicon implements and make sure they are very dry before sealing up and packing away.

Clean all electrical terminals as much as possible to remove saltiness. Small items might be better in a sealed case ( hand held radio, gps) Don’t forget zips. The aluminium zipper foot needs protecting from corrosion from salt by silicon lube. Plastic ones were fine.

Clean all soft furnishings so there is no salt ingrained in the fabric and they are perfectly dry. Smaller items cushions etc put in a zip up vacuum bag so no moisture can get in.

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