Shrinking Your Boat, or Not
28 November 2012 | Boston, MA
I recently shared this picture with my mom. She said she had trouble explaining to her friends (at bingo of course) that her daughter lived on a boat in the winter - and that the boat was shrinkwrapped. She called back to say her friends wondered why some boats were wrapped in white shrinkwrap and we used clear wrap - what's the difference. For all you folks in warm climates, you can stop reading now and pick up your fresh coconut juice - sooo jealous. If you plan to winter in the north - read on.
Shrinkwrap comes in three colors - blue, white and clear. White shrinkwrap is used more for boats in storage or in the southern climates to reflect heat and keep covered boats cooler. There are some folks that live under white shrink here in the north. White shrink is a lot cheaper than clear. Clear shrinkwrap is used on most liveaboard boats in the north. There are also folks that don't wrap at all. These folks sail their boat in the winter (what hearty souls), or feel the wrap is pretty wasteful (despite the recycling bags), or they just don't want to spend the $300-400 (it you do it yourself) or $1000 (if you have someone else do it) for a few months of winter - in our dreams.
We have chosen to wrap for two reasons. The shrink absorbs a lot of heat and makes your boat a giant greenhouse. One day this week our boat actually hit 70 degrees inside the cockpit - ah creating summer however we can. The shrink also helps keep the snow off the decks and keeps down the dampness inside the boat (also we still buy a dehumidifier). The best way to think about shrinkwrap is that it is three days of really hard work to get it done, but provides great joy come spring in the 15-20 minutes it will take us to cut it all off.