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Thread: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

  1. #1
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    Default Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Wood + steam x 1000 = boat death.

    How have you mitigated this? I have considered a ply and fibreglass enclosure and also a folded copper sheet type shower cubicle, with a mushroom vent above, perhaps with an inline fan.

    I realise in hot climates one can go on deck and use cool water... this is not really my question, more a cold climate where one lives aboard. How have you stopped the steam and water from rotting the hull?

  2. #2
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    You're English right? One shower a week, 1000 showers. That's a long long time. 😂 Sorry, couldn't stop myself. We have a hand held shower. It's on a hose which slides out of a kitchen flick lever tap. Floor is fibreglass with a drain to a sump with a float pump. We don't live aboard and in reality rarely shower when cruising. (I'm English too) I'm rebuilding my deck at the moment and will be putting a solar vent in the forepeak. And a Chinese knock off eberspacher diesel heater which will help keep things toasty warm and dry in winter.

    The shower and head are in the forepeak, not in a tiny sealed space of their own. There is a full louvred door into the main cabin. So good ventilation. Cooking and even just breathing probably produces far more condensation aboard than showering.

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    Last edited by Phil Y; 04-29-2019 at 04:20 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Cold Showers? No steam that way. I hear they're healthier. Let me know, I'm not willing to try cold showers.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Our shower is one of those extendable units from the sink. Put it in a clip on the bulkhead. Entire head is painted with Brightsides & there's a teak grate on the sole with a drain underneath to a sump (aka plastic box with a bilge pump & float switch in it).

    For ventilation, there's a dorade. Haven't had an issue with damage to wood - but I keep the paint up well. The head door is always left open for some time after use.

    This is Maine - so not hot & have had trips with a minimum of 1 shower/day - sometimes 2 or 3.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Thanks all.. I'm really concerned about steam getting in between my trad deck planks and between the deck and beams, in between knees etc. Interesting that so far people have said they don't try to contain it, just rely on ventilation.

    Keep it coming!

  6. #6
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    I think I read that we exhale a couple of litres of water every day. I really wouldn't worry about the shower if you have decent ventilation, which is an absolute must. Building in a sealed shower alcove would likely create more rot pockets than it would remove.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    I think I read that we exhale a couple of litres of water every day. I really wouldn't worry about the shower if you have decent ventilation, which is an absolute must. Building in a sealed shower alcove would likely create more rot pockets than it would remove.

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk
    I am likely to have myself plus 3 / 4 crew aboard. Stinking humans are one of my sea sickness triggers, so that's quite a bit of steam in a cold climate. It is also difficult to have excellent ventilation at 3 degrees C, while keeping snug. I have a good wood stove on board.

    I understand that breathing itself creates water vapour, but a shower will only add much more. Point taken about the potential dead air an enclosure could make. Thanks for your input Phil, appreciated.

  8. #8
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    A wood stove should dry things out nicely.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    I am for the fully enclosed shower stall. Steam will condense on anything it touches (you have basicly 0 insulation) and this condensate must be removed. Either it runs down into the bilge (no chance with clinker) or your heater is able to dry the atmosphere inside the boat (dehumidifier and forced ventilation or a drafty boat with a big stove).
    I would prefer a fiberglass shower cabin with rounded corners all around and good doorseal. Install a vent with fan to the outside and install forced ventilation between the cabin walls and the hull.
    Shower etiquette: shower/steam bath, turn on outside vent (a stout bilge blower would do nicely) and dry yourself, step out of the cabin, clean cabin, clothes on, leave the blower on for another 5-10min to dry the cabin out.
    Such shower stalls can sometimes be had from caravans/mobile homes, but one has to have the space for them in the boat. Getting them inside the boat can also be a challange but you can cut them up and reassemble. One big advantage is cleaning, just spray with the cleaner/desinfectant of choice and use the showerhead itself to rinse off since everything is gelcoated and designed to drain.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    If you have space for a dedicated shower stall, a small pan can be incorporated with 1/4" corian (or similar solid surface) to construct a waterproof shower. There are solar vents available that have long run times and would remove most of the moisture.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumars View Post
    I am for the fully enclosed shower with a good door seal.
    ^This has kept me pondering for a few months too. The best door seal is one that open inwards. In a situation where space is limited (mine will probably be a sit down affair, the foot well being the pump out sump), getting around an inwards opening door won't be easy. Perhaps a taut curtain stretched between upper and lower rungs will a generous lateral overlap?

    I can see an awkward ply and epoxy project made in situ in my future.

    Good discussion...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    I've spent time aboard a friend's boat that has a dedicated shower stall & it is wonderful. However, it's a lot of space used for something that's used maybe 10 minutes a day & is unusable for anything else.

    An inward opening door would be miserable I'd think & a problem if you have someone aboard who is too big for it.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    If space is limited you can simply use a waterproof zipper. One part of the zipper gets sewn and glued to a heavy waterpoof fabric strip (PVC, hypalon, etc). This you glue (and screw if you like) to the entrance. The curtain gets the other side of the zipper. Zipper looks like an U, when not in use curtain can be rolled up.
    This is one project where I would not use plywood but foam cored fiberglass panels.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    A shower stall can also be a wet locker for foul weather gear or storage if not being used.

    I find true glory in getting rid of diesel, sweat, fish stink and other odious gunk at the end of a day's sail, before sitting down to some food. Really had enough of scrounging showers at friends houses too, and marinas aren't really my thing, hence why I'd really like one on board.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    ^This has kept me pondering for a few months too. The best door seal is one that open inwards. In a situation where space is limited (mine will probably be a sit down affair, the foot well being the pump out sump), getting around an inwards opening door won't be easy. Perhaps a taut curtain stretched between upper and lower rungs will a generous lateral overlap?
    Kind of a drift, but...

    About 15 years ago, I knew a guy who had a heart attack while in the head of a boat with an inward opening door. He called for help, and CPR-certified freinds were aboard.

    But they could not open the door but a crack, since he had collapsed against it and it was inward opening.

    He did not make it.

    Drift over.
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    If store bought cored panels are to expensive, XPS foam with light fiberglass and epoxy is also an option. Or even simpler build the whole thing out of reinforced PVC fabric on a frame.
    Waterproof zippers come in many flavours from waterrepellant to gastight. YKK and TZIP are the best known brands.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    would you consider a bath instead ?

    at home, i've noticed that taking a bath releases far less moisture and steam into the air than the stand-up shower.. almost none, really.
    even sitting down while using the hand shower is far better off

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumars View Post
    ....use a waterproof zipper.
    This solution has legs.. thanks, I had not thought of that. I will look for one.

    While a gimballed bath does have it's appeal, it might put a dent in my 400 litre water supply...

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    How about a tent? It does need 7' of head room unless you can find another way to hang it.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    I had an army tent like that for a while Dave, with a Puffin Billy water stove in it...I love old reliable tech.

    Whilst a canvas walled shower certainly does provide for the disassembly that might be useful and needed to get to planks in a hurry, something which I try to be ever mindful of, it would seem, well, how can I put this? A bit crap? Flimsy? I do like the idea of a roll up canvas door with waterproof zips however. I'm just not sure how to make the walls, whilst being able to get behind it all if needed.

    This is going to be a tough design route to call and get started on, but thank you all for your input thus far.

  21. #21
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    If this wash pod is so well sealed, how will the ventilation fan pull any air through? Frankly I think some of these suggestions are a bit nuts. What's wrong with an outward opening door? Mine happens to open inward, but it doesn't seal up tight like an aircraft door. Quite often on boats the head/shower is adjacent to the mast and the door opens outward, neatly seperating the main cabin from the forepeak, if you want to latch it in in that position. Design your door frame so that any wetness running down the door falls into the shower stall. A zipper? Really? Like on a tent? They are so much fun. Not. Sorry. Rant over.

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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Outward opening doors are by default going to let water run down them, and being sealed by pressure on the outer face of the shell, will let water run down between the seam. How to design a door frame for an outwards facing door to let water run down inside, pray tell?

    I have been on many boats that have that 'double function' door by the mast. I get it, but I can't do that on mine. It was just a general enquiry for ideas, and several good ones for me to knock around have surfaced.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    A "canvas" walled shower will only look crap or flimsy if you build it that way. Properly tensioned heavy PVC fabric will look like wallpaper. You can get it textured, matte, shiny, any colour you want, or custom printed. 450gr/sqm is the stuff that makes outdoor banners, 900-1000-1200-1450gr/sqm makes inflatable dinghys, liferafts and lorry trailer side curtains. There are multiple ways to do it and it depends on the actual shower space design, but from heavy wood framing to inflatable supports everything is possible.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Wandering Star has a dedicated shower, but it's not hot water. The pan is fg, the sides are ply that may be glassed, the overhead is ply as are the rest of the bulkheads in the head. While she doesn't have hot water, she has sailed for 50 years, 40 of them in Florida where it's always humid. We raise the shower curtain to help reduce mold, there is an opening window in the head. I think you'll be fine.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    If this wash pod is so well sealed, how will the ventilation fan pull any air through? Frankly I think some of these suggestions are a bit nuts. What's wrong with an outward opening door? Mine happens to open inward, but it doesn't seal up tight like an aircraft door. Quite often on boats the head/shower is adjacent to the mast and the door opens outward, neatly seperating the main cabin from the forepeak, if you want to latch it in in that position. Design your door frame so that any wetness running down the door falls into the shower stall. A zipper? Really? Like on a tent? They are so much fun. Not. Sorry. Rant over.

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk
    I have the double duty door on my boat & generally like it. Will it drip? Yep. A quick wipe-down with a chamois keeps it to about 10 drips or so. If the cabin sole can't handle that quantity of water, what do you do in a storm when you open the companionway hatch?

    I too have been surprised by the concern here. A zipper in a less than 1 meter diameter shower? How do you bend down to unzip it? How do you keep the plastic/whatever clean from soap scunge? How do you dry it?

    IMHO, good ventilation in the head (there are other reasons than moisture for this!) & sealing the wood in the head well with paint/varnish will prevent any issues.

    [end of my rant]
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  26. #26
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    Make the door protrude a little inside of the frame and slope the door sill toward the interior of the wash pod. I just wonder if you are over thinking this a bit. Finish that course you are doing and come back to it!

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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Of course there is Ian's practice -- pouring hot water into a garden pressure-sprayer and sousing yourself with that; but it has to be in an open area where the water just goes into the bilge and gets pumped overboard.

    In Ontario, where I sail Drake, we have a luxury and a hardship. The luxury: in summer we just jump overboard into the sweetest cleanest fresh water you can imagine. The hardship: summer only lasts 3 months.

  28. #28
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    You don't really want your shower water going into the bilge.

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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    We have a pretty big boat and don't have a dedicated shower. We plan to use our forepeak area as it's unfinshed wet locker sort of area. Probably start off with hand pump pressure sprayer / solar shower set up.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Magnets. Lots of magnets. Clear vinyl sheet. Lapped seams, not watertight.

    Or:
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Ok, a bit late to this one but my two cents based on living aboard a wooden boat for several years. Full head but no separate shower stall. What I did:

    1. I fabricated a plywood and fiberglass pan with a lip to catch all of the water so it would run into the sump with no places for it to collect at the edges.

    2. I had a hand-held spray head attached to it's own tap.

    3. I used a wrap-around shower curtain to keep as much of the water off of the interior surfaces as possible. In my case I just used elastic cord as a curtain rod with a hook so that I could easily unhook the cord and stow the entire thing out of the way. But specific details of the curtain install would depend on the layout of the space of course.

    4. I installed a hook on the door so I could prop it open ~4" or so.

    That's it. After a shower I would sqeegee any water off of the curtain into the shower pan, stow the curtain, open the portlight, and prop the door open. Worked great. I never had any problems with moisture. That's what I'm planning to do on Skookum Maru to improve the existing shower setup. I think anything more than that is really overkill unless you are in a very hot/moist climate.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Thanks all for the ideas. The main thing I'm worried about is this.

    41.JPG

    The beams and knees are now varnished and the underside of the decks painted; this shot is from years ago. Trad deck, caulked with cotton and Jefferey's on top. We all work so hard to keep decks watertight from fresh water to mitigate rot, I find it hard to swallow that I should then outflank my hard work and attack my decks from below with steam that will get into every cranny available..! Maybe I'm worrying needlessly, I realise ventilation is key. I'd just much rather a watertight room with perhaps a mushroom vent punching through the deck.

    I intend to live aboard full time. I have stripped washed outside throughout the year during my rebuild, I'd really like the luxury of an internal hot shower now, but it would be great if I didn't kill the boat in the process.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    Again, just my opinion, but I think decent ventilation and wiping down excess water is all you should need to do. I mean, you aren't worrying too much about rain on the decks, right? It rains, they get wet, then they dry off again. Same on the inside. As long as you are not trapping moisture in the head I don't think you will have a problem.

    ETA: If you are going to live aboard in a cool and rainy climate - and I assume anywhere in the British Isles would qualify - I would highly recommend finding a copy of "The Warm Dry Boat" by Roger McAfee. Great practical info on, well, keeping your boat warm and dry. Sadly out of print but copies do come up in the usual places.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Large boat owners, show me your showers.

    What you need is exactly what I have in my motorhome (RV to you yanks) Its a closet, lined with plastic panelling, an outward opening door but essentially also has a shower curtain. Effectively a wet room, with a big vent in the roof above but also my air heating is ducted into the space, so it dries out quickly. Its a small space which also has a portaloo on a shelf. About 3ftx3ft & its actually plenty big enough.

  35. #35
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    On a boat, I'd worry about the closed in spaces between the plastic box and the hull. Rot traps.

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