Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Everett, Wa
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That Smell? Victory....maybe?
2nd post here. I got my first boat (1981 Cascade 27) in June and am now living on it. I love it. The boat sails well, is very sturdy, well outfitted and was meticulously maintained by the previous owner.
But- Man did it stink.
1st, the previous owner died, and the holding tank was left full for about 2 years before the wife decided to sell it. So the tank and lines all had to be replaced. That was a crappy job. Pun intended. That fixed about 80% of the problem.
Then- gradually the boat had been starting to smell worse and worse and I could not figure out what the hell was wrong. I read a ton of information on web about cleaning boats and reducing the odors. I did everything i read, minus renting an ozone generator and blasting it.
You know, the most common thing you read in all of the articles, is that you must locate the odor source and get rid of it. If it's crap, it's your head, if it's diesel, you got a leak, ect. Well, I could not find it. I thought it was my bilge, so I cleaned the heck out of it with no avail. I kept getting so convinced that it must be whatever I had dreamed up that day, that I did not do something..very...simple. Follow my nose. So I started sniffing everything to find out where the source stank was coming from. You can laugh, at this mental image. So i traced it to a compartment, which i had cleaned when I got the boat, and then stored some stuff in there. In there was a hand vac, some various block and tackle, flares, diesel absorbing pads (for filter changes) junk box, and some wiring for my battery selector. All of this stuff stank, but I knew it could not be the cause (the vacuum was empty and clean) so I got my light and shined it in the very back, where I saw a plastic bag with something in it. I was afraid it was going to be moldy bread, or a dead fish or something but when I opened it, I found a GREASE GUN that must have been in there for years! It was full of red grease, and had leaked a lot in the bag. I took a wiff of the bag, and shonuff, that is the smell I was smelling. It was kind of a strong diesel smell, but also kind of rotten. The boat smells 90% better today.
All this is to say, and confirm that you have to find the smelly thing, and get it off your boat. I feel like a tool for not taking the simple road and using my god given smell detection tool (nose) but now I know.
The second reason for posting this is to get some of you veteran's ideas and opinions. I am a young man (25) and don't know as much as a lot of you. I know the boat smells better, so to me that means that I found the odor and got rid of it (grease gun). But what do you think? Have you ever hear of a little grease stinking up a whole 27 foot boat? I believe it was the Valvoline Crimson grease.
I'd also love to hear other people's opinions on keeping a boat smelling nice, keeping the mold at bay, and having a nice little clean live aboard.
Thanks for reading and replying.
Tyler from Everett, Wa