A hidden low spot for dirt and liquids to collect. And boy, they have!

Where Gunk Collects

A few days ago, a partial bucket of water spilled on the floor and Dave noticed that quite a bit of it just disappeared into the seam between the fiberglass floor and the teak and holly overlay.

So he unscrewed the wood and lifted it up to wipe up the water.

Bothered by Mold and Mildew on Your Boat? One hidden place to check for dirt and spilled liquids.


I was embarrassed by what we found.

Sixteen years of accumulated dirt, grime, mold and mildew. The back side of the wood was the worst

While we have never noticed any particular “funky boat” smell on Barefoot Gal, it had to be there. And that incubator for mold and mildew can’t be good for putting the boat into storage for the (hot and humid) summer.

We got two of the floor sections cleaned before we left Marathon, using lots of bleach to kill the mold and mildew and letting the wood dry thoroughly before putting it back down. Where there was just dirt, we vacuumed it up and then washed the fiberglass. Four more sections to go.

I am not looking forward to the ones by the table and in front of the refrigerator. What food and drink must have spilled and collected there?

A friend on another Gemini told us that after spilling a Coke one day and watching it disappear under the floorboards, he (of course) began with the same lifting the floorboard and cleaning under it. But when he rescrewed the wood, he set each screw in silicone and ran a thin bead of silicone around the edge where it meets with the fiberglass in order to seal it off.

That seems like a good idea, although I wonder if minute cracks would develop in the silicone that would still let liquids through. John has never lifted his floorboards since doing it, so can’t say for certain that nothing has collected.

Got any similar places on your boat where you’ve found more gunk than you imagined could be there?

I'd like to know about...

Explore more

Want weekly tidbits of cruising information? Sign up for The Boat Galley's free weekly newsletter. You'll get the newest articles and podcasts as well as a few relevant older articles that you may have missed.

Do you find The Boat Galley useful? You can support the site when you buy from Amazon by using the links on this site or clicking below. No extra cost for you!

  • Ralph Lewis
    Posted at 27 April 2015 Reply

    Cheap white vinegar works better than bleach – about 1 cup/gal of water.

  • Patricia Leat
    Posted at 27 April 2015 Reply

    How on earth do you lift the floorboards that are built in under cabinets?

  • Skylar Walker
    Posted at 27 April 2015 Reply

    Good advice. Also, this is easy to clean up if you find it soon after it happens. Sometimes all it takes is a Magic Eraser. If not 50/50 water & hydrogen peroxide sprayed on, soak awhile and wipe clean. Also helps to have the area well painted.

  • Gimme Shelter
    Posted at 27 April 2015 Reply

    We know this story all too well.

  • Jennifer Dean Neumann
    Posted at 28 April 2015 Reply

    I have so many nooks and crannies! And a 30 year old boat I’ve been planning to thoroughly clean since I bought it 4 1/2 years ago. Some day.

Post A Comment