Staying Dry: How to Reduce Spray on Your Boat

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No matter how big your boat may be or how well it was designed, it’s going to take some spray now and again. Most of the time this is no big deal – heck, it can even be fun – but when it’s chilly and you have a long run home, wet is the last thing you want to be. You want to reduce the spray? Here’s how.

– For starters, get the bow up. Trim the drive up so the stern squats, and as water breaks farther aft on the hull, spray won’t make its way aboard as often. Shifting weight aft helps, as well as trimming.

– Slow down. Or, speed up. It’s impossible for me to say which is the right move for you to make because some boats simply run drier than others at different speeds. Experiment, and find out what speed is the driest on your boat. Note: on most powercats, going very slow makes it worse. Because of their fine, low-buoyancy bows, there’s often a speed zone between two and six mph or so where powercats become very, very wet.

– Change your angle to the waves. In most cases you won’t want to try this since it will extend the cruise home, but if you have a short leg across open water, it may be worth doing to keep you dry.

– If you have an exceptionally wet boat, add spray rails. Some brands, like Smart-Rails, can be affixed to the hull with pre-applied adhesives. (Installation is peel-and-stick simple). In my experience, glue-on rails will hold tight for three or four seasons before they’ll need to be removed, and re-affixed. That makes ’em thoroughly worthwhile; on a 16′ skiff I used to own, adding a set of spray rails cut spray by about 40-percent, in my estimation.

I had Smart Rails on a 16-footer (this photo is from their web site, not my boat), and it cut spray significantly.

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