Misters: Adding Cheap & Easy “Air Conditioning” to a T-top

If you’re sick and tired of baking in the blazing sun, you may want to consider adding misters to your boat’s T-top, arch, or Bimini. Misters provide a cloud of tiny water particles which really do help cool you down. While it may not be quite as nice as “real” air conditioning, misters are amazingly effective. I installed them on my center console a few seasons back, and have found that on days when I feel like I’m melting they’re an absolute life-saver. Here’s the best news: installing misters is a piece of cake.

The tiny spray-head used for misters clips right on the end of the water supply tube, and can be tie-wrapped to the pipework.

The installation job only takes a couple of hours. You’ll need to mount a pump (belowdecks, in the console, or in a stowage compartment) and run power to it. Then, you run a tube about the size of fishtank aerator tubing from your freshwater supply (if your boat doesn’t have a freshwater tank you can simply carry a Jerry-can of freshwater and drop the end of the tube in) to and up your pipework. You can run this inside the pipes if convenient, and if not, tie-wrap it to the pipework. Basically, anywhere you’d run wires to a VHF antenna or a running light will work.

The tiny spray-heads that turn the water into mist have an “in” side and an “out” side, so to install them, you cut the tube and simply press it into either end of the spray-head. The spray-heads have self-locking clips inside, so putting these onto the tube is really a piece of cake. You can cut and install as many as you like, but the more you rig into your tube, the faster you’ll use up your water supply. (Note: I have three spray-heads on my system, and a five-gallon jug of water lasts for about four hours of continual use. But since the misters usually get used for short cool-down blasts of just five or 10 minutes, one jug lasts for months). The last spray head at the end of the line (shown in the picture) only has an “in” port and simply gets pressed onto the very end of the tube.

That’s the whole ball of wax – once the tube and spray-heads are tie-wrapped in place, you can turn on the pump and envelope the boat in a chilled mist. There are, of course, down-sides. The biggest is that wind pretty much blows the mist horizontal, and in a 10-knot breeze the system won’t do much for you. Then again, when it’s breezy you usually aren’t baking to death. Another slight problem is that the mist will collect on your sunglasses, and after standing under a spray-head for five minutes, you’ll need to wipe them off or you can’t see a thing. Still, considering the ease of installation and the low cost (my entire system cost about $350) installing misters is a great way to defeat the heat.

Lenny Rudow: