Cool Your Boat Cabin With a Portable DIY Air Conditioner

MarkS just a moment. 0 comments

Some of us out there actually USE our boat’s cuddy cabin, either to get out of inclement weather, for a quick “pit stop” or imagine this: for sleeping! My wife usually insists on an air-conditioned hotel room, but I find the gentle rocking of the waves actually helps put me to sleep.

Of course, there’s a problem with boat cabins — most get really hot after your boat’s been out in the hot sun all day, raging across the water on a Poker Run. Sure, if you’ve got a big-dollar boat with built-in air conditioning, this is no problem, but for many people with more modest rides, the answer to cooling is either an expensive custom built-in unit, something really bulky and ugly-looking, or—the hotel room.

For those of us who are handy, however, I came across this neat project on Instructables (via Lifehacker) where user CameronSS has a guide to building a portable air conditioner out of a small cooler, a cheap bilge pump ($11 unit from Wal-mart) and other materials that you might already have in your garage or basement. Even if you need to buy a few parts, you’re in for about $30 or so at most for the base model. The whole unit runs on ice-power and 12v fans, which can plug into the DC outlet in your dash. Here’s what happened when the builder used it to cool off a hot vehicle:

“...the air in the cab was 95 degrees, parked in the shade after a morning of sun, and the outside heat index was 108 degrees. Within five minutes the cab had cooled to 75 degrees, and the air output was 65 degrees. With two quarts of water that had been refrigerated and 8 pounds of ice cubes, the ice had melted after 40 minutes, leaving 50 degree water, with an output of 65 degree air...”

While it’s not perfect, this project should work decently for many boats under 30’ — depending on the size of the cooler. Don’t forget, you could also put beer in the cooler too, which is a side benefit for many of us.

The Instructables website also has some alternative versions of this air conditioner; some are simpler (like the one above) — using no pump or internal radiator but simply one or two fans, with a warm-air-into-cooler / cold-air-out-of-cooler design. Check them out — I’m sure boaters would have a lot of great customizing ideas to add as well. If you build one - take a picture and send it to us! - Download Hi-Res Songs

1 Alan Walker

Different World flac

Alan Walker. 2018. Writer: Alan Walker;Fredrik Borch Olsen;James Njie;Marcus Arnbekk;Gunnar Greve Pettersen;K-391;Corsak;Shy Martin;Magnus Bertelsen.
2 Ariana Grande

​Thank U, Next flac

Ariana Grande. 2018. Writer: Crazy Mike;Scootie;Victoria Monét;Tayla Parx;TBHits;Ariana Grande.
3 Mesto

Wait Another Day flac

Mesto. 2018.
4 Anne-Marie

Rewrite The Stars flac

Anne-Marie. 2018. Writer: Benj Pasek;Justin Paul.
5 Rita Ora

Let You Love Me flac

Rita Ora. 2018. Writer: Rita Ora;Easyfun;Fred Gibson;Noonie Bao;LotusIV;Ilsey Juber.
6 Fitz And The Tantrums

HandClap flac

Fitz And The Tantrums. 2017. Writer: Fitz And The Tantrums;Eric Frederic;Sam Hollander.
7 Clean Bandit

Baby flac

Clean Bandit. 2018. Writer: Jack Patterson;Kamille;Jason Evigan;Matthew Knott;Marina;Luis Fonsi.
8 Conor Maynard

How You Love Me flac

Conor Maynard. 2018. Writer: Yoshi Breen;Thom Bridges;Hardwell;Rik Annema;Conor Maynard;Cimo Fränkel;Snoop Dogg.
9 (G)I-DLE


(G)I-DLE. 2018. Writer: Riot Music Team;Harloe.
10 Mark Ronson

Nothing Breaks Like A Heart flac

Mark Ronson. 2018. Writer: Thomas Brenneck;Maxime Picard;Ilsey Juber;Conor Szymanski;Clement Picard;Mark Ronson;Miley Cyrus.
11 Big Boi

Out At Night flac

Big Boi. 2018. Writer: Jack Patterson;John Ryan;Julian Bunetta;Big Boi.

Good Years flac

ZAYN. 2018. Writer: Anthony Hannides;Michael George Hannides;Khaled Rohaim;ZAYN;Herbie Crichlow.
13 The Chainsmokers

Beach House flac

The Chainsmokers. 2018. Writer: Andrew Taggart.
14 Imagine Dragons

Bad Liar flac

Imagine Dragons. 2018. Writer: Jorgen Odegard;Daniel Platzman;Ben McKee;Wayne Sermon;Aja Volkman;Dan Reynolds.
15 Clean Bandit

Mama flac

Clean Bandit. 2018. Writer: Jason Evigan;Jack Patterson;Grace Chatto;Ellie Goulding;Caroline Ailin.
16 Bhad Bhabie

Playboy Style flac

Bhad Bhabie. 2018. Writer: Jack Patterson;Grace Chatto;Bhad Bhabie;George Astasio;Jason Pebworth;Jon Shave;Ryan Alan;Alex Oriet;David Phelan.
17 Ava Max

Sweet But Psycho flac

Ava Max. 2018. Writer: Ava Max;TIX;Cirkut;Madison Love;Cook Classics.
18 Cat Dealers

My Way flac

Cat Dealers. 2018.
19 Cmc

As Long As I'm With You flac

Cmc. 2018.
20 BTS

Waste It On Me (Slushii Remix) flac

BTS. 2018. Writer: Steve Aoki;Jeff Halavacs;Ryan Ogren;Michael Gazzo;Nate Cyphert;Sean Foreman;RM.