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Remediation of Mold on Boats

By: Matthew Yurina, Sr. Mold Remediation Specialist



CONTAIN- the mold from spreading into uncontaminated areas;

KILL- the mold;

REMOVE- the dead mold and materials used for remediation; and

PROTECT- the cleaned out area against future mold infestations.



Boats are arguably the most susceptible things in the world for mold growth for one simple reason: They spend time in water and in humid conditions. All boats suffer humidity and spray from lakes or ocean water. Any organic or cellulose based surface (wood, upholstery, sheetrock, etc.) that remains damp for more than 24-48 hours is potential mold and mildew growth. Left untreated, can cause up to a total loss of a boat.

(Be sure to read our Basics of Mold Remediation page. It will go into detail about the major steps that should be taken in all mold contamination situations.)

Before entering any area infested with mold or mold spores, be sure to have a P100 respirator. This will protect against 99.97% of mold spores. During remediation mold spores will be stirred up in the millions, and, depending upon what species youíre dealing with and how susceptible you are to that species, breathing in spores could be extremely dangerous. Itís also advisable to have gloves, goggles and protective clothing.

Assuming youíve dried out the boat in its entirety and understand the full extent of the mold growth, youíre ready to perform the actual remediation. Infested porous materials like drywall and insulation need to be removed up to three feet from the physical mold growth. Treat the nonporous surfaces with the Oxy Mold, and use a brush or scrapper to take up as much of the growth as possible. Put the mold into plastic bags or wrap it up in 6mil polyethylene and remove it from the area carefully without spreading spores around.

Upholstery with serious mold growth on it should be thrown away also. If the upholstery has no visible growth and is just suspected of having mold spores trapped in it, youíll need a steam cleaner to apply a fungicide to the surfaces.
The steam cleaner will push the fungicide much deeper into the upholstery than spraying or Fogging.  If the upholstery is untreatable then you may need to soak the entire piece in Oxy-Mold MX-500 for 30 minutes several days apart. Then let dry. Youíll need to apply the MX-500 at least twice, allowing the upholstery to dry for at least 24 hours in between applications.

Canvas with mold growth can be attempted to be cleaned with oxygenated bleaches and or by steam cleaning. It may not be possible to remove some mold and mildew stains without destroying the canvas.  Once the canvas has been cleaned it can be treated with Oxy-Mold MX-500 to kill the mold and mildew growth. Treat two times over a 24-48 hour period.

Canvas can be treated with a fungicidal sealant that can prevent future mildew and mold growth. Always test a small area for color steadfastness before completely using the product. The Anti-Growth sealant can provide up to five years of strong protection against future mold growth, and is going to be the best way to prevent mold from growing again.

For wood, metal, fiberglass, etc. surfaces, youíll need to apply the fungicide with a pump sprayer or fogger. A fogger is recommended if the air inside is contaminated with mold spores. You may want to consider a fungicidal sealant like Anti-Growth to prevent future mold growth on things like canvas or fiber glass that say wet for long periods of time.

Once the mold has been removed and the areas have been treated with a fungicide, youíll want to conduct post testing (clearance testing) to be sure that the mold is dead. This is essential in boats because they get damp easily, and even small amounts of moisture can start mold growing again if live spores are still present. Itís recommended to do at least one indoor air sample test, and up to two or three swab surface tests (around the area where the mold growth was the worst) to be sure youíre mold free.

Only after you have proof that the mold is indeed dead should you do any reconstruction or repainting. Once the job is complete, itís highly recommended to apply a fungicidal sealant. The Anti-Growth sealant can provide up to five years of strong protection against future mold growth, and is going to be the best way to prevent mold from growing again.

After the mold remediation is completed, mold test (clearance testing) all of the remediated surfaces plus the air of each room in the basement, and the outward air flow from each heating/cooling duct register to find out if those areas are now mold safe prior to rebuilding the cleaned out areas with new building materials.


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This is an informational website about mold, it's health effects, and how to treat it. Although Trask Research, Inc. believes it to be accurate, Trask Research, Inc. make no representation, warranty or guaranty, and disclaims any liability, with regard to the accuracy or completeness of the information, or the results of any action taken by anyone who relies on the information. If you have any question regarding your particular application, we ask that you seek professional advice and assistance in your area. Trask Research, Inc. is not responsible for any damage or loss due to the use of this information. Use this and any information obtained at this web site at your own risk.