• On September 1st, Maine Sail suffered a major hemorrhagic stroke. One of the most generous members of our sailing community, he has helped thousands. Now it's our turn. Click here to learn more

Termite Prevention

Aug 22, 2019
59
n/a n/a Galveston
So I have been reading how bad termites are in South Florida and now I am worried about termites. Anyone know a good way to prevent them? Thanks.
 
Jun 25, 2004
1,108
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
Sailboats can get infested by termites. I owned one. It had been to Hawaii twice before I bought it and I assume that’s where the infestation occurred. The infestation was in the wood core in the cabin top. Bugs got in at the screws for a interior light. I saw termite droppings under the light and found the infestation when I removed the cabin light to investigate.

I had to haul the boat out, put it on boat stands, and tent it to kill the bugs.

The surveyor missed it, but I don’t blame him. The boat had been recently cleaned when he inspected it. When I showed the “sawdust” to my local boat yard owner, he recognized it as termite immediately. He has seen it before.

So look at the boat carefully for evidence of termite dust or dropping. If you see sawdust or termite dropping, investigate. Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry.

(on edit: I just remembered something I first noticed droppings inside the light fixture cover. I didn't think much of it, so I cleaned out the droppings, but I noticed there were more droppings a a week or two later. That lead me to believe there was something going on. At that time, I didn't know how to recognize termite droppings. the boat yard manager recognized the dust as termite droppings.)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes: scuba201
Aug 22, 2019
59
n/a n/a Galveston
Sailboats can get infested by termites. I owned one. It had been to Hawaii twice before I bought it and I assume that’s where the infestation occurred. The infestation was in the wood core in the cabin top. Bugs got in at the screws for a interior light. I saw termite droppings under the light and found the infestation when I removed the cabin light to investigate.

I had to haul the boat out, put it on boat stands, and tent it to kill the bugs.

The surveyor missed it, but I don’t blame him. The boat had been recently cleaned when he inspected it. When I showed the “sawdust” to my local boat yard owner, he recognized it as termite immediately. He has seen it before.

So look at the boat carefully for evidence of termite dust or dropping. If you see sawdust or termite dropping, investigate. Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry.
Thanks! Just seems like all of the stories I have read are after the infestation has occurred, would really like to be pro active.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,128
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Those buggers are incredibly quick and pervasive when they attack.

We drifted a bit too close to a mangrove swamp one night at anchor in Belize during our 2019 Charter. The light on the compass was left blazing. During the night there was a rain shower breeze that swung our boat towards the mangroves.

Next morning we had swarms of the bugs on the boat decks. I closed up the the companionway, grabbed a broom and starting at the bow swept threw water on the boat to dislodge them. I soon learned that there were multiple queens and armies of workers trying to protect them. If you can remove the queen the workers soon leave. I worked for an hour in the predawn light. While able to gain the upper hand in the battle, there were stragglers who would gather around any queen not yet sent off the boat to the deep. Watching the water as the boat was swept the local fish were having a party. It took us 3 days to finally dispatch all of the queens and recover the boat from the invading hordes.

Be careful, I would think professional help to be a positive path to take.
 
Jun 2, 2004
3,160
Hunter 23.5 Fort Walton Yacht Club, Florida
We had a powerboat that lost it's plywood cored transom from termites

Between Hawaii and here in Florida I have seen them chew through everything except metal doing they're destructive best.