What is the best soundproofing material for boats? I have been receiving this question over and over again. Well, the reason being is that boats are noisy and in most cases, disturbing.
If you have a boat, it means that you like relaxing at sea with your loved ones or friends. But having that deafening engine sound is not a good relaxation.
You might end up asking yourself how to soundproof a boat? Or, what is the best soundproofing material for boats?
Well, there are hundreds of materials you can use to soundproof a boat. But the most common one is the sound deadening insulation material you can buy from online.
Before sharing the best soundproofing material for boats, let me share some tips on how you can dampen the sound coming the boat’s engine.
Disclaimer: I don’t have a boat but I have friends who own one. So the techniques that I will be sharing in this post are something I saw personally. For years of being with them boating, I learned the soundproofing techniques that will also helpful for people who have boats.
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Soundproofing a Boat
You bought a boat with a clear purpose in mind – that is to be a relaxation place. But there’s one problem, the boat’s engine produces a deafening sound that disturbs everyone.
As a result, the conversation halted as the engine starts. This reduces excitement and boating experience. In my experience, the engine disturbs all the people on board. You need to shout before others can hear you.
This scenario is certainly a frustrating one. And definitely not what you expect to have when you planned to buy a boat.
The engine of the boat is not the only source of the noise. The generator and air conditioners could also contribute to the disturbing sound production.
The ultimate solution is to soundproof the boat’s engine room, the air conditioning system, and the whole boat if you want.
Is There Really a Need for Marine Soundproofing?
For someone who experiences sailing on an engine-powered vessel, I believe that reducing the sound that comes from the engine can do a huge difference in boating experience.
Aside from making the boat quieter, there are several reasons why you might want to soundproof a boat. Some of those reasons are:
- To Reduce the Noise
Obviously, the ultimate goal of soundproofing a boat is to make it quieter. Doing so allows you and your guests to enjoy the sea life. It maximizes the time you spend together by having a great conversation during the whole time.
- To Avoid Disturbance to Nearby Boat Owners when Docked
Soundproofing a boat not only allows your guests to enjoy the life at sea but also makes you safe from any complaints that other boat owners may have. This is a common issue when the boat is docked.
- To Improve the Boat’s Sound Quality
Reducing the sound allows the conversation to run smoothly. No one needs to shout to be heard.
What are the Benefits of Soundproofing a Boat?
The answer is obvious. A soundproof boat allows you and your guests to experience tranquility and total relaxation. Therefore, boating can be even more exciting than ever.
A quieter boat helps you achieve your ultimate goal of becoming mentally calm and physically relaxed. Apart from these benefits, there are specific things you will enjoy sailing on a soundproof boat such as:
- Hearing Safety
Commonly, boats are really noisy. In fact, the noise can reach up to 100 decibels (dB). Decibel is a sound or noise intensity unit that indicates how noisy a machine or place is.
A hundred decibel is detrimental to the human hearing system. In fact, if you are exposed to 85 dB for a considerable period of time, you can lose your hearing. How much more if you are constantly dealing with a 100 dB?
But how do you know that your boat is extremely noisy? Well, there are cellphone apps or gadgets you can use to measure decibel. But the easiest way to determine it is by observing a conversation during the trip. If the person or you can’t hear the person next to you, that’s a sign that the boat is indeed so noisy.
- Increased Operational Safety
Boats nowadays are run by electronics. This means that a percentage of the operation is monitored by gadgets or electronics.
For instance, a smoke detector is an electronic system that emits sound if there is smoke. In a noisy deck or cabin, no one can hear the sound signal that denotes danger. If this happens, the boat and the lives on it can potentially be in great danger.
To avoid a problem like this, you need to figure out the best soundproofing material for boats you can use to reduce noise. A quieter boat is a safer one.
- Reduce Stress
The noise of any kind is one of the bad sources of mental stress. Needless to say that when you are exposed to a noisy environment you’ll most likely become stressed.
Previous scientific studies suggest that noise can potentially cause anxiety and depression. One of those studies was conducted in 2016. If an individual is stressed, the body releases stress hormones as a response to stressful situations. And the higher the amount of stress hormone the greater the psychological danger a person faces.
It does not need high dB for stress to start kicking in. In fact, a study indicates that even a 10 decibel is enough to trigger or increase stress levels or other psychological problems.
Boating should be a calming experience because the ultimate goal of doing so is to relax a little bit from the noisy world. So having a soundproof boat is a must.
- Enhance Insulation
Soundproofing does not only reduce sound but also enhances insulation. Most of the soundproofing materials that I will be sharing in the next section of this post are also great insulators.
These materials help regulate temperature. During summer, the soundproofing materials can keep the boat cool and warm during winter. This means that soundproofing has two back to back benefits; makes your boat quieter and more comfortable.
- Makes Your Boat Sail Compliant
Traveling by sea does not come without governing rules and regulations. Yes, you read it right. As a sailor, there are many laws you need to abide by while at sea. One of these is noise regulation.
In the US, there are states which strictly observe motorboat noise. In Alabama for instance, the noise from the boat should not exceed 86 dB. This regulation may vary in many states. But the real thing is that you cannot freely sail with a noisy boat. So making your boat quieter is always a great idea.
Where to Start Soundproofing a Boat?
Looking for a perfect soundproofing material for boats is just one thing, knowing the first soundproofing step is another. If you are a beginner, this may be a challenge for you. Fortunately, this post is created for people like you.
There is a great video I embedded from SV Ramble On YouTube Channel. You’ll learn additional information you can use for your boat soundproofing project.
Effective soundproofing project starts with understanding how sound works. It might be obvious to you that sound is a vibration. This vibration easily travels through solid, liquid materials and air.
This means that by blocking the vibration to travel, the noise or sound could not reach farther. This is the very purpose of soundproofing. And you do this by the soundproofing materials that are designed to do so.
Because the engine is the usual source of noise, it is also the best part of the boat to be soundproof.
Soundproofing Boat Engine
The ultimate way to make a boat quieter is to block the sound from the engine. This means that the soundproofing should commence at the engine compartment area. You do this by installing sound deadening insulation material like Noico Sound Deadening Mat (click here to see it on Amazon).
This soundproofing material is designed for car soundproofing but also effectively works for boats. You just need to cut this mat into pieces that fit in the space that you want it to install.
After cutting and fitting all the pieces, place them in their respective areas. Make sure to contain the sound by applying a soundproofing sealant (click here to see the sample product on Amazon) all joints to make sure that the sound passages are tightly sealed.
But there is one thing you need to remember though. Whatever you do, do not seal the vent system. If you do, you’ll have trouble with your engine sooner or later.
Keep the engine ventilation system open to ensure that the engine gets the proper amount of air. Below are some of the things to remember when soundproofing a boat engine.
- Follow product instructions at all times. It is very important that you read all the reminders included in the product before you apply it to your project.
- Make sure that you make correct measurements before you cut the material into pieces. Check for a couple of times before cutting.
- Make sure that you provide space for ventilation. This is an important area to leave open to keep your engine run safely.
- Before fitting the soundproofing materials, make sure that the surface is dry. This is crucial especially if you are using a non-waterproof material.
- Keep enough space between the exhaust and the soundproofing material. This is to avoid potential fire ignition.
- Only use sharp tools when cutting the soundproofing materials.
- Do not leave edges unsealed.
Now that you have all the reminders, the next thing that probably comes into your mind is the perfect soundproofing materials you can use. Aside from Noico Sound Deadening Mat that I mentioned above, there are many other recommended sound deadening insulation materials you can use as far as soundproofing a boat goes.
The other great soundproofing material for boats is the Quiet Barrier (click here to see the product on Amazon). This material is self-adhesive. This means easy and effortless installation. All you need to do is peel and stick it on the area you want to soundproof.
The Quiet Barrier is also oil, water, and contaminant resistant. It is perfect for a soundproofing engine compartment and even boxes for generators.
This material can also be used as an underlayment to maximize the effect of the soundproofing result. When applying this soundproofing material for boats, make sure that you read the instructions.
Guidelines on Soundproofing Boat Engine
Here are a few steps you can follow when soundproofing the boat engine.
- Cut all the hard soundproofing materials with sharp modeling knife. But if you have a serrated blade (click here to see a product on Amazon), much better. And for those thinner materials, just use sharp scissors.
- If you are using self-adhesive materials, you must be careful to place them correctly on the first attempt. If wrongly placed, they will be hard to detach.
- If using a plain-backed material, it is important to use a soundproofing glue. I recommend the Green Glue (click here to see this product on Amazon). Green Glue is designed primarily for soundproofing.
- To avoid leakage, I highly recommend that you use a special joining tape. This is to maximize your effort.
- Lastly, don’t forget to provide airflow for the engine. The ventilation system is necessary for engine combustion.
Soundproofing a boat can have tremendous benefits for you and for your guests. It does not only give you a calm mind but also makes your trips at sea sail compliant.
But to effectively soundproof a boat requires the perfect soundproofing material for boats. There are many soundproofing materials for boats you can use. But the sound deadening materials included in this post are tested in terms of their effectiveness.
I hope that this post will help you find the soundproofing material for your boat. Likewise, I hope that I was able to help you succeed in your soundproofing project. Good luck!
For more soundproofing tips, visit my Soundproofing Guide.