Widget's Coolers
Although not as pretty and finished as Diane's work on "PIP" this is another option for adding cooler space to our boats.
Even though I have never turned the Widget over, I was always concerned about what she would do if she did fill up with water. Since I had no additional buoyancy added to her, I decided to add my own.I had three areas that were hard to get to and not very good for storage. They were the areas under both starboard and port quarter berths and also the forward hatch in the bow. Moving the cushions to get to these areas made it too difficult to effectively store anything in these three areas so I decided to fill them with some type of buoyancy material. (You can see the "port" berth to the left)
Initially I started collecting the Styrofoam packing "peanuts" that are used for shipping. Since the back of two berth compartments are open, I wanted to contain the "peanuts". I had an old "seal-a-meal" and made numerous 3 and 4 foot long, 8 inch diameter tubes and filled them with the packing "peanuts". I then sealed the other end to make them air tight. I then filled all three areas with these tubes. Once filled, I poured more packing "peanuts" in to fill the gaps. (You can see the access area to the port berth storage area to the right.)
Since I knew I would not be using these areas for major storage, I decided to build coolers into these three areas. (To the left, you can see the finished cooler in the port berth with the top in place.)
To start with, I went to Walmart and bought three Styrofoam coolers. There were a little bit larger than the access openings. Since I could not fit the coolers into the storage areas, I cut them in half so I could turn them and fit them inside. Once I had arranged the packing "peanuts" tubes to provide support, I then taped the two halves together right below the opening. I also taped the top of the coolers to the access opening. The tape was a temporary measure until I could provide a more permanent seal.
Before I sealed the coolers with Evercoat, I drilled a small hole in each side of the cooler and sprayed insulating foam to fill the voids. (As you can see to the left, it expanded to bend the side of the cooler.) I used an Evercoat product (I think it was their Polyester Epoxy product) to coat the coolers and to adhere and seal the cooler to the opening. It has a resin and a hardener and will not heat up to melt the Styrofoam. I applied multiple coats. If desired, the completed surface could be painted, but as you can see, I did not since they are normally not in view.
Once the coolers were completely dry, I trimmed edges of the cooler tops off to fit inside of the opening. I then coated them with Evercoat. (To the right, you can see the finished top.) When I go on an extended trip, I still take a small cooler for day to day use, but now I have three more insulated areas to store food, drinks and ice. Since they are not accessed very much, they keep their contents colder.

I have an Attwood Cordless Pump (Battery operated) to pump out the water that accumulates in the bottom of the coolers. I then use a sponge to get them completely dry.



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