Morty peed in the boat again! Unlike in a house, where this simply means you need to wipe it up and go on your day. On a boat, the floor is just a false hatch to the space below! This means that his pee will drip down and soak everything on its way to the bottom of the bilge.
Sadly, he does this quite often. We think he is a "revenge pee-er" since he will only pee in the boat when he is mad at us for something. It could be something as simple as we didn't let him play long enough with a dog he met in the park, or we didn't take him to the shore that he wanted to go to. He will wait until we are sound asleep and then pee right in the galley on my tools.
After enough episodes, the wood began to smell like his pee. Yes, we wipe it up as soon as we find it, but if he peed during the night, we wouldn't find it until morning which would be hours later. The constant soaking in urine has led to some serious deterioration of the finish on the wood sole, which has then led to the urine actually soaking into the wood itself.
It finally reached the point where the area he pees has a slight odor and I decided enough is enough. All the floor boards came out and were thoroughly scrubbed. The sole bearers were also scrubbed vigorously until the smell was removed from everything involved. This worked well on almost all the wooden components, except for two of the floor boards.
These two boards just couldn't come clean. The vigorous scrubbing has then lifted off some of the loose finish that was weakened by the constant soaking. Something more drastic had to be done!
The boards were removed from the boat and taken away to be worked on.
All the varnish was stripped off and the entire board was sanded to reveal fresh grain that will readily accept new varnish.
Fresh varnish was applied over the boards to seal the pee smell in. I was not able to get the smell out, so instead, I will lock it in and seal it away forever! If Morty doesn't smell his pee in this part of the boat, hopefully he will stop peeing in the boat.
It is surprising how much varnish the boards wanted to take. The first coat of varnish was drawn in quickly. The second coat then started to build up a bit on the surface. The third coat of varnish was the first coat that began to look like a coat of varnish. After six coats of varnish, surface had enough bulk to it that I could begin smoothing it out.
Lightly sanding the surface with a random orbital sander loaded with 220 weight paper will knock off the rough surface and create a smooth finish. After sanding, a quick wipe down with acetone will clean the surface in preparation for the next coat of varnish.
It is a slow process, but the result will be a strong, durable, and "hopefully" smell free coating for the floor boards. All this time, we are forced to stand on the sole beams as we have no salon sole in place.
If you choose to liveaboard with a dog, these are the risks that you might need to face should your dog pee in the boat. Lifeaboard is a series of different challenges, but if you love your pet, the added challenges are just another part of boat life.