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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Insulating ice cooler and live well #13602381 06/21/20 12:38 AM
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Burbarry Offline OP
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I wanted to see if it’s worth trying to use expanding foam on my cooler and live well. My thought is that the temperature inside the hull of the boat is probably about 10 degrees warmer than water temperature (just a guess) on my 2005 nitro I noticed there’s almost no insulation. My ice melts pretty quick once sun comes out and live well temps rise. If I insulate I think it would keep them a lot cooler. Has anyone done this before? Is the can expanding foam ok to use on fiberglass and plastic?

Moritz Chevrolet - 9101 Camp Bowie W Blvd, Fort Worth, TX - Monte Coon (817) 696-2003
Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: Burbarry] #13602423 06/21/20 01:30 AM
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use the loctite foam, did it on my last champion and it helped a lot. all I did was my cooler.

Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: Burbarry] #13602427 06/21/20 01:32 AM
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I put one of those small crushable coolers inside of my boat's ice chest. Then I put in one or two of the freezeable chemical blocks in the bag with my drinks.. Keeps things cold for a very long time since it is double sealed, one inside the other.
Try it, it works and keeps your boat ice cooler clean.


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Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: Burbarry] #13602519 06/21/20 03:37 AM
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Easy quick fix, their not just for rough water https://www.facebook.com/bass/videos/10155602360170915/

Most of the heat comes from the metal latches. Some guys will put a soaked wet towel of the livewell lids to, I hear VT2 vents work too

Last edited by SC-001; 06/21/20 03:38 AM.
Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: Burbarry] #13602569 06/21/20 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Burbarry
I wanted to see if it’s worth trying to use expanding foam on my cooler and live well. My thought is that the temperature inside the hull of the boat is probably about 10 degrees warmer than water temperature (just a guess) on my 2005 nitro I noticed there’s almost no insulation. My ice melts pretty quick once sun comes out and live well temps rise. If I insulate I think it would keep them a lot cooler. Has anyone done this before? Is the can expanding foam ok to use on fiberglass and plastic?


If you are putting it in the void of the hull, on the bilge side of the fiberglass, it won't hurt. BUT, getting to it to do a proper job can be next to imposible. ALSO, if you put too much, where it can't expand in other directions, it literally has the strength to crack fiberglass or plastic compartment lines and deform them. Be very careful doing any of this. You can expect to make a big mess that won't clean up easily either, so the work area must be lined with paper to be removed afterward. Don't let it get on any carpet; you'll never get it out. I will never try this due to all the drawbacks and unfixable screw-ups that could happen.

Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: SC-001] #13602572 06/21/20 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by SC-001
Easy quick fix, their not just for rough water https://www.facebook.com/bass/videos/10155602360170915/

Most of the heat comes from the metal latches. Some guys will put a soaked wet towel of the livewell lids to, I hear VT2 vents work too

I like the idea of a large wet towel over the livewell lids. The pool noodle pieces is a decent idea, but if you are expecting to gain what dissolved oxygen you can by spraying water with an aerator pump, you're going to defeat that with pool noodle material. It will be in the way too much for water to be aerated to do any good.

If you have a true oxygen dispenser system, it would work. But, a bass's head thrust upward will separate two noodle logs and still hit the roof of the livewell. I'd recommend something better than pool noodle pieces. Cut TWO large pieces of thick flat foam that each are 1/2 the size of the livewell footprint. You'd be able to get those inside the smaller opening, and they would float side by side. If cut to fit properly, they wedge against one another, and a bass's head can't hit the roof of the livewell. You could easily remove one of them to access fish to cull.

On some of my boats from my days in south Florida heat (but not yet on the current one), I cut 1 inch thick closed cell foam board into "jigsaw puzzle like pieces" that I placed in the roof of the livewell and on the bottom side of the lid. I used a few well placed dabs of silicone to do this after confirming each piece fit. I did this with the cooler lid also. Both seemed to help a lot. It wasn't messy, and was removable.

Last edited by Flippin-Out; 06/21/20 06:39 AM.
Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: Burbarry] #13602650 06/21/20 12:38 PM
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If you don’t plan on reselling the boat (keeping it in the family, etc) do whatever you want
Expanding foam can be overly aggressive, the can spray expanding foam will get saturated with water over time. The two part expanding foams are better at not getting saturated, but can violently expand causing damage.

For the cooler, consider a collapsible soft side cooler within the boat cooler (cooler inside a cooler is good insulation.)

The best closed cell foam I’ve used for projects like this that is readily available are the fatigue resistant interlocking floor pieces widely available at Northern Tool/Home Depot/Lowe’s They tend to be made out of either EVA or HDPE closed cell foam.



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Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: Burbarry] #13602921 06/21/20 04:01 PM
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Freeze your own ice in a deep freezer. I use steel bowls, fill with water, place in deep freeze. Little tap water ran over them after frozen releases the ice instantly. You now have a solid block of ice and not the cheap air filled ice from store. Use hammer to break up a little if you want, and place in cooler. Solid block ice will last the day in your boat cooler. I have a 2006 188 champ and it last all day. Store ice is air filled is why it melts so fast and in small pieces. Solid block ice will last. For the livewell I have no clue

Last edited by GROD; 06/21/20 04:02 PM.
Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: GROD] #13602991 06/21/20 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by GROD
Freeze your own ice in a deep freezer. I use steel bowls, fill with water, place in deep freeze. Little tap water ran over them after frozen releases the ice instantly. You now have a solid block of ice and not the cheap air filled ice from store. Use hammer to break up a little if you want, and place in cooler. Solid block ice will last the day in your boat cooler. I have a 2006 188 champ and it last all day. Store ice is air filled is why it melts so fast and in small pieces. Solid block ice will last. For the livewell I have no clue

Most guys will take gatorade bottles and freeze them with livewell additive already mixed in, just take the top off an throw them it. They can/will beat your fish up though.

Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: Burbarry] #13603124 06/21/20 07:39 PM
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I fish 2-3 tournaments a year... so not many see my livewells unless they’re sandbass or crappie, and they hit the frying pan. I typically bass fish 95% of the time though.

Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: Burbarry] #13603633 06/22/20 03:08 AM
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I use a yeti cooler and use the built in cooler for my garbage can and tow rope storage. put a white towel over the yeti and it will stay ice cold all day.


Dont try and take someones shine away..... Doing so just shows YOUR weak character.
Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: Burbarry] #13603643 06/22/20 03:16 AM
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Cool the Ice Chest with ice 24 hours before you are going to go out on the boat.

Drain and refill with ice that morning and see if there is a difference in how cool your ice chest stays all day....


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Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: David Burton] #13603704 06/22/20 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by David Burton
Cool the Ice Chest with ice 24 hours before you are going to go out on the boat.
Drain and refill with ice that morning and see if there is a difference in how cool your ice chest stays all day....

This made a huge difference for my boat cooler. It was a recommendation years ago from a hull designer at a major bass boat factory. There is a lot of conductive mass in contact with the cooler shell, and it's all hot or at least ambient temperature to begin with. A lot of initial ice loss is just cooling all that mass down. The second point would be to pre-chill everything going into the cooler. Room temperature water/drinks should not go in the boat cooler if possible. Put them in the fridge overnight, or buried in ice in a second cooler, then transfer to the boat in the morning and top over with ice.

I now put a couple of large "ice substitute" blocks in my cooler with drinks first, then top off with ice. A decent Ice substitute does get colder than 32 degrees, and it's in a block, so there are two legit reasons it will stay colder longer. The inexpensive "blue ice" brand in Academy works great.

Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: Burbarry] #13603775 06/22/20 12:13 PM
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My boat cooler is tiny I can fit about 10-12 cans (Never tried that many). I usually just bring 5-20oz water bottle 3 of them frozen 2 cold then a sandwich there is some space left for about 1 bag of ice which fills it to the top. By lunch time most ice is melted and frozen water bottles are halfway thawed out. This is even after I added a plug on my cooler to help save the water in the cooler. As for the live well, I'm not as worried about it as I can just turn it on and should keep fish ok. I just wanted to make sure if I start fishing tournaments that I would be able to keep fish alive. As it is now I just fish for fun and never keep anything.

Re: Insulating ice cooler and live well [Re: Burbarry] #13603782 06/22/20 12:20 PM
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I was wondering the other day why boat/cooler manufacturers aren't applying some of the roto molded cooler principles into coolers on a boat.

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