Bug Screen


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So why do I devote an entire page to the subject of bug screen?  Try to get a good night sleep ducking no-see'ems and mosquitoes! A tip from another boat owner was my salvation. 


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Our boat has a poptop so you can increase standing room and ventilation at anchor. There is a company that makes a poptop enclosure for my boat to keep out the weather and bugs out but it costs almost $500 and is fairly bulky when not in use. 


For a couple of seasons I used screens with duck tape frames attached to the openings by Velcro to keep the bugs out; cost less than $10. This worked pretty well but looked tacky. The local canvas shop used these patterns to make more attractive screens for $70. You could sew your own for less than half of that. The good news is that these screens work very well but the bad news is that you could not use the poptop to improve ventilation at night. 

For our cruise to the North Channel this year we came prepared to do serious battle. Using ideas from other small boaters we decided to try making a mosquito netting tent over the poptop. 


There are lots of websites that sell netting of various widths and mesh size. Some netting is even impregnated with DDT. I got my netting from Vermont's Barr Army Navy http://www.vtarmynavy.com/mosquito_netting.htm  800.448.7965. I used the 117" width, Grey Polyester netting with UV treatment, 200 holes per square inch. Sold by the running yard. 


Some boaters have used the same technique and have sewed light chain around the bottom, but I found it much easier and cheaper to attach lead weights about every 6 inches to the perimeter of the netting. After experimenting with everything from curtain weights to fisherman sinkers I discovered something called pencil lead in the tackle section of a local sports store. This weight comes in a coil abut 3ft long and is about the width of a pencil. I cut the weight in to 1.5 inch pieces and tape them every 6 inches around the base of the netting. I also constructed a PVC frame for the netting. The whole thing breaks down into a 1 foot by 6 inch roll. The frame breaks into pieces and goes into a bag with the netting.


 I also shoot the screens with bug spray before going to bed and that keeps 'em out.