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by Charlie Jones - Magnolia Beach, Texas - Australia

When I rebuilt the interior of Necessity in 1998, I built in a spot for an ice box under the companionway step, sized to fit a Coleman 48 cooler. That cooler has gotten much the worse for wear in the last 14 years, but Coleman no longer makes one with the same outside measurements. So I removed a small bulkhead and used an Igloo. That turned out to be highly unsatisfactory, as it just wouldn't hold ice more than a day. Didn't want to use a larger box, as I stow four one gallon jugs of water aft of the cooler and wanted to retain that.

Here's the space I built for the cooler, and the water jugs in place. The companion step is set up as a bi-fold.

When I was given a quantity of 2 1/2 urethane foam, I decided to just build a box to fit the space. Used contact cement to glue the pieces together, and then installed some wooden strips for the lid to rest on- more solid than foam.

Glassed the interior, after filling all voids with thickened epoxy.

I then added some pigment to the epoxy and coated the interior, making it easier to clean. Just behind the box you can see a square of ply with holes in it. That is a shelf that sits on the small strips on the inside, to hold ice up out of the melt water.

I made a plywood rim for around the top.

And, epoxied that in place.
The lid is the part cut out of the rim, and needed a lift ring, so I inletted one.
Glued foam to the underside of lid
and glassed over it.
I added a piece of formica to the rear side, to protect the foam. I used a scrap I had in shop, since it will never be seen. Also, used an aluminium tape to cover the exterior.
Here's the box painted and all ready to go into boat. That darker strip across the front is an ash trim piece to cover the joint between front and top. Below that is a painted section of 4 mm ply to cover what shows of the front.
And sitting in place under the step.
Here's the lid open for use.
Finally, the companion step closed over the box.

Melt water gets removed with a small hand bilge pump - there is no drain.

It's rRoughly the same construction as I used on my previous boat, and that box would hold a 20 pound block for 6-8 days, or more, depending on use.


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