Personalizing Your Boat's Interior – Sunlight. Moisture.  Salt.  We all know how damaging the marine environment is to a boat; just think of what it can do to artwork.  So why bother with an onboard art collection?  The prospect of caring for and maintaining art can seem daunting, and certainly there are a few unique concerns when choosing art for your boat’s interior.  But proper care should not be a deterrent to showcasing a small collection on your yacht—your home away from home.


Most of us would never leave bare walls in our homes, yet we don’t regard our boat as a place to showcase even a small collection of art.  But your boat is your space.  Even one prized sculpture, illustration, photograph or painting will make that space feel much more inviting and personal.  (It is best, however, to leave your antique or very old paintings on land.  They require special care and maintenance to prevent deterioration and damage).

Once you’ve decided to personalize your yacht’s décor with fine art, be mindful of the following:

  1. It is important to rotate your onboard     collection periodically.  Move the art to a different bulkhead, shelf or cabin or relocate it to your house or storage, then bring onboard a new piece or grouping.  Rotating your art is key to helping avoid unnecessary environmental damage.  An added benefit is that you won’t tire of looking at the same artwork in the same small space.
  2. All light is harmful to art but sunlight is particularly damaging.  It causes watercolours to fade and the oils in some paints to yellow.  Sunlight is especially bad for silk, causing it to deteriorate rapidly.  Therefore, it’s best to leave the silk paintings at home.  Avoid hanging art in your brightest cabin or near large ports or windows.  Mesh window and port coverings or curtains may be necessary to prevent damage from UV rays.
  3. Moisture is one of artwork’s greatest adversaries.  It is therefore critical to keep humidity low by using air-conditioning or other dehumidifiers when possible.  Dust holds moisture, so keep your oil and acrylic paintings clean.  Use the softest cotton cloth or feather duster to gently wipe away dust.
  4. Consider the weight of the artwork.  For safety’s sake, do not display extra-heavy pieces onboard.  Velcro is a wonderful invention for keeping wall art hanging straight.  Sculptures should have a base that can be affixed to a shelf or bulkhead.

  5. Artwork cannot tolerate long-term excessive heat or extreme temperature changes.  For this reason, it is unwise to leave art on board when the boat is unoccupied and sealed tight for lengthy periods.  The exception is a metal sculpture with a protective clear coating; just give it a good cleaning or polishing when you return.
  6. Limit exposure to pollutants, which are readily absorbed into paper and media and can form compounds detrimental to their stability.  On motor vessels, keep art away from aft interior spaces that are within a few feet of back-winded engine fumes and smoke.
  7. Photographs and other works on paper must be matted and framed under glass.  It is worth every penny to hire a professional framer.  Ask for an extra thick or double mat to prevent the work from touching the glass and trapping moisture.
  8. Oil and acrylic on canvas or wood are among the most durable of paint media and supports.  They are easy to keep clean and more resilient than works on paper, which is why they are an excellent choice for taking on board.

With this knowledge, there’s no reason to keep those niches, shelves and bulkheads bare.  Consider commissioning an experienced artist to create pieces designed with your yachting lifestyle in mind.