Probably 20 years ago, we replaced the built-in refrigerator on our Carver 390. Our hope was to get more internal volume and to keep items fully frozen under 20 degrees. After much research, we chose a Sea Freeze model. It fit perfectly in the old spot. It had 20 percent more space and the freezer got close to zero degrees. However, it was a pain to defrost. It took hours. We put everything from the freezer into a cooler while putting steaming water in the freezer and using a hair dryer on the refrigerator coils.
Being a nerd for this type of stuff, I got really excited when I met with Sea Freeze of America’s president, David Lehman, at the Seattle Boat Show recently. I was looking for the latest in boat refrigeration and discovered Sea Freeze has manufactured a freezer with a defroster built in. The defroster runs at 60 watts for 12 to 15 minutes. Now, owners can quickly defrost at a time when they want to, such as when they are getting additional power, so it won’t run down the batteries. The unit also has a temperature-controlled fan option that will circulate cool air in the refrigerator, to keep food more consistently cool while using less power. Most refrigerators simply run on timed cycles, so opening the door just warms the contents, and no sensor is there to start the cooling process to make up for it.
I sold custom-designed yachts for years, and we always discussed refrigeration. Since the yachts were large enough, clients would choose full-size home-type refrigerators by manufacturers such as GE or SubZero. The good news is they had defrosters; the bad news is that they ran fairly often and consumed a large amount of power, barely allowing overnight anchoring without running the genset. I was selling 60-footers, so they were not so big that you always needed to run generators, and the owners still wanted to have the generators off at night to avoid noise and vibration. Sea Freeze will put custom units in yachts; now, even larger yachts can get a day or two without running the genset (and while I’ve mentioned Sea Freeze here, many manufacturers have similar units).
So if you are looking to upgrade to a quiet, frost-freeing, efficient, external compressor refrigerator (for added space inside and serviceability) that will keep ice cream and other goods totally frozen, upgrade your model.