Skip to main content

How to Install a Cockpit Refrigerator

Photos by Capt. Vincent Daniello

How to Install a Cockpit Refrigerator

Stay Frosty

Installing a Cockpit Drawer Refrigerator is Surprisingly Simple.

I’ll confess. I’ve become a bit of a sportfish snob. As a writer, I usually have my pick of the fleet. So when my brother bought a 35 Contender to fish from, I had mixed feelings. I can live without mezzanine decks, chilled bait boxes, and overhead mister systems, but to have to go into the galley for a cold drink? How uncivilized. 

Fortunately Dometic’s Drawer Refrigerator filled an otherwise unused void in the boat with cold beverages ( The roughly 9-inch by 18-inch refrigerated drawer is completely self-contained. To make it more compact, the compressor unbolts from the back and mounts within five feet of the fridge just by uncoiling the extra copper tubing included. The whole installation took us half a day, including carefully cutting the fiberglass for a perfect fit, mounting the unit, and connecting the 14-gauge 12-Volt DC power feed.

The hardest part came before ordering the fridge. On the Contender, the end of the L-shaped settee across from the helm turned out to be just barely large enough for the refrigerator. We had to determine not only how it would fit, but how we’d secure the mounting feet inside the settee.

The tight fit also gave pause on how to trim out the outside of the refrigerator. Dometic sells an aluminum bezel that fits around the top and both sides, which would hide a somewhat-ragged jigsaw cut. Unfortunately, we didn’t have room for the 3 inches of additional width and 1⅜ inch of additional height. 

This article originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.