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Old 15-05-2009, 21:24   #1
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Attention: Liveaboards in Seattle / PNW

My husband and I are interested in moving to Seattle in the near future. We are also considering living aboard a sailboat at one of the local marinas there. My only reservation in doing so is my concern for what the weather is like in the winter. We're from Michigan so we are used to long and cold winters on land, but I would assume it's a totally different experience when you live in the water. So basically I would appreciate any information or advice about what we should expect in the winter months living aboard in Seattle/PNW. Like what are the average high and low temperatures during winter and does it feel warmer/cooler living on the water? How often does it generally snow, and when it does is there much accumulation and for how long does it last? Is it common to be shoveling snow off your boat and/or dock? Or does the precipitation in the winter mainly consist of rain?

Thanks in advance for your help!!
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Old 17-05-2009, 23:57   #2
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My husband and I are interested in moving to Seattle in the near future. We are also considering living aboard a sailboat at one of the local marinas there. My only reservation in doing so is my concern for what the weather is like in the winter. We're from Michigan so we are used to long and cold winters on land, but I would assume it's a totally different experience when you live in the water. So basically I would appreciate any information or advice about what we should expect in the winter months living aboard in Seattle/PNW. Like what are the average high and low temperatures during winter and does it feel warmer/cooler living on the water? How often does it generally snow, and when it does is there much accumulation and for how long does it last? Is it common to be shoveling snow off your boat and/or dock? Or does the precipitation in the winter mainly consist of rain?

Thanks in advance for your help!!
Hi Luna79,

I don't have any real liveaboard experience here in winter, but just wanted to say hi and good luck on your journey. We moved aboard north of Seattle about a month ago, it's great!!!

Not much snow usually, but last winter there was a lot more than usual. I remember being on the ship while stationed in Everett, and it was the wind that was brutal, not snow.

Frank and Jody
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Old 18-05-2009, 00:40   #3
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Hi Luna79,

I don't have any real liveaboard experience here in winter, but just wanted to say hi and good luck on your journey. We moved aboard north of Seattle about a month ago, it's great!!!

Not much snow usually, but last winter there was a lot more than usual. I remember being on the ship while stationed in Everett, and it was the wind that was brutal, not snow.

Frank and Jody
It's cold, dark and wet more often than it's not in Seattle, so living aboard in the PNW has some interesting challenges. For the cold, I rely less on a heater and more on a layer-system, I have a big cotton sleeping bag, and will wear, shirt/sweatshirt/down jacket or possibly supplment one or more of those with my electric heater depending what is comfortable. My down jacket is what I wear when Im mountain climbing, so it's more or less impossible to be cold in that thing at this altitude. Ice on docks is another hazard, I've fallen at least once. It gets dark a little after 4 in the afternoon in winter, so that is something to get used to. As far as snow, not a lot most winters(say, compared to Michigan), doesn't typically stay on the ground long. But this winter was a strange one, we had snow on the ground for like 3+ weeks, which is long for Seattle. Yes, lots and lots of RAIN.
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Old 18-05-2009, 06:22   #4
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We live on the opposite coast and often in the southeast and, although our temperature concerns are more often heat than cold, we share the same moderating effects of living in the water. In winter, when the air temperature is colder than the water temperature, our boat is warmed & in the summer, when the air temperature is hotter than the water, our boat is cooled. I would look at the seasonal records of the water temperature in the PNW. I suspect that your temperatures will be moderated too. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 18-05-2009, 10:15   #5
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I lived aboard in Seattle for many years. Snow isn't much of a problem, and when you do get some it really acts as something of an insulator. The biggest issue really is keeping the condensation under control. If you can keep the boat dry and warm inside, winter time is actually a pretty nice season aboard.
I lived first on Lake Union which is fun being downtown, but noisy with all the seaplanes, and then in the canal just inside the locks which was great. Those were of course both in fresh water, and the water temps will be cooler (esp. in the summer) if you are in salt water.
Cold won't be a problem for Michigan folk. I loved living aboard in Seattle.
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Old 18-05-2009, 11:42   #6
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Lived aboard in Seattle for a few years. The weather is likely not as bad as you are coming from. Snow is occasional and even more occasional on the salt water. However, we did get 10" on the boat one year! it was kind of cool... made the boat super quiet inside and warmer than usual!
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Old 18-05-2009, 16:13   #7
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Originally Posted by Philosail View Post
It's cold, dark and wet more often than it's not in Seattle, so living aboard in the PNW has some interesting challenges. For the cold, I rely less on a heater and more on a layer-system, I have a big cotton sleeping bag, and will wear, shirt/sweatshirt/down jacket or possibly supplment one or more of those with my electric heater depending what is comfortable. My down jacket is what I wear when Im mountain climbing, so it's more or less impossible to be cold in that thing at this altitude. Ice on docks is another hazard, I've fallen at least once. It gets dark a little after 4 in the afternoon in winter, so that is something to get used to. As far as snow, not a lot most winters(say, compared to Michigan), doesn't typically stay on the ground long. But this winter was a strange one, we had snow on the ground for like 3+ weeks, which is long for Seattle. Yes, lots and lots of RAIN.
Thanks for the info Philosail! I feel more informed about what to expect in the winter months! I'm glad to hear that snow is not a huge issue. Rain doesn't bother me as long as there's the trade off of moderate temperatures year round...unlike MI where it's either one extreme or the other - freezing or humid! Sounds like Seattle will be a good fit for us!

What are the sailing conditions like year round? Are you still able to get out and use your boat even in the winter?
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Old 18-05-2009, 16:20   #8
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[quote=TAREUA;284234] The biggest issue really is keeping the condensation under control. If you can keep the boat dry and warm inside, winter time is actually a pretty nice season aboard.


I'll have to research the condensation/heating issues in this forum and see what I can find. Thanks for your help TAREUA!
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Old 18-05-2009, 16:50   #9
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Although I did it, the winter is pretty cold for sailing and we have storms coming through with up to 70 mph gusts maybe twice a year and 50 mph several times a year. The inland waters are protected so the seas arent too bad. If you like hunkering down with the wind blowing hard and rain outside you will like winter cruising. The real sailing season is I would say May through October. It will still be cool as the water stays in the 50's and chills the wind. Puget Sound tends to be very low velocity wind in the May-Sept time frame so you will want to motor sail to get anywhere. The wind runs North or South up or down Puget Sound most the time...
Offsetting all this is the great cruising, crabbing etc, especially in British Columbia; the inside passage, Barkely Sound, Desolation Sound, Princess Louisa Inlet etc....
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Old 18-06-2009, 20:29   #10
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Hey All
I do not yet live aboard. But hope to soon. From what i have talked to alot of the people when walking the docs is condensation. One of the things I am finding is a waiting list for Live aboard ability. If you are just visiting you should have no issue. If you are coming to stay thats a whole new ball game. Of the marinas I have called there is a waiting list to live aboard. Public marinas are only allowed to have 10% of docks as Live aboards. If you want some help Finding info I will be more than happy to make some calls for you and ask any questions that you may have or look into areas you are interested in as it will also help me and the Wife out as well. Maybe you can help come up with questions I have not thought of yet.
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Old 19-06-2009, 09:59   #11
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Hey All
I do not yet live aboard. But hope to soon. From what i have talked to alot of the people when walking the docs is condensation. One of the things I am finding is a waiting list for Live aboard ability. If you are just visiting you should have no issue. If you are coming to stay thats a whole new ball game. Of the marinas I have called there is a waiting list to live aboard. Public marinas are only allowed to have 10% of docks as Live aboards. If you want some help Finding info I will be more than happy to make some calls for you and ask any questions that you may have or look into areas you are interested in as it will also help me and the Wife out as well. Maybe you can help come up with questions I have not thought of yet.
Hi Stalphyr! What are the typical waiting lists you are encountering in the Seattle area? Have you just been calling the marinas or stopping by in person as well? From what I understand it is beneficial to show up in person (possibly even with a picture of your boat) in order to get accurate live aboard availability. The marinas want to see what they are getting into when allowing someone to live at their marina!

My family (my husband, myself and our 5 year old son) is finally moving to Washington (from Chicago) in the next few weeks. So living aboard won't really be an option for another year or two. This should give us enough time to check everything out and hopefully get on some waiting lists. We're not even positive where in Washington we will be living aboard - depends on where I find a job, etc. Where are you and your wife looking to live aboard? Do you have any kids?

Feel free to keep me updated on your progress. I'll let you know if I think of any questions that you might want to consider in your search. Also don't be afraid to give me any suggestions of things you learn throughout this whole process! It sounds like you are going to be living aboard before we are, so maybe I can learn a few things from you along the way! Thanks a lot!
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Old 20-06-2009, 22:13   #12
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You guys might want to try Everett marina (Port Gardner). They just had a bunch of slips free up now that their latest expansion is complete. They actually have some 36, 40 and 50 ft vacancies, but might want to jump on it as I'm sure they won't last. Everett currently allows liveaboards.
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Old 22-06-2009, 10:43   #13
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You guys might want to try Everett marina (Port Gardner). They just had a bunch of slips free up now that their latest expansion is complete. They actually have some 36, 40 and 50 ft vacancies, but might want to jump on it as I'm sure they won't last. Everett currently allows liveaboards.
I'm looking to buy a sailboat at Seattle and should be obliged to stay there for few months to prepare the boat for a long cruise. Are you aware of the fees to have a slip, water and electricity for a 40ft. (monthly fees)
Thank you very much.
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Old 22-06-2009, 11:14   #14
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Keeping warm and dry

Over the years I've found a good combination for my boat to keep warm and dry all year onboard. As reported elsewhere in this forum the Soleusair portable dehumidifier works at relatively low temperatures to effectively eliminate condensation within the whole boat (40 ft). A portable infra-red heater works to distribute rays over some horizontal distance to be absorbed by the surrounding structure unlike mere heating coils and fans that make hot air go directly upward to where it can do little good.

With both the dehumidifier and heater working I'm still able to use the microwave or other items without blowing the 30A shorepower breaker.

I use a Rubbermaid dishdrain catcher to scrape any accumulation of snow from the deck so that when it melts it doesn't attempt to invade any parts of the boat like a hatch not well dogged down when the scuppers are frozen with ice thereby daming up water during a melt. The Rubbermade scraper holds a good amount of snow and doesn't damage ports or other items that you would not like to have a steel or hard object slam into.
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Old 22-06-2009, 19:12   #15
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I'm looking to buy a sailboat at Seattle and should be obliged to stay there for few months to prepare the boat for a long cruise. Are you aware of the fees to have a slip, water and electricity for a 40ft. (monthly fees)
Thank you very much.
Here's the link with port of Everett's prices:

http://www.portofeverett.com/docs/ma...e_5_1_2008.pdf

If you are planning on staying for just a few months, you might want to look into subleasing options if there are no vacant 40' slips. I can't speak for any of the other marinas, but Everett has a policy that subleases must be no longer than 6 months and subleasees charged no more than the standard rate.

Frank
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