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Old 06-10-2016, 21:47   #31
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

We live aboard in Alaska. Use an Espar heater and have a couple of Caframo electric heaters, which we use on low in the winter at night When on shore power we use 30 amp hookup. The Espar is very warm and very sippy.

Electricity is outrageous in most parts of Alaska -- hence the minimum use of electricity. In JNU if you pay the harbors for one month of 30 amp your bill will be about $130. If you pay directly to utility co the bill will be slightly less than $100 in the dead of winter.

Keep drafts out, use covers on Windows inside and out. You should be fine.
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Old 06-10-2016, 22:42   #32
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Do pay attention to the "but not fun" part. PO of my boat decided to stop living aboard for this very reason.
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Old 06-10-2016, 23:14   #33
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Lots of great advice here so far. I'd love to tell you that if it's fairly easy to do here in Alaska, then it's a piece of cake for you, but I know that it's much worse in Wisconsin, where I came from, than here. Living on a boat in Wisconsin winters would be unthinkable to me, but it's really pleasant in Alaska. Seems like your area would be similar as we do get some cold weather and literally tons of snow (boats sink from the weight here, sometimes after just one snowfall). Our boat has foam core insulation and a
Dickinson diesel heater, which keeps the boat if not toasty, very tolerable. One thing to bear in mind is if you leave the boat for a spell, and it gets really cold, there is a risk of lines freezing up and blowing out if something goes wrong with the heat. We have had the heater blow out once or twice, and also backblow with flames briefly shooting out of the heater (momentarily scary). Of course, as mentioned, shore powered electric heaters can prevent this, but subject to power interruptions. We hire a boat watch service so that the boat is always being checked when we are not around.

Anyway, the short answer is it should be entirely doable, with the caveats mentioned. It will mostly depend on your own personal expectations and needs, if it turns out to be a good idea for you. Some people would feel pretty closed in and others liberated.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 07-10-2016, 06:11   #34
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

We had good luck with an infared Eden Pure heater as primary and would fire up a small propane heater briefly on colder mornings / evenings while living aboard in Boston. Suggest to find a live aboard community / marina which will cater more to winter needs.
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:53   #35
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

These guys are doing it in NYC?

Nine Ways To Keep Your Sailboat Warm During Winter Aboard Sailing Chance

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Old 07-10-2016, 15:26   #36
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

I heat my Beneteau 50 with a 6.5KW Woodstove. Beneyeaus are badly insulated. I average about $600 per year. In Ireland last year I used Coal. It was a bit dirty. In Canada & now Sweden I use wood. Its awesome. I like the inside between 20 & 28 C in winter. Keeps everything nice and dry. Also easy to dry the laundry coming out the machine. Have a small fan circulate the hot air. Really nice to properly warm your toes when there is snow on deck. Great at night. Better in the frosty morning with coffee. Good idea to use an electric blanket. I use mine in the marina & can run it off the inverter too. It cycles on & off, and is light on power. And an old fasioned Hot Water bottle cannot be beaten. Enjoy!
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Old 07-10-2016, 16:36   #37
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

I've lived aboard on 37' - 43' boats at Port Credit Yacht club for 20yrs. (currently enroute to Bahamas) and while there are a few things to learn it is a great life. Winter is quite lovely. When the summer people leave we have the entire place to just 18-29 of us. It is the only real "community" we have ever experienced.
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Old 07-10-2016, 20:05   #38
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Crazy

Until recently we lived in Philly half time and on our 44'steel cc in Delaware City half time. All year, down to 1f.

There were a few others there with us,beach had his own solution and costs.

High wattage guys ended up with a house meter on the dock. Their electric costs were prohibitive to the marina owner.

Hybrid guys were charged a winter rate.n they heated with some combination sources including shore power and wood or something.

We were self sufficient using electricity to charge batteries and keep the boat at 40f when we were away. Elsewise we ran an Espar D-4 with the forepeak and act cabin closed off. Comfortable. Went through maybe 120 gallons of fuel. We paid normal dockage rates.

We have almost 190 gallons of water and were pretty frugal so we lasted through the water being turned off. Others had to carry water in 5gallon jugs and that was a pain.

We used the marina heads for showers and to relieve ourselves. Not the best but doable. Saved having to do pump outs.

AFAIK Philly marinas are pretty silted in, with poor amenities. If serious you need to check on that situation.

To the best of my knowledge Delaware City Marina and Summit North are the two closest viable live-aboard marinas to Philly.

You also need to think about your boat and how it will react to ice. I've not seen a problem even with production boats. But we are 1/4" steel and tend to think about that differently from most.
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Old 07-10-2016, 20:17   #39
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Oh, and by the way, we are now full time live aboards!

We just finished delivering our 33'er to Newfoundland for summer time activities and are returning to our 44'er to head South.

And yes, my Wife is aboard with all this!

So how bad could it have been?
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Old 08-10-2016, 21:00   #40
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Crazy

Until recently we lived in Philly half time and on our 44'steel cc in Delaware City half time. All year, down to 1f.

Good stuff, thank you.

As I'm reading the replies it really does seem the major obstacles aren't the boat and it's heating system but water, showering, using the head, navigating icy docks.

I could deal with most if not all but not being the only one on-board I suspect I might be outvoted 1-1.
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Old 09-10-2016, 05:25   #41
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

At Port Credit Yacht Club we run a spider web of hoses under water to each boat with the end also under water. When we need it we pull up the end and tap into the club house to fill our tanks ...... water anytime you need it.
Last winter we had a number of minus 20 - 30 days. no problems.

The liveaboards got together and built our own portable pumpout tank ..... pumpout anytime we need it.
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:08   #42
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Today we were toasty on board and left because the weather kinda nasty and returned home to a less toasty apartment where they haven't turned on the heat yet! Out boat with an Espar Airtronic 4 is much more comfortable temp (microclimate) wise than out apartment. Go figure!
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:24   #43
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Working a full time job while living aboard in the winter can be a drag, especially if you're not setup right. Having an Espar or similar - like the above captain - makes all the difference. Some boats handle electric loads of heaters poorly. In my 88 Pacific Seacraft, a heater was too much for the factory wiring. The breaker was appropriately sized but wiring was grossly undersized for anything but the lowest setting.

Nothing like the crackling of overheating wires behind paneling. Add to that carbon monoxide threat and you have to be savvy about your heating setup and ventilation. Most production boats aren't outfitted for living aboard in winter. More like elaborate tents for summer camping

Slippery decks are no joke either, with icy water around. Or slippery docks. If you're bustling around to get to your day job, you can bust your a$$.

The trudge to the showers/bathrooms gets old in the winter. Depends on the situation, but overall, cold bathrooms are something I don't miss at all.

It's doable if you can get water to your boat, if ice won't threaten, and everything else is in place utility wise.

Totally realistic, but not always fun. Whether you enjoy it or not is another issue but an enthusiastic boat owner can endure a lot after spending a bunch of money on a boat. Or if it saves big bucks on living expenses.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:03   #44
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

I should clarify that my post regards a 36' powerboat. I think this makes a big difference as I have a huge portion of my boat well above water. Temperatures were in the 20's to low 30's.

Last winter I used two 20 amp services. One service powered a 1200 watt forced air heater (salon) and 600 watt forced air V-berth.

The other service powered a 1500 watt oil filled heater (salon) and another oil heater set to low in the V-berth.

At night I used an electric mattress pad as well as the forementioned heaters. I don't really talk to the other residents here, but I noted this morning the harbor was buzzing with the sound of Espar and the like heaters. Also the as the temp drops, the harbor thins out with many people moving in with friends / hotels / etc. This probably isn't a bad idea. Spending a couple grand on off site living is cheaper than installing and maintaining an Espar I am sure.

Wood is a very nice way to heat, but requires a lot of maintenance to keep the fire going. And stockpiling wood. And filling up the harbor with noxious smoke.

The most useful thing I have found with heating is my remote controlled heater.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...MR6E1QQPGE10DY

This heater has a remote control device that lets me turn it on and off. This is great when I am cooking, as I can turn the heater off when I want to use an electric cooking device. Then when I am done I can turn it back on, all from the galley, with the heater being located on the other side of the boat. It's really convenient.

This year I don't have the 20amp option, so I may go with two 30amps, or I could get my oil furnace going, not sure which is more realistic. But I strongly recommend the heated mattress pad and the remote control heater. Those work great.
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Old 09-10-2016, 15:19   #45
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

The BEST advice I can give is a solutly, positively agree,min written with your SO. NO fights below 50F! All else is doable.
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