I spent a couple of winters living aboard
MD, two of which experienced some pretty cold temps. Primary heat was two electric
radiators run off the shore power
as I paid a flat rate for utilities. Secondary was the boat's Espar heater which kicked in when the radiators could not keep up. An Espar will toast up your boat in short order and is pretty parsimonious in terms of fuel
. Lastly, shrink-wrapping your boat, particularly with clear plastic, will help tremendously in insulating your boat and also protecting the deck
from snow and ice, but it's expensive and makes getting on and off the boat a bit more difficult.
The two more challenging aspects of living aboard
in winter are safety
In terms of safety
, it does not take much more than a hard frost to make docks treacherous. I had a few days, after ice storms, where I could not get off the boat at all. I had those strap on studs for your boots which I used A LOT, but even so there were days where trying to safely get from the boat to the finger pier was just not worth the risk. If you fall in, there is no one around to help and the water
is in the thirties. Annapolis
has a ton of live-aboard, and it seems like every winter there is a story of someone falling in and if not expiring outright having a harrowing experience.
Logistics. Everything becomes a bit more complicated. Running to the showers in summer is great. In the winter it can be a slog and not so fun. Grocery shopping
becomes a bit more complicated.
Lastly, it can be lonely and a bit isolated. The marina is a wasteland in winter, all the other liveaboards are holed up like hibernating bears.
It's definitely doable. You just have to be prepared and be willing to endure some inconvenience and challenges.