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Old 05-10-2016, 13:17   #1
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How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Southeastern PA gets its share of cold. Snow amounts are usually manageable, especially around Philadelphia where the marinas are. The temps can hang around zero for a couple weeks and be sub freezing for a month long stretches. Not sometimes Canada decides we need some of their winter fun.

Ive seen diesel and other types of heaters available and I am willing to pay for some warmth. Can I keep a 30-35 foot boat reasonably warm (67 degrees F) consistently and without breaking the bank in conditions as I've described?

At this point I am just trying to determine if this is feasible or I need to rethink some things.
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Old 05-10-2016, 13:20   #2
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Very realistic. Keep in mind that expedition boats travel to the Arctic for months at a time. You just need some source of heat. Well, some idiot from Norway did take an Albin Vega to Antarctica without heat or any modifications.. There's a related post about diesel vs propane heaters and used diesels go for 300 or so from what I've seen. Will you be at a marina, or mooring? If a marina, you can use shore power and an electric unit.
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Old 05-10-2016, 13:40   #3
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Understood. If I were traveling to Antarctica, I would also expect to dress for the event and warmth would be a primary need, even at the expense of other niceties.

I would prefer not to wear a coat 24/7. And underway the use of the engine to charge batteries and provide heat would be an everyday event I expect.

I also don't want the heating system to be intrusive on the space in the boat. I do want to spend large chunks of time cruising where it's warm and I don't want to trip over a heater while I'm doing that.

I'm expecting I would be at a marina, my wife wouldn't like the hassle of the dinghy anytime she wants to leave the boat.
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Old 05-10-2016, 13:54   #4
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Funny how differently we understand winter and cold. PA, sure you can do it without heating too but a Refleks diesel heater could be nice as well as a big down for two.
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Old 05-10-2016, 13:54   #5
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

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Originally Posted by Crazy Talk View Post
Southeastern PA gets its share of cold. Snow amounts are usually manageable, especially around Philadelphia where the marinas are. The temps can hang around zero for a couple weeks and be sub freezing for a month long stretches. Not sometimes Canada decides we need some of their winter fun.

Ive seen diesel and other types of heaters available and I am willing to pay for some warmth. Can I keep a 30-35 foot boat reasonably warm (67 degrees F) consistently and without breaking the bank in conditions as I've described?

At this point I am just trying to determine if this is feasible or I need to rethink some things.
Living aboard during Winter or in cold climate areas has been a topic discussed before, and is a good one. I was interested in this too.

Here is a Google Custom Search of CF archives for the term "winter"
https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...ter&gsc.page=1

Look back through those links and you will find hours of reading with many tips.

One thing I had not considered before reading some accounts is the risk of slipping or falling on icy decks and icy docks. In one post I recall seeing ice covered dock and boat, which made it very risky for a couple to leave their boat to go to work.
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Old 05-10-2016, 14:43   #6
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Mini crampons, Steady, for the ice. No, just kidding. Yes, falling and breaking part of you is a real problem in icy areas.

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Old 05-10-2016, 15:01   #7
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Very possible, depending on what you're willing to put up with. Lots of folks on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario live year round on their boats. I've heard of people doing it in Georgian Bay.

If money is no issue (about paying for heat), then it's certainly possible ... might not be fun, but it's certainly possible.
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Old 05-10-2016, 15:13   #8
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Could you take the time to follow the advice and do a search on this or any other boating forum under "heating?" Add insulation to your search, too.

Here's a skipper who wintered over in Boston during a frigid winter, good material:

http://svsmitty.wordpress.com/
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Old 05-10-2016, 15:18   #9
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

Google SV Smitty, they lived aboard during a winter on the east coast.

edit: argh, thats what I get for leaving the tab open too long, beaten
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Old 05-10-2016, 15:32   #10
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

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Funny how differently we understand winter and cold. PA, sure you can do it without heating too but a Refleks diesel heater could be nice as well as a big down for two.
Ha! I see you're in the Arctic Ocean so the temps I'm talking about are just below t-shirt weather for you. I could deal with the big down for two, but my wife shivers walking by the fridge so she would demand a more hospitable indoor environment.
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Old 05-10-2016, 15:44   #11
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Living aboard during Winter or in cold climate areas has been a topic discussed before, and is a good one. I was interested in this too.

Here is a Google Custom Search of CF archives for the term "winter"
https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...ter&gsc.page=1

Look back through those links and you will find hours of reading with many tips.

One thing I had not considered before reading some accounts is the risk of slipping or falling on icy decks and icy docks. In one post I recall seeing ice covered dock and boat, which made it very risky for a couple to leave their boat to go to work.
Thank you for the link. I have read alot of great info here and other places around the web. And i was surprised too to read about the ice issues. I believe my question in the title isn't as clear as it could be.

I'm trying to determine the mechanics of the the whole thing. For example, will it require bigger fuel tanks if I went diesel. Will I need to fill up every few days? Do I need to think about it every day, every week, every month?

I'll read through those links. Thanks.
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Old 05-10-2016, 15:46   #12
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

I heat a 83' boat for $2-6/day in average winter temps. $10-12/day in zero (F) and below weather.
Insulation goes a long way.
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Old 05-10-2016, 15:47   #13
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Very possible, depending on what you're willing to put up with. Lots of folks on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario live year round on their boats. I've heard of people doing it in Georgian Bay.

If money is no issue (about paying for heat), then it's certainly possible ... might not be fun, but it's certainly possible.
That's really the crux of it. If it's a big PITA then I might decide to move south a state or two where winter is more mild and drive up to see the family.
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Old 06-10-2016, 04:20   #14
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

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Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
I heat a 83' boat for $2-6/day in average winter temps. $10-12/day in zero (F) and below weather.
Insulation goes a long way.
Thank you. That is exactly the kind of info I'm looking for. I won't be anywhere near 83' but at least those numbers look promising.
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Old 06-10-2016, 04:36   #15
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Re: How realistic is living aboard through winter in a colder climate?

A small 4 column oil heater is sufficient to heat our 46'imsulated sailboat down to freezing. (Air not water)

We run our Espar diesel heater for up to an hour in the morning and two hours in the evening between dinner and sleepy time.

1/8 gallon per hour and a few dollars a day for the single oil heater.

We've just moved from San Francisco bay to Seattle so expect our heating demands to increase.

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