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Old 02-01-2015, 22:45   #1
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Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm issues

With my significant other.....who is a seasoned sailor...we are selling our home and moving to the liveaboard lifestyle. Honestly, I am a tad bit overwhelmed. I am downsizing so much stuff but that comes with the territory. I am very concerned about keeping warm 6 months out of the year. I would like to get a wood fireplace installed on whatever boat we end up with. Does anyone have any advice?

For the moisture issue I have read a variety of solutions that people have used. However, with a 50 ft boat with two adults and two dogs....what are some of the basic procedures I can preform to help minimize the issue.

Lastly, can anyone give first person insight on how storms impact boats in the marinas on Bainbridge Island? I lived in Washington State for 20+ years so I am all to aware of what can hit. However, I have no knowledge of the impact on liveaboards.

Thanks for any guidance you can provide.
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Old 03-01-2015, 01:17   #2
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

The GOOD NEWS is that the water temperature in Eagle Harbor does not vary much so the boat hull will always be about 49 to 53 degrees. One way to look at it is the winter on the boat will just as warm as the summer.

We installed an Ardic diesel heater (heated water pumped thru water/air heat exchanger and hot air outlets in every cabin) and it works very well at keeping the boat warm and comfortable but is no longer made. Espar and others make nice heaters that will do as good a job.

My brothers Tartan 42 had a Dickinson diesel heater mounted on the salon bulkhead that had a glass front that allowed one to watch the flame ('sorta a fireplace) and it too did nice job of heating the boat.

Another friend had a small wood pellet burning stove with an open front and it too worked well but was messy and a bother to operate. They lived aboard their Columbia 38 for three years on Bainbridge, Shilshoe, Brownsville.

I spent a lot of time visiting Eagle Harbor because we kept the boat in Gig Harbor and good friends lived near Winslow. I have been anchored in Eagle Harbor and on the mooring balls in some pretty stormy conditions and never felt any concern.

I've included a copy beauty shots you might recognize and of course the rules for the highly regulated Eagle Harbor Linear Dock
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Old 03-01-2015, 01:27   #3
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

Wood stoves are great for cold humid weather, but they do put out smoke and ash. If in a marina you may get some negative response to a wood stove.

I recommend a propane (clean air) stove. One that heats tubes and and a fan to blow the heat into the boat, not the fumes, which should go up the chimney. Burning a propane flame in the boat creates moisture itself and one has to deal with CO2 contamination as well.
If you use electric heat it's going to be a lot more expensive.

As long as the marina has good tie-downs (cleats) and docks, it should manage any storm that comes along in the PNW, unless you get another Columbus day storm like back in 1962.

BTW Welcome aboard!
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Old 03-01-2015, 05:45   #4
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, drkatherine1.
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:30   #5
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

Welcome to the island (soon)! Yes, it is damp, it's an issue for houses as well as boats and people are pretty good about finding ways to deal with it. Fortunately the weather here is pretty mild and many days you'll be able to turn off the heat and open the windows for a while if you're wearing a good sweater.

We use an electric heater for the times when we're on the boat and the cost is acceptable since electric is pretty cheap here. If you prefer more heat I'd go with propane over wood. Not only is there less of the problem with smoke, you don't have to deal with the ash cleanup - and I promise you that your neighbors will not permit you to dump the ash over the side.

Storms are almost a non-issue as Eagle Harbor is protected on three sides with the fourth towards the east, and still a bit protected. Finding a slip may be a challenge if you are arriving in the next few months. All of the marinas are required to update their structures and everyone is kind of shuffling spots right now as docks get torn up and replaced. There is still space, but it may not be where you want to be right now.

Finally, if you do Facebook, consider joining the main BI page to get a feel for what's going on here and how to find stuff.

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Old 03-01-2015, 07:37   #6
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

I have used Webasto diesel heating systems in the PNW for the past 27 years. They have kept my boats dry, warm (when desired), and free of mold. Wood is a problem as stated above, and also the problem to keep a supply of dry firewood aboard. Propane may be a good option, but beware that it is heavier than air, and very unforgiving when installation or maintenance errors are encountered. It will collect in the hull, and has caused major explosions. The design of any heating system is also critical. It is important to have the heat distributed uniformly throughout the interior of the boat. If some areas are allowed to stay cool mildew can happen. It will grow in humid areas that are below 50 degrees F.

I agree that storms are not a problem in Eagle Harbor, or even Port Madison.
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Old 03-01-2015, 09:02   #7
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

Quote:
Originally Posted by St. Elsewhere View Post
I have used Webasto diesel heating systems in the PNW for the past 27 years. They have kept my boats dry, warm (when desired), and free of mold. Wood is a problem as stated above, and also the problem to keep a supply of dry firewood aboard. Propane may be a good option, but beware that it is heavier than air, and very unforgiving when installation or maintenance errors are encountered. It will collect in the hull, and has caused major explosions. The design of any heating system is also critical. It is important to have the heat distributed uniformly throughout the interior of the boat. If some areas are allowed to stay cool mildew can happen. It will grow in humid areas that are below 50 degrees F.

I agree that storms are not a problem in Eagle Harbor, or even Port Madison.
St Elsewhere has the right idea imho... Lived aboard a DeFever 54 for many years and the webasto heating system worked reliably and efficiently for many years. Parts were easy to come by as well. A wood stove/fireplace as a heat source aboard is problematic in so many ways... safety, smoke, ash, fuel supply(remember that storage space aboard is limited), while esthetically pleasing it can be a pain in the butt.
We supplemented the heating system with a small diesel fireplace in the salon which really kept the cool weather outside and was nice to look at.
Good luck with you liveaboard adventure... We lived aboard for over 15 years and miss it terribly. Cheers, Phil
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Old 03-01-2015, 09:05   #8
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

My wife and I lived on our boat in Eagle Harbor for two months last winter. We were on a mooring ball. Never felt any concern about our well being. Getting to and from the boat to to the dinghy dock was another matter and often changed our plans for the day.

We have a Taylor diesel heater and I was installing a hot water boiler with heat exchangers throughout the boat. It was a big install.

Winslow harbor does have a free shower which is a plus but there is no heat in the bathroom so you have to be brave. But we did it and none the worse for it. Great food, coffee shops, shopping all within minutes of walking. Plus the ferry is right there to take you into the city.

We loved it there and may be headed back there at the end of January. (We are in John Wayne Marina in Sequim for a few months during the holidays.)

Hope to catch up with you then.
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Old 03-01-2015, 09:24   #9
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

We are in an area that doesn't get quite as cold and wet, so I swear by the Weems and Plath wall oil lamps. They dry the air and if you close up the boat (sail-no large windows to lose heat through) we have a very comfortable setting and the lights are beautiful against the teak walls. These lamps run about $100 each or more but we put one in each cabin, fore, mid and aft and are very comfy.
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Old 03-01-2015, 17:54   #10
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

You're not worried about CO levels in a closed up boat? I have Alladin oil lamps and love the light they produce but you always have to remember you are burning a hydrocarbon in a relatively small overall volume of air, you could wind up going for the big sleep! Be safe.
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Old 03-01-2015, 19:07   #11
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

On wood stoves. Nothing beats in on a cold winter evening. I have a 12" one designed for wood or coal. I found it burns charcoal just as well but a lot cleaner burning with little soot or smoke. You need to get the big lump-wood stuff
On electric. I have the low powered tube heaters, 100w gives very good background heat and keeps everything dry.
Bear in mind I am on a wooden boat so very good insulation
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Old 03-01-2015, 20:30   #12
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

Quote:
Originally Posted by St. Elsewhere View Post
I have used Webasto diesel heating systems in the PNW for the past 27 years. They have kept my boats dry, warm (when desired), and free of mold. Wood is a problem as stated above, and also the problem to keep a supply of dry firewood aboard. Propane may be a good option, but beware that it is heavier than air, and very unforgiving when installation or maintenance errors are encountered. It will collect in the hull, and has caused major explosions. The design of any heating system is also critical. It is important to have the heat distributed uniformly throughout the interior of the boat. If some areas are allowed to stay cool mildew can happen. It will grow in humid areas that are below 50 degrees F.

I agree that storms are not a problem in Eagle Harbor, or even Port Madison.

I second this. Our webasto hydronic heater heats our 40+ boat very nicely. It's trouble free, comes on when the thermostat tells it too, and surprisingly - it really doesn't use that much diesel. With a wood stove, I'd be worried about the ash, the continuous feeding, how to regulate the heat, etc.

And as far as the storms go: Most anchorages/marinas are very well protected. I've seen some mighty waves in Puget Sound that would make me think twice about going out - but in a protected marina, it's no big deal.
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Old 03-01-2015, 21:40   #13
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

Welcome to CF, as well as (it sounds like) the sailing lifestyle!

On the staying warm part, there are a couple of things not yet much mentioned that are key. Probably the most important one is having (or adding/adding to) good insulation on the boat. Both in/on the hull sides, & overhead.
It makes a huge difference. For example, I lived on a boat in Port Townsend, WA for a while, & it could by 45 degrees outside & yet comfy inside of the boat just in shirt sleeves (sans heat), due to it's cored construction.

I stress the insulation thing, as, I know what the winds up there can be like. Plus, without it, even with decent heat on the boat, there will be cold spots, & it'll be drafty regardless of how much you turn up the heat. That, and you'll have a LOT more condensation.
It's easy enough to add via a variety of techniques, & needn't be expensive either. And it also helps tone down some of the wind noise a bit.

The other thing which plays a big factor is wind patterns, & finding a spot where your vessel is tucked in behind something, or someone (else), so that you don't bear the brunt of the chill winds. Especially given how hard it can blow there.
I'm not familiar with the micro-climate of that locale, but for instance, when a storm would come into PT, the bulk of the winds were from the S. So it'd make sense to check out the area, & find a shielded/lesser wind prone spot there.
To perhaps assist with this, not long ago I added a post to a thread on finding wind info in a given locale, so that might be of help.

Also, if you're serious about keeping the boat warm, take a good look at her through a thermal imager (just as they do for land based homes), from various angles, on a blustery day. It'll show you where you're bleeding heat, & what needs working on.

Here's a thread on the condensation issue, with, perhaps some fresh ideas condensation, condensation, aghhhhh!!!!!

Good luck, & again, welcome

PS: There's nothing which says you can't rent a small flat, or a room, for part or all of the year either. So you can take a break from the boat from time to time, to dry out/warm up, have the luxuries of land. And or to aide with the transition, & with downsizing.
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Old 04-01-2015, 10:43   #14
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

I also just moved aboard in the PNW. Currently I am in Tacoma. The neighbors are friendly and ever so helpful. This is my first boat and I don't even know what I don't know. A positive attitude and a can do spirit will be your biggest asset.

However, I can attest to the heat put out by my Dickinson diesel heater. Warm, dry heat. Which cut down on the condensation a little. The condensation, I have seen that all my neighbors have dehumidifiers in the 50 -70 pint range. That will be my next purchase.

Storms, well, I haven't seen a big one yet....yet. There have been a couple of very windy days and I enjoyed feeling the boat moving around.

Neighbors, I have great ones. In a month, I know or have at least met all the live aboard's on my dock. The Golden Rule seems to work well in the marina

In all, this beats living in an apartment hands down.

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Old 04-01-2015, 13:08   #15
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Re: Moving to Bainbridge Island, WA worried about keeping warm, moisture and storm is

I can't thank all of you enough for all your wonderful suggestions and insights. There are quite a few that I am going to use. Next questions is what about grey water? Specifically, from a washer. I have read other threads that say there are some marinas which forbid it...and others where they just say what it is. I know that there are grey water safe soaps and detergents. So how does one deal with their grey water. Do you contain ALL of it and them pump frequently or do you use the appropriate water friendly soap and it goes into the water?
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