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Old 16-10-2013, 14:08   #1
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Winter On Board

Hey now!. Yes I'm new. I have a question for now and the future of living on board during the winter. I'm in Tennessee/North Georgia with mild winters. What will be my issues or problems. Staying warm has to be number one..
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Old 16-10-2013, 17:51   #2
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Re: Winter On Board

if running heating,make sure you have some ventilation,otherwise you will have condensation problems.
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Old 16-10-2013, 18:21   #3
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Re: Winter On Board

I think staying dry ranks above staying warm.

Once you are dry, get as warm as you like it.

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Old 16-10-2013, 18:55   #4
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Re: Winter On Board

Good answers. I'm making notes and reading all I can find.
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Old 16-10-2013, 19:05   #5
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Re: Winter On Board

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Originally Posted by Atimebandit View Post
Hey now!. Yes I'm new. I have a question for now and the future of living on board during the winter. I'm in Tennessee/North Georgia with mild winters. What will be my issues or problems. Staying warm has to be number one..
I live in Portland, OR... somewhat known for our wet winters with some snow and ice... I don't have trouble staying warm or dry. When I have AC power, a small electric space heater warms up the saloon in no time. I keep a couple dehumidifiers plugged in when I'm not around.

I also have an oil lamp. That and cooking up a meal usually results in peeling off layers with two vents open and a hatch cracked. When I'm not on AC, I have a small solid fuel (ie. scrap wood) stove (~8"x8"x12"), but I doubt it gets cold enough down there to justify that. My cockpit is fully enclosed which helps keep things dry and really expands the amount of livable space during the grey dark winters. It also reduces the need to a boom tent.
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Old 16-10-2013, 20:43   #6
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Re: Winter On Board

Spent a winter on board in Norfolk. Froze my butt off with two small electric heaters for warmth or lack there of. The dock electrical connection wouldn't handle more amperage. Condensation was so bad had pooling water and thought I had serious deck leaks. Get a heater with exhaust to the outside.
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Old 16-10-2013, 20:54   #7
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Re: Winter On Board

Pete is right. All the literature about heating discusses this issue. WADR, it's kind basics, Boat Heating 101.
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Old 16-10-2013, 21:00   #8
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If you are using an outboard keep in in the lowered position . It will save your lower unit from freezing . Or take it off and store it somewhere to prevent freezing.
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Old 16-10-2013, 22:30   #9
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All possible controversy aside and in my own humble opinion, The more varied your heat sources are, the less chance you'll freeze.

I'd get a Mr heat propane heater from Lowes for 55$ or a nicer looking stainless one from home depo for around 75$. Install it near the main hatch where it'll get a fresh air supply and keep the extra humidity it may cause down, get the 10ft hose and filter and run it to a bulk tank either in a proper vented propane locker or hung overboard in a stainless basket attached to a stancion, add a pair of monoxide alarms and you've got a decent system that'll do a good job of heating the boat quickly when set on high for when you get home or fight off the few really cold days you may get when left on low. An inexpensive propane system will work regardless of whether you're dockside power gets interrupted or in spring when you just can't help but go sailing before you really should.

Second tandem system I'd go with would be to get a nice ceramic electric space heater placed more amidship. Gives you more adjustable, drier heat and the best choice to run on low when you leave the boat.

My third heating source for my boat is a little wood/coal stove. More dry heat, aesthetically pleasing, best source of heat in an emergency. Mine kept me from using up all my propane and I even did most of my cooking on it after Sandy. Downside is of course the installation costs and requirements, and a few other odds and ends everyone on the forum will jump on and argue about if the thread drifts in that direction.

Orego also makes a nice little alcohaul heater I've seen on a few boats but I've no personal experience with one.

Finally, if you find humidity to be a problem (I haven't, my hydrometer usually sits between 40% and 50% year round inside the boat) a dehumidifier helps, also the small chemical dehumidifiers placed strategically around the boat should do the trick too.

Bear in mind I'm in New England, and I like redundancy. Love it in fact.

What sort of boat will you be staying on?

Welcome aboard, and good luck!
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Old 16-10-2013, 23:46   #10
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Re: Winter On Board

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Spent a winter on board in Norfolk. Froze my butt off with two small electric heaters for warmth or lack there of. The dock electrical connection wouldn't handle more amperage. Condensation was so bad had pooling water and thought I had serious deck leaks. Get a heater with exhaust to the outside.
Good place to stay away from.
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Old 17-10-2013, 00:37   #11
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Re: Winter On Board

Guess I was fooled by the "Cremation of Dan McGee" about your Tennessee climate. I'd talk to local live aboards concerning tips, temperatures, and humidity.

Perhaps the boat make and model make a big difference. You might chat up members of an owners group for your boat. My power bill ranges from $11-20/mo, actual mileage may vary. A factor in the winter for me was hauling laundry, garbage, and groceries. That's more of a hassle in the rain and wind. I also showered more onboard in the bad weather rather than hike up to the marina facilities.
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Old 17-10-2013, 02:06   #12
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Re: Winter On Board

you will want the cockpit to be covered from the elements .. especially rain and snow. nothing worse than stepping out of the cabin directly into 30 degree sleet. i like the oil filled electric furnaces. 30 amps will handle 2 of these on medium power setting which may not be enough. a small wood fired heater like the little cod is reported to generate a lot of dry heat. reverse cycle heat works well until the water gets too cold. be careful with leaving things on while you are not in the boat.
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Old 17-10-2013, 04:29   #13
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Re: Winter On Board

Your winters are probably similar to ours, maybe a bit colder at times. I spend the better part of every winter on board, so I have struggled with similar issues.

A lot depends on the specific boat, so you might want to post some details.

Mine has fairly voluminous interior, but the hull is balsa cored and so effectively insulated. So I do have a hard time getting in enough heat to warm the whole place up, but on the other hand I don't have any problem with condensation, which I consider a great blessing.

My boat's primary heat source is an Espar hydronic central heating system. This works well but has a few downsides (needs professional servicing, can't be field repaired, noise, expense). When I'm on shore power, I use small fan-type electric heaters, which work great.

I have lots of ventilation -- six dorade vents. I am sometimes tempted to stuff rags in some of them, at least, in the winter time, as the heat goes right out them and cold air rushes in. Then I think -- nah, carbon monoxide, condensation, etc., etc., etc.

One thing for sure -- do not use a heat source which vents combustion products into your boat's interior, especially if it is propane powered. This is a recipe for disaster (burning propane produces huge amounts of water vapor; sucks the oxygen out of the air; raises CO2 levels). The only heat you can use where you don't have to organize some kind of outdoor vent ($$$) is electric.

Good luck.
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Old 17-10-2013, 04:34   #14
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Re: Winter On Board

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you will want the cockpit to be covered from the elements .. especially rain and snow. nothing worse than stepping out of the cabin directly into 30 degree sleet. i like the oil filled electric furnaces. 30 amps will handle 2 of these on medium power setting which may not be enough. a small wood fired heater like the little cod is reported to generate a lot of dry heat. reverse cycle heat works well until the water gets too cold. be careful with leaving things on while you are not in the boat.
One thing about oil-filled electric radiators --

They are the safest electric heaters, and they are silent -- two big plusses. I use them when I'm off the boat.

But the big minus is that they don't put out nearly their rated amount of heat. They will only put out as much heat as they can dissipate by convection, then the element inside cycles on and off to match that rate of dissipation. So in reality a 1000 watt oil-filled radiator might well only put out one-half or one-third of the effective power of a 1000 watt fan type electric heater.

Might want to keep this in mind if you try the oil-filled type and find they are not producing enough heat.
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Old 17-10-2013, 05:27   #15
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Re: Winter On Board

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Atimebandit.
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