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Old 20-08-2018, 18:35   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Philadelphia PA
Boat: Bayfield 29 Cutter
Posts: 49
Philadelphia Winter Live-aboard Prep

Good Evening folks,

I have been Living aboard my Bayfield 29 this summer, and it has been a blast so far. However, I realize winter will approach at some point and I intend to have things properly prepared for when it does. I have a few questions for those with experience:

-how do you prevent freezing of the fresh water systems properly when using them? is it possible to leave the pressure off, and open taps and fill cap when away from the boat to allow expansion and not burst hoses, or do you usually just leave heaters running 24/7 ?

-For a 29' boat, am I wrong to imagine that one or two electric heaters should be enough to keep temperatures within reason? I don't have very high standards... Any recommendations on which electric heaters you have had good experience with?

-Any other type of insulation I should look into for quick usage on the hull or deck?

Appreciate your suggestions and have an awesome day!
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Old 24-08-2018, 09:39   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 6
Re: Philadelphia Winter Live-aboard Prep

I can't tell you much about a sailboat, but I am a full time liveaboard, that winters in Philly also.

I have a 440 Aft Cabin, and here is what I use for heat:
Aft Cabin and forward Stateroom, have built in electric heat.
In the salon and Galley I have a oil filled radiator (One Each)
In the engine room I use a small electric heater.

I find keeping the engine room warm, goes a long way in keeping the rest of the boat warm.

The aft cabin and forward stateroom, use their normal thermostats. The two oil filled radiators are plugged into a outlet with a thermostat built in. I found with out that the boat was way to warm.

I do not winterize my fresh water system, the water tank is under the bed in the aft cabin. Even with the brutally low temps last winter it was fine. I haul water to the boat in a 100 gallon tank. Most of the time i live on between 65 and 100 gallons a week.

All of my windows get the 3m Shrink Film over them. It was one of the best things I did to insulate the boat. I am luck over 1/2 my boat is double walled one way or another. Cabinets, built in drawers, wiring chases etc. That helps a lot.

Where do you keep your boat, let me know if I can share anymore information with you.

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Old 24-08-2018, 17:00   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO
Boat: Amel Super Maramu 53'
Posts: 228
Re: Philadelphia Winter Live-aboard Prep

Humidity and the subsequent mold growth will be your biggest problems. You can keep the boat warm, but the problem is with the lack of adequate insulation you will have condensation on the inside of the boat. Just like the exterior of a glass of icewater the humidity will condense on the warm side. So all those spaces that assist insulation (cabinets) you will have condensation that will result in mold. You should prepare some means of combat for this problem. Mold growth is very difficult to combat, and once you have mold it's almost impossible to get rid of.
Currently traveling the east coast.
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Old 24-08-2018, 20:16   #4
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Oregon to Alaska
Boat: Wheeler Shipyard 83' ex USCG
Posts: 3,026
Re: Philadelphia Winter Live-aboard Prep

Al your breath, shower steam, cooking vapor condenses inside the boat. If unvented can make the boat wet. Your clothes will be damp, metal clasps will rust, your bed may be damp, and so on. Find out if the power is reliable in the winter. Have a 2nd source of heat. Insulation makes a big difference. It's your home, you need to be comfortable. Cold gets old fast.

I winter in similar temperatures and don't have a problem with freezing pipes, but I'm not connected to dock water. I make my own.

The best heat is some sort of fire that heats and draws away moist inside air. Like wood, coal, diesel or pellet stoves. Usually cheaper than electricity, too.
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