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Old 01-27-2013, 04:03 PM   #1
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Winter Liveabaords???

Hello all,

I am in the my planning stages of purchasing. I will probably end up with something in the whereabouts of a 65' Trawkler, very possibly a Hat LRC or similar. I will be living aboard in New England at a marina for a few years, taking short trips until my kids finish school.

Wondering if those of you with large boats who live in very cold temps with snow, shrink wrap or is it not necessary with a large boat?

I will definetely need to refit a central heating system if the boat does not come equipped. Do you find that in the winter, your boat is toasty warm with the heat or is it warm, but still need to wear a sweater because of not having insulation?

Will furnces run on diesel or can they run from shore power without diesel? Approximately what is your fuel or electric cost to heat your boat?

Thanks for the info.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:55 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. Not an expert on this subject,however,I did live on a power boat for thee winters in Boston. I found that while shrink wrap protected the boat it also traped moisture inside. The last year I covered the cockpit,was on a 40' sportfishing boat.
People I knew living year round were usually equipped with central heat,via a furnace,deseil powered as well as a small wood stove set up.

The marina you stay makes a big difference. Some are equipped for liverboards year round,others are not. Makes huge difference in your end result and comfort level.

Good luck on your search.
John
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:19 PM   #3
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Welcome aboard. Not an expert on this subject,however,I did live on a power boat for thee winters in Boston. I found that while shrink wrap protected the boat it also traped moisture inside. The last year I covered the cockpit,was on a 40' sportfishing boat.
People I knew living year round were usually equipped with central heat,via a furnace,deseil powered as well as a small wood stove set up.

The marina you stay makes a big difference. Some are equipped for liverboards year round,others are not. Makes huge difference in your end result and comfort level.

Good luck on your search.
John
Hey John,
Thanks for the response. Were you at Constitution Marina?

What do you mean by "equipped for liveaboards"? The marina that I spoke to, also here in Boston, said that the liveaboards use a garden hose from the main building to fill their tanks, because the slip water is turned off to prevent freezing. Is this typical?

Also, what happens with pump-outs?

Is there typically a pump-out at each individual slip or a central pump-out for shared use?
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:43 PM   #4
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Did nor stay at Constitution,although I thought it was very good. Stayed further up from the naval yard,name escapes me right now. Yes that water source is pretty typical. I was thinking of parking close to the docks, the public heads kept open and heated and the docks kept clear of snow. On more then occasson I awoke in the middle of the knight to the sounds of snowblowers pussing snow off the docks. Also the running of a strong line parrell to the heavy rails of the risers/platforms that take you from the docks to the land.At low tide in the middle of winter with raiks frozen,it can be a real challenge.

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Old 01-27-2013, 08:47 PM   #5
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We spend a lot of winter time onboard. Its very rare to see snow on the docks here (Vancouver Island) but it happens. When it happens it generally only lasts for a couple of days. We do get really slippery docks - ice sometimes - so you have to be super careful. If you go off a lonesome dock in this kind of weather you are likely not coming back out of the water.

I think wrapping would be a huge mistake if you plan to live aboard. Life creates a lot of moisture on the boat - cooking and respiration being the two biggest sources. That moisture needs to escape somehow. I think forced air heat is the best bet. If you have hydronic heat then you need to figure out some way to get air exchange happening. I can't give you a figure for fuel consumption but it will be a significant number. It seems to me that I have seen numbers like 1 or 2 gallons a day for converted buses; a boat the size you are talking about would be significantly more. Boats are generally not well insulated. Depending on the specifics of your power arrangement with the marina it may make sense to use more or less electric heat. In our circumstance as long as we keep our consumption "reasonable" Gary doesn't bill us for our electricity so I use some electric heat but primarily diesel heat.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:50 AM   #6
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I rebuilt my 42 steel trawler and spray foamed the walls and ceiling to 16 R. With that two electric heater are enough to stay warm. The biggest complaint is cold floors if I did it over again I would put heating in the floor. They have those mats that you can buy and put under your flooring. The floor does not have enough surface area to heat the boat, but it would dry the floor and be warm to the touch.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:54 AM   #7
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Lived aboard for 22+ years , much of the time in NYC.

A real heating (probably an oil fired small boiler like in a home) setup is required.

Forced air is sometimes easier to refit , but the ducts are far larger.

Having sufficient fuel aboard is usually no problem a winter will eat 200-400G depending on the area heated.

The big hassle is weather the electric will be on during after a winter storm , when you most need it.

Either non electric heaters , Dickinson oil range, or similar, or the noisemaker must be set up to operate 24/7 for at least 10 days.

This may require a deeper sea water inlet , to get below harbor ice.

Keel cooling for both main engines and noisemakers is great , but very uncommon on motor yachts.

Not freezing to death , or sinking from burst sea water lines is your first priority .

After that its a "Walk in the Sun".
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:40 AM   #8
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I rebuilt my 42 steel trawler and spray foamed the walls and ceiling to 16 R. With that two electric heater are enough to stay warm. The biggest complaint is cold floors if I did it over again I would put heating in the floor. They have those mats that you can buy and put under your flooring. The floor does not have enough surface area to heat the boat, but it would dry the floor and be warm to the touch.
Is that called radiant heat? Do you know if it is the same radiant heat used in homes or is there a marine grade?

Am I correct in thinking that insulation is something that can only be done while doing a major rebuild?. Is it possible to take a good condition boat and insulate it or would that be like tearing out drywall in a home?
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:42 AM   #9
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Living aboard near Toronto in our 15th year. Shrink wrapping protects the boat, makes the decks livable and does not contribute to a moisture problem if properly vented.. Our harbour requires us to use white shrink wrap (yacht club political reasons) but have used clear shrink in the past. The clear acts like a green house and cuts heating costs dramatically (maybe 50%).

Over the years we have insulated our hull and much of the superstructure and we have installed an air purification system. MY wife has life threatening allergies and we simply cannot have mold or odors of any kind onboard.

Our main heating is by a Flagship Marine air conditioner/furnace. The a/c side is reverse cycle like any other marine unit but the heat side is an electric furnace. WE run infrared heat lamps under the sole and in the engine compartment to keep our toes and engine warm.

We have a generator ready to run if the shore power goes out.

We keep 200' of hose connected to our water intake and the hose is submerged in the lake ( so it does not freeze. When we need water I pull up the end (capped of course), connect it to the clubhouse and thats that.

For pumpout I built a 30 gallon portable tank with a 12volt pump. Wheel it up to the boat, pump the tank. pull the wagon 100' to the sewage trap at the clubhouse and drain it there. The 12volt pump is wrapped in heater cord and plugged in so it does not freeze.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:43 AM   #10
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Lived aboard for 22+ years , much of the time in NYC.

A real heating (probably an oil fired small boiler like in a home) setup is required.

Forced air is sometimes easier to refit , but the ducts are far larger.

Having sufficient fuel aboard is usually no problem a winter will eat 200-400G depending on the area heated.

The big hassle is weather the electric will be on during after a winter storm , when you most need it.

Either non electric heaters , Dickinson oil range, or similar, or the noisemaker must be set up to operate 24/7 for at least 10 days.

This may require a deeper sea water inlet , to get below harbor ice.

Keel cooling for both main engines and noisemakers is great , but very uncommon on motor yachts.

Not freezing to death , or sinking from burst sea water lines is your first priority .

After that its a "Walk in the Sun".
What is a "sea water line"? and how does it burst?
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:47 AM   #11
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thought a couple of photos might be of interest.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:20 AM   #12
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thought a couple of photos might be of interest.
Awesome pics!!! Thanks!!! Always nice to have a visual.

Also, great info. Do all of the other liveaboards at your marina do the same thing with the water line?
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:27 AM   #13
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Awesome pics!!! Thanks!!! Always nice to have a visual.

Also, great info. Do all of the other liveaboards at your marina do the same thing with the water line?

We run our own line because its just more convenient with our setup. All of the others are connected to one line with a spider web to each boat. When one person needs water, they will hook up the common hose, each spider line has a shut-off valve at the boat, when they are done they check with the others to see if anyone else needs water. Last person to use the hose is responsible for capping it and tossing it back in the lake. Only one person at a time fills from the spider web as there is too much of a pressure drop otherwise.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:08 PM   #14
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Winter liveaboard

This being my second year living aboard the first thing I would get is a good pair of ice cleats. LL Bean has a good pair for $20 thease have saved my bum a number of times. I would also shrink wrap with clear wrap. It acts like a green house on sunny days and if you vent it there should be no moisture problem. We have no pump out here in the winter so we use a portable toilet in the winter which we or should I say I take to the marina and dump it every day. For heat we have a 42,000 btu force hot air Espar which runs off my fuel tanks. So far this year I have used about 275 gal of fuel. I am lucky that I hold 600 gals of fuel so I don't have to worry about hauling fuel, but when I fill up in the fall I do have to winterize the fuel so it won't gel. Water I have to run a hose to the marina office but I hold 300 gals so I dont have to get water that often. I hope this help's.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:04 PM   #15
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Similar situation but in Baltimore

Hello GalaxyGirl,

We have been aboard for 5 yrs in Baltimore. We tried to heat the boat the first year with reverse cycle and space heaters - when the boat was 48 degrees inside, we decided to install a ITR hydronic heater (diesel fired boiler). The boat is now 70 degreess all the time. With 50amp electric service, that pretty much limits you two 4 space heaters.
We do not shrink wrap becasue we would loose access to adjust lines, adjust dinghy cover, etc.
We do put house style windows shrink plastic on all windows.
For electric - shore power is relied upon but there is always the battery house bank and inverter if needed, with the genset as a backup to that.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyGirl View Post
Hello all,

I am in the my planning stages of purchasing. I will probably end up with something in the whereabouts of a 65' Trawkler, very possibly a Hat LRC or similar. I will be living aboard in New England at a marina for a few years, taking short trips until my kids finish school.

Wondering if those of you with large boats who live in very cold temps with snow, shrink wrap or is it not necessary with a large boat?

I will definetely need to refit a central heating system if the boat does not come equipped. Do you find that in the winter, your boat is toasty warm with the heat or is it warm, but still need to wear a sweater because of not having insulation?

Will furnces run on diesel or can they run from shore power without diesel? Approximately what is your fuel or electric cost to heat your boat?

Thanks for the info.
Hi there Galaxy Girl from a snowy and cold UK,

As you've seen from my other posts under 'Soon to be a Liveaboard - advice?', we are getting everything together to move on board our Fleming 55.

The timing of your post is perfect - yesterday, a new heating system installation was finished. It's an hydronic 9kW Webasto, with diesel fed from the main tanks. Separate controls are fitted to the Saloon, Pilot house, and each of the three cabins.

We have one radiator in the saloon plus an additional matrix, and matricies in all other areas. The fans are 24v but their control is clever. As the heat demand decreases, the fans slow down. In the past, that meant dropping the voltage to the fans which made the buzz. The new controllers don't drop the voltage, they pulse the full 24v which stops the buzzing and slows the fan with no buzzing. Perfect.

The water system is pressurised (hence no header tank) and self air bleeding.

Yesterday was a cold day (the snow has gone, but it's still really cold) yet the boat was toastie warm throughout.

You ask about shrink wrap. In the 25 years we've been boating, we've always worked on the belief that the boat must breathe and have small heaters and de-humidifiers on board. This has served us well with no mildew (mould) appearing. So for us, no shrink wrap.

Have fiun - GPB and Mrs GPB
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:39 PM   #17
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This being my second year living aboard the first thing I would get is a good pair of ice cleats. LL Bean has a good pair for $20 thease have saved my bum a number of times. I would also shrink wrap with clear wrap. It acts like a green house on sunny days and if you vent it there should be no moisture problem. We have no pump out here in the winter so we use a portable toilet in the winter which we or should I say I take to the marina and dump it every day. For heat we have a 42,000 btu force hot air Espar which runs off my fuel tanks. So far this year I have used about 275 gal of fuel. I am lucky that I hold 600 gals of fuel so I don't have to worry about hauling fuel, but when I fill up in the fall I do have to winterize the fuel so it won't gel. Water I have to run a hose to the marina office but I hold 300 gals so I dont have to get water that often. I hope this help's.
Great info! Thanks.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:55 AM   #18
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What is a "sea water line"? and how does it burst?



All the lines from a seacock feeding the engine , noisemaker or draining the sink are filled with seawater.

They burst when frozen solid. Usually about 25F or less .

Although they are a pain to store in summer , a wool rug on the sole with a bathroom rug on top is a big help for cold feet.
The wool insulates and the bathroom carpet can be trimmed in place wit no unraveling and is machine washable .
Folks are very reluctant to remove winter boots when visiting , so an easily washable rug is a simple solution.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:00 PM   #19
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Warning another long reply



Its rather hard to insulate a boat. However, you can sort of insulate by carpeting, adding interior cabinets /shelves and window coverings. Also the area on a 60 ft boat to heat is 600 to 800 square feet, and the ceiling height is usually under 6 ˝ feet so the heat is kept low and confined. So there are ways indirect way insulate trap warm air.

Most boats have two separate heating systems, electric and or diesel/propane in the colder areas. However, having a properly sized heating system on the boat is probable the most importing. since most docks and boats are wired for 50 amps 120 volts AC, electrical heating is limited especially in the cold areas. We installed 4 Pic a Watt heaters that can set the wstts/amps depending on the need. I set the heater at 9.5 amp and put them on timers and set backs so the 50 amp breaker is the tripped

The best money spent and made the Eagle a good live aboard was the Webasto, 110,000 btu diesel fired hot water boiler which is sized down to 0 F. We turn the Webasto on October 1 and run it 24/7 until about May 1, at set 68 degrees, which keeps the entire boat 65 to 70 degrees including the engine room. We usually wear jeans, light shirt, shocks/bear feet and many times that is too much. Most morning when I get up I am wear just a long over sized T shirt and bear foot or my pink bunny slippers. Very seldom do we wear sweaters, maybe a light/thin sweat shirt. We burn 300 to 400 gallons of diesel per year to heat the boat, the electric Pic a Watt heaters are not used in the winter, but the warmer spring/summer months.

the Eagle back deck, Portuguese’s bridge/pilot house are canvas enclosed which keeps the cold rain/snow off the boat, cuts down the wind drafts and traps the warm air. I also tarp/tent the front deck to keep the cold rain/snow off the deck and it also helps trap the warm air. On sunny cold days the canvas/tarp area are warm and dried out the area. In the Puget Sound area very few are shrink wrapped. but most do have canvas and tarps.

Moisture can be a big concern on boats because of small space, poor heating and ventilation. We make a point of no long shower, laundry is done off the boat, no standing water and we air the boat on most nice days and have 9 Dri Eaz pots around the boat and bilge to absorb moisture. So we try to keep the entire boat bone dry. Window condensation can be reduced by good thick thermal curtains and covering the windows with plastic/plex a glass.

Lastly I wnat to mention that boats, docks, marinas and water are extreemly dangerous especially in the colder areas. Also some marinas do have rules/regulations concerning children, pets and perceived liabilities. So make sure you check with the marina and be very picky about the easy of getting on/off the boat, the dock/slip location and marina facilities.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:07 PM   #20
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Disclaimer: based on some winters in eastern NC where we get a couple weeks average maybe of sub freezing, turn off the dock water weather, and maybe a weeks worth of snow. But temps at night in the 30's are very common with a lot of wind.

One thing I haven't noticed mention of is block heaters for all the engines on board. These are wonderful for many reasons, especially if you are in an area where there are weather opportunities to go boating during the winter. I like immersion heaters on the mains, with thermostats, and have a little Wolverine pad heater on the genset oilpan. First, they make the engines very happy, keeping them at an even, warm temperature. And if you want to or have to move the boat, they start right up smoke free. Second, the engine becomes a great big source of dry radiant heat when the air intakes are shut. This can help warm the sole for boats with buried ERs; in our case, we can open the doors to the ERs and they will keep the lower level SRs and galley around 50 degrees with outside temps in the teens. The stuff in the engine rooms, such as freshwater lines, pumps, water heater etc etc are kept dry and warm too. We turn the block heaters on when temps consistently get in the 50's and less and leave them on.

Having tried a variety of strategies, we still are firm believers that the best one is to take the boat to places where it doesn't get very cold in the winter and it never snows. And if you can't go boating at all, put it in warm inside storage is next best.
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