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Can You Live On a Houseboat in Winter?

Can You Live On a Houseboat in Winter?

One of the most asked questions is about living on a boat in winter, with some subquestions like how can you heat the boat, what about leaving the boat in the water during winter, etc. When you are land-bound it is hard to imagine the logistics in living on a houseboat year-round. That’s why the first thing you should do is inform yourself about the essentials of living abroad a boat, especially when the chilly months come. In order to help you with your research, we decided to present you with the most important information on living on boats year-round.

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Where can you live on a houseboat year-round is the question many people have misconceptions about. Boats can be anchored, moored or tied to a dock. If you are living aboard, you will be at a dock in a marina, unless you are cruising of course. This way, you have two ways to store your boat in a marina in winter. The first one is called “On the hard”, which means you keep your boat out of the water and in the dockyard, propped up by stilts. There is another way, which is called “Wet Storage”. This means keeping the boat in water over winter.

Many people who live aboard keep their boats in the water. This is due to the fact that when you keep your boat out of the water, it is more difficult to access electricity and any water you use dumps directly to the blacktop below you. This means that you have to climb a ladder about 10 ft in and out of your home.

How to Handle the Ice

When you are in wintertime on a boat, the ice problem is normal. You can solve that by protecting your vessel by bubblers. Bubblers are little underwater fountains that circulate the water to prevent ice from forming against the hull. This will prevent you to be stuck in ice all winter.
You should shut down the water on the docks as well since the pipes would freeze otherwise. This may mean that you should use long hoses from pumps on land to fill your tanks. This may be a bit difficult, but if you forget to empty the water out of the hoses, it will freeze, and you can be held without water until the sun warms things up again.

How Can You Heat Cold Weather Boats?

Your boat can have a built-in heat source, or you can buy electric heaters. Things like mini fireplace, a baby radiator-style heater, and a west marine heater will keep you warm during winter. These things are small and easy stowed, You can rotate them so that no one heater runs for more than a few hours at a time, in order to prevent the risk of overheating.

Will You Always Be Warm and Dry?

You will and you won’t be. This is not the same as camping, but it is similar to a house with not so good isolation. The temperature difference between the inside and outside boats can cause condensation to form. This means that you have to have great circulation in the boat and lots of dry heat to stop your stuff from getting wet or growing mould.
The foam mattress, however, tends to get wet on the bottom during particularly cold nights sometimes. If you have a problem like this, you can fix it with a layer of Hypervent, which looks like a rug made out of stiff dish-scrubbing plastic. It will allow the air to circulate between two layers in order to prevent condensation.

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