Any Winter or Cold Climate Houseboat Living Tips?

by Ian Macpherson
(Toronto, Canada)

What tips for winter houseboat living?

What tips for winter houseboat living?

The idea of living on a houseboat during the winter intrigues me. What modifications are involved for winter and do you know anyone living on a houseboat in cold climates?

I've heard a "plastic wrap" helps. Would any of the high end houseboat manufacturers make a boat for winter climates?

Thanks from Toronto.




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Reply - Answer
If the thought of living on a houseboat during the winter intrigues you, you are not alone. You will find people from all over the world doing it in different types of boats, and yes, even houseboats.

When you say winter or colder climates, I presume you mean that the water will or can freeze, and that there will be some snow and wind.

Some of the things to consider:

1) A water bubbler system to agitate the water around the houseboat to keep it from freezing.

2) A method to keep the houseboat heated (electric-propane-diesel) and condensation under control (dehumidifier).

3) Winterization of the outboard or outdrive system in order to reduce the risk of freeze damage

4) A method to keep the wind and snow from building up on the houseboat. EX: a clear plastic shrink wrap system, or portable garage tempo, around entrances and exterior walls to reduce heat loss.

5) A method to get potable drinking water and a way to pump out the septic tank.

6) A reliable generator for the occasional power loss to prevent freeze damage.

7) This tip is a BIG ONE, a spouse or partner that understands and accepts some of the small or large inconveniences involved in winter houseboat living.

There's other things that need to be done, but I'm sure you get the idea, it's feasible, do-able, and enjoyable, however it's not the "norm".

In closing, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their winter or cold climate houseboat experiences.

IAN from all-about-houseboats


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Full-time liveaboard east of Toronto, ON Canada
by: Michelle

I've been living aboard full-time on my houseboat (40' x 10') for 2.5 years now. Winter 2012/13 was a cake walk compared to last year, 2013/14!

A full shrink wrap cover is mandatory here - it's insulating. Also, when I gutted the interior to renovate after I bought it, I had insulation blown into the walls and ceiling - thank goodness!!

I have two small electric heaters, which are sufficient, even with last years' record low temps, they kept up. Outside, on my enclosed deck, I have a dual element propane heater - when the sun comes in my "windows" (aka clear vinyl cut outs in the cover), it's like a sunroom - very cozy, indeed!

I have 3 pontoons, so I have 2 agitators in the water - flying these requires placing them strategically and constant monitoring.

Last year they had a hard time keeping up, so breaking ice manually was a daily exercise (we only lost one ice chipper). One day at a time got us through it.

Winter at the marina is extremely peaceful and beautiful! I love it as much as I love it in the summer. Me and my neighbors even built two skating rinks last year and had a ball - this year is looking like it might be a skating rink year again.

Cheers and happy live-a-boarding!! BEST-LIFE-EVER :)

Michelle
Pickering, ON

Reply - Answer



Michelle, thanks for taking the time to write such a positive and refreshing post about living aboard in the colder winter months. I do agree with you that the peacefulness and beauty are something money cannot buy... :)

Thanks again, IAN from www.all-about-houseboats.com


New year round live aboard
by: Anonymous

We're first time live-aboards but we will be braving the winter.
A lot of boaters we talked to use wood burning stoves for heat. That seems a little scary to me. Dunno, thoughts?

Winter Houseboat Living - heating our boat
by: Julia

We live in Edgewater, MD on a houseboat year round. This will be our second winter and the end of our first year living aboard this boat.

It's a 47' Aqua home and we find that two space heaters up top and a blue flame ventless propane heater for the bedrooms work the best for us. We no longer use the back entrance and we mounted it there.

The boat next to us has a bubbler so we don't worry about that much. We put the plastic wrap around the windows to keep out the draft. But during the day, the sun heats the inside of the boat and we have to turn all the heaters off.

The electra-san waste disposal works fine and our boat's motors do not work so we don't have to worry about winterizing the motors.

So far, I love living on the boat but sometimes I miss having a yard and a bigger kitchen. But with two people and a kid it works out just fine. :)

Reply - Answer
Julia, thanks for sharing your winter heating and living tips.

IAN from www.all-about-houseboats.com

Houseboat Living - live on it while dry-docked?
by: Mimi in Pittsburgh

I have been thinking about buying a houseboat and putting it on a piece of land and living in it. I don't think it would be taxable if on a trailer. Would it be easier to live in in the winter? What would a person have to do to "winterize" it if living in it while dry-docked? Thanks! :)

Winter living on your houseboat
by: Kathy

I am getting ready to live on my house boat for the winter. I will update as the weeks go by. Any tips from those of you who are seasoned are much appreciated....

Winter houseboat living tip
by: neal from tampa

Cruise south, way south, sunny florida :)

Winter Houseboat Tips, and a few more ideas
by: Ronnie and John

We are full time live aboards and have been for years.. we really never enjoyed winter that much until we moved on to the houseboat.

1. You will want a good BBQ grill, there is nothing like BBQing in the midst of winter.

2. If you have a top deck with a canvas cover you will want to get some extra tie down straps, rivets and also bungee cords for those winds that blow.

3. We have a 12.5 KW generator which runs all of our equipment and appliances, but it also runs up the fuel bill, so you may want to get a small portable generator to run the essentials when you aren't running full power.

4. Have some movies on hand because your TV stations will sometimes go off.

5. Have a small portable space heater for inside and when you want to sit outside.

ENJOY

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