Living on a Boat in the Winter

When I tell people that I live on a boat, they invariably ask me if I've lived on it over winter yet. And so far I've just shrugged and told them that no, I bought the boat in July and I'm still waiting to experience my first winter. Until now. "Looks like it decided to be winter," said the woman at the bus stop on Thursday morning. It was true. The sun no longer reaches it's zenith. Instead, it gets above the tree tops around noon and then immediately decides it's time to head back down. The wooden dock ices over in the morning and I have to be careful not to slip off as I wheel my bike to the gate.

Waking up in the morning has been getting harder and harder as it gets darker and rainier and colder. Going to bed is also difficult. I have two space heaters, but for safety reasons I don't leave them on while I'm gone. When I get home from work (and other evening activities - so usually I get home pretty late) the first thing I do is turn the heaters on and close the boat up as I jog to the marina bathrooms for a hot shower. By the time I've run the hundred feet along the icy dock to keep my wet hair from freezing the boat is warm. But when I crawl into bed, the covers are still chilly.

Last Sunday I went to lunch with some friends of my friend Shayne, a couple name Alex and Christine. They have lived on a boat for a while and they gave me some expert advice. "Buy an electric blanket and a dehumidifier." Christine also suggested opening storage areas when I'm not there to let them air out.

I took their sage advice (they're both world class sailors and know a thing or two about boats) and bought an electric blanket. I also ordered some dehumidifiers from amazon to place in my storage compartment. Although my boat doesn't leak (it did have two very tiny leaks on the deck but I filled them with epoxy and that seems to have done the trick) it does condense on the inside in the winter, which can lead to mold or mildew, especially in closed storage areas. I found a couple of wireless silicone dehumidifiers to place in the storage areas and hopefully that will solve the moisture problem. Other than that, the boat is totally cozy and I'm happy to living there, even on a cold November morning.