Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Callao, VA
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for a decent size boat (>32') space heaters are your worst choice...they can tip over, are very inefficient, should not be left running when you are not there. They are fed off shore power, as few boats have generators to sustain the loads. Can not be run off solar panels or wind, again the load is too great.
The best choice for liveaboard, IMHO is diesel or diesel fired hot water heat. Neither are in expensive and take up room on the boat.
We have made do with reverse cycle marine units, one in the salon, one in the aft cabin. They do OK when the water temp is decent, not so much when the weather really turns.
All marinas, we have been at provide parking for at least one car in the monthly slippage. For working while living aboard...you will find other more annoying concerns: suits and clothes will take on the "boat" smell. I used to leave my better clothes in the car...shower (that in itself has it's own set of challenges if done aboard, different challenges if done in the bath house) and then change just before leaving, others shower/change at work, if possible.
Access to the boat is downright dangerous when icy or snowy, as none of the marinas I have stayed do any snow or ice removal. We actually had a lady fall last year, and the marina did nothing, even after she fell. She had gone to the local hardware store and bought de-ice but the owner would not spread it, idiot. She is still recovering from a shattered joint. Getting on and off the boat, and hatches/doors open when icy can be a problem. I always had the vision of later telling the boss how "his" two laptops are at the bottom of the potomac river - as I could not swim or get out until I dropped them.
Lastly, there is the whole water issue, most marinas and all the ones we have stayed at, shut the water off in late october, or when it really starts to get cold. The drain all the water lines except a couple of freeproof ones on the shore side. Several times a month we would have water parties and string the hoses out, else it is carry gallon jugs. Some of the more expensive/new places have a wrapped umbilical of water, electric, pumpout, etc that has neater tape so as to not freeze. This works well until the power goes out, which it does quite frequently.
Hope I did not scare you, as liveaboard can be awesome, but you need to know up front it has it's moments...it is/was well worth it for us.