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  #1  
Old 05-05-2008
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Hot watter via coleman propane camping heater?

I am looking for a very simple and affordable way to be able to take a hot shower on our 25ft sailboat.(well my wife is) One thing i noticed at our local hardware store in the camping section was this.

colemancanada.ca/Catalog/APPLIANCES.en.products
Hot Water on Demand™
Portable Hot Water Heater
Model No. 2300-711C

It looks to use a battery and propane to heat the watter. We have an outboard engine so i assume we cant make hot watter from that. The most we will cruse is for for or five days and only in the summer. I hadn't plained to plum this in to the existing watter system. Just something to have a shower in the cockpit instead on using a sun shower.

My question is would it be a good choice. I would have to store it in the boat but would only use it outside the boat. Would propane be a big no-no on boats?
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Old 05-05-2008
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I didn't spend a lot of time studying the manual ( LINK ) and I've not seen or heard anything about this water heater, but from what I can tell, it seems like a good appliance for what you need it for.



You have to use it very carefully onboard however, since it's designed for use at a campsite - outside, in open areas. Since the device lacks means of exhausting CO gases, the use of it in the cabin could result in CO poisoning. Additionally, if used in the cockpit, make sure there is a means of expelling any propane leaks which may occur. Propane is heavier than air and is highly explosive - not a good thing to happen in a contained space, especially with a combustion gas engine nearby.

However, an on-demand propane water heater is a great way to provide constant hot water, if used according to ABYC standards. Our last boat had a built-in system combined with a very large water tank (140 gal). We enjoyed unlimited hot water away from shore power without any issues. Of course, it was equipped with all the necessary and legal safety features.
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Last edited by TrueBlue; 05-05-2008 at 03:30 PM. Reason: correct bad link
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Old 05-05-2008
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Looks like it uses the small (5lb?) portable propane cylinders.
We use those on our boat all the time, as a lot of boaters do, for the BBQ.
Have to be careful with these, stow them outside of the cabin, and always check for leaks.
I have seen several products designed and marketed for camping that have and do work well on smaller boats.
Several boaters I have known use the coleman stove as well.
After all, weekend cruising on a pocket cruiser is just like camping on the water, right.
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Old 05-05-2008
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Campers seem very happy with them. As TrueBlue said, you've got to be careful about propane and exhaust on the boat. Propane bottles are basically sealed with a rubber ball on the valve, and sometimes they simply LEAK. Assume that yours WILL LEAK and use and store it where the leak can't do you any harm. Similarly, flames produce carbon monoxide, so I'd restrict the use to a reasonably well-ventilated place (like your cockpit).

It is just a small electric water pump, and a tiny hot water heater. A very nifty combination if you just want hot water for a short shower once in a while! There are a number of companies making and selling them.
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Thanks for the advice. The manual says don't use in in enclosed spaces and i of course wouldn't. I assume if it leaked while in use in the cockpit the propane would go out the cockpit drains.

What i am wondering about now also pertains to my bbq that i have yet to use. BTW i just purchased the boat and have yet to use it for a summer.

My outside BBq uses the propane cylinders as would this hot watter heater. Now when you connect on to ether the bbq or hot water heater can you then remove it when finished? Why i ask is i don't have any storage in the cockpit protected from the elements. The previous owner has two of the small green cylinder inside the boat. Would this be safe or should i find a way to store them outside?

In a perfect world i would have the device inside the boat and when i want to use it plug in the propane with it outside use it then remove the propane and bring it back in for storage.

I assume leaking is most likely to happen when the propane is connected to the device. I would assume removing the propane (if that is even possible) would be the safest way to store it. If those canisters cant be removed and i cant store it some ware other then the cabin it would be a bad ide for me?
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The small propane cylinders can be removed from the H2o heater and gas grill when finished using. But it is illegal in most areas to store them anywhere in the cabins. You also should not store them in cockpit lockers if not equipped with the correct bottom vent.

Even when detached from an appliance, they can still leak propane, as hellosailor mentioned in the above post. Some boaters store their unattached cylinders in a specially designed nylon bag with a bottom mesh fabric, hung from the stern railing.
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You might want to consider one of those solar bags. I forget the name brand of it - but basically its a black bag that you fill up and lash to your deck somewhere. After a few hours of sun the water gets fairly toasty. Won't help with a morning shower obviously but its an alternative to dealing with propane. I have one and it works as advertised.
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Another way to get a fairly effective, if inexpensive, shower with warm water, is to use a garden sprayer container, preferably a black one, and leave it in the sun... Gives a bit more positive spray action than a solar shower, which is only gravity fed.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artbyjody View Post
You might want to consider one of those solar bags. I forget the name brand of it - but basically its a black bag that you fill up and lash to your deck somewhere. After a few hours of sun the water gets fairly toasty. Won't help with a morning shower obviously but its an alternative to dealing with propane. I have one and it works as advertised.
I've used those too when I used to camp and ride my 'thumper' in the desert. I would but two of them (makes 10 gal.) on the hood of my truck while out riding, then hang them from a stake in the back of my truck during a shower. The water never got real hot, but was much better than nothing in getting the day's dust off me.
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I have one of the Coleman camp showers. We use it in the cockpit. Works great. It uses a collapsible 5 gallon water bottle and a small rechargeable electric pump. Can even produce hot water sufficient for making instant coffee. It does, however, take up a lot of space in the cockpit locker when stowed.
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