Heaters on unattended boats - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 11-18-2008
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Heaters on unattended boats

What is the consensus on keeping a heater plugged in and on the boat while away for a week at a time? I currently have the very simple and low heating element West Marine air dryer/de-humidifier on my boat while unattended. This was actually recommended by our yard shop and I'm not overly concerned as this product has a very mild heating element. I employ all the usuals of making sure flammables are not kept on boat along with proper placement of the unit. I've also seen heaters out there that have an automatic start when tempertures drop below freezing and I'm curious if any of you employ these devices. My boat is in a slip and there is nominal motion as it is in a very protected cove so movement is minimal. Any thoughts? And for the record, we're not talking any sort of 'old school' heater but one of the more modern, higher-safety devices. Thanks
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We keep a heater on board in the fall/winter months, same situation - sheltered marina no wash- and use proper wiring and outlets without any problems. We do check the boat at least twice a week as a rule. This year we also started using a decent dehumidifier, that has really worked out well for keeping the boat dryer in our typical 90%+ RH rainy season conditions.
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Old 11-18-2008
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Most marinas won't let you leave a heater plugged in for insurance reasons.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Most marinas won't let you leave a heater plugged in for insurance reasons.
Not our experience up here, SD. The major limitation on heaters in local marinas is typically a power usage limitation - as low as 250W in some cases, precluding the use of any serious heater.

However many other marinas (including ours) offer power up to 30 amps if you're willing to pay for it.
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Old 11-18-2008
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Quote:
My boat is in a slip and there is nominal motion as it is in a very protected cove so movement is minimal. Any thoughts? And for the record, we're not talking any sort of 'old school' heater but one of the more modern, higher-safety devices. Thanks
We typically have all the breakers, AC and DC, off while the boat is unattended. When the weather starts getting into the 20's, I worry more about freeze damage than I do electrical fires, so we turn on a small electric heater on the low setting.
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Round here most marinas won't let you leave power plugged into boats ON THE HARD. But in a slip they have no way of telling what you have going on inside the boat. Folks leave A/C's running all summer.

I suggest you leave the heater on a low setting and check the amperage draw to make sure it is well below the rating of the breaker. also check all the wires inside your panel to make sure there is nothing loose or cracked.
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I keep a heater on low in my boat in the winter and it has worked well to reduce mold etc. I use one with a low heat ceramic element and a tip switch. Keep in mind that 30 amp shore power is the standard in some marinas. Some owners in my area will plug their heaters into the shore power cord with an adapter, particularly if their boat is older and does not have it's own shore power system with proper breakers. A short in the heater may not trip the dock breaker and will turn the heater's cord into a filament, a mistake you will only make once.
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Old 11-18-2008
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We always kept a heater on for the winter months in our last boat, it was a permanent built-in and never had any problems, but we made sure the wiring was properly done before leaving it. Now with this boat I will be leaving a freeze protection heater on and when I am on the boat (several times a week) I turn it on to warm it up and dry it out.

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Old 11-18-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Most marinas won't let you leave a heater plugged in for insurance reasons.
Correction; many marinas won't let you leave an unapproved non-marine heater plugged in BECAUSE IT WILL BURN YOUR BOAT THEIR MARINA DOWN!!

Not "insurance purposes!!"
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NO

On Long Island at least in my area it is in every winter storage contract NO electric heat and for the most part no shorepower if your NOT there


Now if you go to a yard in Conn on the other side of the sound you can do a lot more and liveaborard is much less of a problem
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