Cabin heaters?? on small boats - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 4 Old 12-23-2002 Thread Starter
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Cabin heaters?? on small boats

I now have a 25 C&C and want to heat the cabin for cold spring and fall days any ideas? I don''t have propane on board and would like to keep it that way. what are other people using? Bulkhead mount? I would like to keep the deck hight of the stack down
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post #2 of 4 Old 12-23-2002
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Cabin heaters?? on small boats


Do you need heat on the hook? And do you want the cabin heated on occasion while you snooze aboard? If so, vented heat from a combustion-type source is your only option.

I''d recommend you consider a Force 10 diesel/kerosene heater. 5000 BTU''s (plenty for your C&C), reasonable in cost, simple in operation, with a Charlie Noble that only sticks up a few inches on deck using stock 1" OD piping and comes with its own protective guard. It would require you to carry kerosene (more BTUs), about 1 gal/day of full-time use. It ''should'' eliminate any CO build-up in the cabin but, if using it at night, you might want to consider a CO monitor, too.

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post #3 of 4 Old 12-23-2002
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Cabin heaters?? on small boats

Depends on what you consider cold. I lived aboard my C22 in New England, year round with a Force 10 Cozy Cabin heater. I tried both the oil burner style and a propane burner. I liked the propane burner better but for short term heating, the oil burner worked just as well.

It''s a little bit of work to install the oil tank in an out of the way yet accessible place. I mounted mine in a settee locker. Lighting it up was a bit of a process, having to pump the tank with a bicycle pump and pre-heating the burner and all. Then was the roar the thing madeÖ

I wouldnít leave the boat untended while itís running. The patria burner can foul itself unexpectedly and require tending before the burner cools off. Iíve come home to finding the inside of my boat painted black with soot because this had happened. Iíd also recommend carrying a spare burner and/or a rebuild kit as the cleaning tip needs periodical replacement and the entire burner can even clog up.

The Force 10 will take the chill off but donít expect its 6000 BTUs to blast you out of the cabin. Itís vent cap mounts directly to the cabin top and stands only about 1 inch proud of the deck. It mounts to a bulkhead with 4 bolts and really needs no heat reflective backing. It uses only a 1-inch flue pipe, but donít mistake it for a hand rail!
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post #4 of 4 Old 12-23-2002
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Cabin heaters?? on small boats

I have been looking into heaters for my new boat too. I have always been concerned about bulkhead mounted heaters on a small boat because of the risk of someone falling on it and getting burned.

Propane never seemed like a reasonable fuel since it would take a big tank to heat the boat for a weekend. Diesel contains a lot of BTUs/gallon

Im trying to decide between diesel fired forced air heaters and hot water recirculating heaters. I think for a boat the size of yours the smalles of the forced air heaters would probably be the appropriate choice. The brands I have found are Espar, Wallas (, and Webasto (

The Wallas systems looked attractive because they use less electricity than the others but they are larger. the Webasto is about the size of a small car muffler and appears to be able to be mounted wherever you can find the room.

One of the major advantages of these heaters is that they can be mounted outside the livingspace on the boat and CO would be less of a worry. I would still get a CO monitor.

You can put one of these heaters in the lazerette and run a single duct to your cabin. You run the exhaust out the other way. It does not have to go through a stack on the deck. I have seen boats where the heater exhaust goes out through the transom just like the engine exhaust.

These heaters are much more expensive than the dickerson and force 10 options but they have much greater output amd are reported to be less fussy to keep working. Any of the small forced air heaters could probably keep your boat pretty warm.

FOr my boat Im leaning toward the recirculating water type because it can also be routed through the water heater to make hot water at anchor. Its also easier to run the automotive type heater hose through a boat than 4" flexible ducting.

One thing I did notice when checking out the heater on a friends boat is that the pump that is used to feed the heater is very loud and I would find that sort of intermitant noise difficult to live with at night. I think a "day tank" near the heater is probably the solution I will go with.
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