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CapnBones 09-28-2012 07:46 AM

Heating Your Boat
I am moving on to my boat here in the next couple weeks, need to square some painting and finishing touches up on the interior first, but it is getting colder. I am generally going to be at the dock before I head south in November and I use a little 110v space heater to ward off the chill. I can't use this when I am away from the dock, and I don't know how cold the trip South is going to be, but I would like to be comfortable if it gets too cold.

How do you guys that heat your boats heat your boats? Is it hard to install a heater, and what kind to get? The boat is a diesel, has 2 burner Origo non pressurized stove. I wouldn't want to put propane on so that is not an option. Just looking for thoughts or what others have done. Also lets assume that money is real tight so the cheapest options are encouraged:D

sailak 09-28-2012 08:02 AM

Re: Heating Your Boat
Both of my boats have had Espar forced-air diesel heaters. They work well. Convienient in that you just turn them on and adjust output with a thermostat. For me a downside is that they are forced air -- I don't care for the hot air blowing on me...but then again on the current boat there is a duct into the head and with the door closed makes a nice drying room for foulies.

Installation of the heater itself is pretty straightforward but routing the ductwork can be a challenge.

I bought a new D4 this spring and spent around $1800 for the heater, exhaust tubing, insulation sock and digital thermostat (I used the existing ductwork from the previous Espar installation).

Some friends have a Dickinson diesel burning "fireplace" type stove. Makes for a very cozy boat, no ductwork required but you have a hot stove that could be a hazard.

misfits 09-28-2012 08:23 AM

Re: Heating Your Boat
One idea that I've considered during the rebuild of our boat which is unconventional is to run a heat loop off the hot water heater. A small 12 volt blower w/ a hot water coil or a home style kick space heater would do the trick if you had an inverter. In your case being tied to a dock, shoreside power will heat the water. When you're on the move heading south, the motor will heat the water.

From an energy point of view, this would work during the shoulder months but would be impractical if you were a live aboard in the northern climates.

mikel1 09-28-2012 08:55 AM

Re: Heating Your Boat
Why no mention here of the small propane (canister) catalytic camping heaters? . . .If they're safe in a tent . . .? Flameless etc. . . .

BluemanSailor 09-28-2012 09:01 AM

Re: Heating Your Boat
I second the forced-air diesel heaters, had a Webasto on my last boat hope to get another one for my present boat. Pretty easy installation, worked great and I was a live-aboard in Philly for 2 years -pretty cold winters, even when the power went out in the marine I had heat!

CapnBones 09-28-2012 09:04 AM

Re: Heating Your Boat

Makes for a very cozy boat, no ductwork required but you have a hot stove that could be a hazard.
Haha my life is a hazard. I was thinking to go with that style in a bulkhead mount. For the price and how often I would be using it, I may be able to get away with the solid fuel heater, simplistic. The site claims that they are efficient and only need a small amount of fuel to heat, I would just hate to have to use a bunch of space for wood or charcoal, or whatever I am burning. It seems like there are a lot of parts required to be added for the diesel type now that I look into it.

I thought about putting a little 12v fan to just blow from the engine compartment if I am running it to take some of that heat, plus it would keep it that much cooler, but then the boat would smell like engine, but an option nonetheless. I am getting rid of my hot water heater, though I see dickinson has a neat loop through their heater that could be hooked up.

misfits 09-28-2012 09:14 AM

Re: Heating Your Boat
If you're going bulkhead, throw a propane tank on the stern rail & use one of those $400
heaters. They're not very efficient but they vent w/ 1" pipe instead of a 3" pipe that's required for the solid fuel or diesel heaters. The vent also has a lower profile thru the deck.

You did say "cheapest options" in your post so I ruled the espar/webasto out of the equation...

CapnBones 09-28-2012 09:20 AM

Re: Heating Your Boat
I am seeing some of the webasto/espar setups on e-bay for $500-$600 and wow they look small and easy, with the exception of the duct work though my boat is setup where it wouldn't be too hard. I figure it is all a trade off, I want radar and an auto pilot to make my life easier... when it gets cold maybe I will want the heat more than the other stuff.

Svenchantress 09-28-2012 09:36 AM

Re: Heating Your Boat
You don't say how large you boat is but judging from the photo I am guessing 32 to 34 feet? If so, there is a portable Mr. Buddy heater that uses the disposable small propane green bottles that you would use on a boat grill. The smaller one puts out about 5,000 btu and the larger model significantly more. They are safe but unvented so you keep the hatch open an inch or so for ventilation and DON'T go to sleep with it on! Wool blankets are for when you go to sleep. ;-)

These heaters are available at camping stores, Ace Hardware, online, etc. Lots of liveaboard/full-time cruisers use them here in Florida. Get south as early as you can! (GRIN)

misfits 09-28-2012 09:45 AM

Re: Heating Your Boat

Originally Posted by CapnBones (Post 927575)
I am seeing some of the webasto/espar setups on e-bay for $500-$600

Most tractor trailers have these heaters for downtime heat so if they're on e-bay, they've probably been parted out from tractor trailers. You need to be sure it's the whole kit, fuel pump, tstat, etc.

Good luck w/ whatever you decide!

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