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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-04-2007 11:45 PM
Valiente If I was a coastal liveaboard, I would definitely have wood and hard coal in preference to diesel, but you've got to have the space and the tolerance for the inevitable cleaning up you'll have to do.

But access to the fuel is usually the deal-breaker here, and as we are heading offshore, it'll have to be diesel, I think.
04-04-2007 08:30 PM
mandovai A fireplace in the boat is a great thing. You don't get to imagine it until you see it and try it. I don't have experience of Alaska winters, but in New England autumn and New Zealand winters, it did work great on our boat. We have a Newport By Dickinson and burn mostly wood in it. Talking about the cost of the fuel, it is not an issue in our case: we burn drifting wood that we never failed to find in abundance along the shores. It is well dry, smells great and heats you for free. The only problem is that it contains salt and tends to leave rust stains in the heater...
Next boat we will stick to a solid heater fuel, but bigger, possibly in cast iron or thick aluminium with radiators for the cabins.
Anyway in case you winterize in a very cold place you will have to stick to a jetty or a marina. Except for Antarctica, but then you can bring coal!
03-08-2007 01:26 PM
miatapaul I am new to the whole thought of heat on a boat, as my old boat did not have it, but I only lived on it during the summer a spent winters at my parents house. My last house we had oil heat, but also with a wood stove. Wood if you have a source for it is actually much cheaper, normally free. Here in the North East you can get enough wood delivered, cut and split, for a whole season for around $200. I don't see doing that with diesel . Storage could be an issue for a boat but you should be able to rent a bit of space in the boat yard. I don't really plan on sailing once heating season arrives, as it will be iced up anyway. I was thinking that both an diesel and a solid fuel heater combo makes sense. You can run the wood when you are on board, and have the diesel as an option to keep the boat from freezing while at work.

To me in the day and age of uncertainty about oil prices and availability having options for heating works better for me. But I may just be a bit paranoid. Of course I am planning on making my own bio diesel for the boat in the summer.
01-18-2007 09:36 PM
svsirius I am also an advocate for a forced air central system over any of the bulkhead ones if you are living on the boat. The system does a very nice job of heating multiple areas rather than just a lot of heat in one area. This makes for a much more liveable situation. We installed a Webasto unit that is wonderful.
01-18-2007 07:08 PM
Goodnewsboy With all due respect, burning wood or coal aboard ship has been done for hundreds of years. Wood and charcoal stoves are available from reputable makers for even small vessels.

Solid fuel marine stoves and heaters that are designed to burn when the vessel is in motion have an enclosed firebox that contains the burning fuel.

Solid fuel and charcoal have a respectable heating value, and it is at least arguable that a piece of firewood that can be readily grasped and placed in a fireplace is actually less of a fire or explosion hazard than either liquid or gas fuel.

I have no opinion to offer regarding dust explosions, since I have never heard of one in this context.

BTW, most solid fuel heaters and fireplaces dissipate their heat output by natural convection and radiation and, properly located, can certainly operate without the assistance of a fan.

If you like solid fuel heat and can handle the high (?) price of the fuel, there is no rational reason that you ought not have it.
01-18-2007 07:42 AM
Originally Posted by sellkiffer
I have just got back from a sailing weekend on a friends 28 foot yacht, he has a solid fuel boat heater made of stainless steel. It has a heat exchanger on both sides of it and ducts hot air to the rest of the boat by a small computor size fan. There is also a small oven on the top which takes a pie or a few jacket potatoes. A small kettle stood on the top all weekend, so we had constant hot water for coffee. All weekend it kept alight with a constant cabin temp of between 21 and 24 degrees. It burned coal brickets and over the whole weekend we probably spent 2-3 in coal. Oh and we got soaked one day and dried out all our gear in a few hours.

His previous yacht had a smaller version which just warmed the main cabin.

I also knew of another 23 foot sailing yacht with a brilliant little solid fuel heater made from a CO2 bottle, which is the carbon dioxide gas dispencer for pubs.

Quite honestly I can't see any negatives except it is not instant heat, it takes about half an hour to get going. There is ash to dispose of which creates dust, but he has a small vaccume cleaner which easily clears the dust. You also need somewhere to keep the solid fuel and a stout leather glove.

The positives on a yacht are no battery drain and constant heat so all round winter sailing. They will also not fit in all boats.

The smell inside the boat is far better than diesel.


I don't see how it can be no-battery drain if it uses a small computer fan to blow air into air ducts... doesn't the fan require electricity, or do you have some new technology that makes fans run without needing electricity???

Solid fuels are lower energy density and higher cost per BTU than liquid fuels. They also can be a storage hazard, and the dust can be an explosion hazard.
01-18-2007 03:51 AM
Culinary411 Couple questions for you wood burners out there....I love the idea....however, while sailing how do you keep burning wood from shifting in the heater/stove....also...the amount of wood you need must take up quite a bit of does the heat output per space taken up compare to kerosene?? Personally I use an electric heater. I'm happy with it, however, I have to run the engine or use shore power as it drains quite a bit.
01-06-2007 11:28 AM
TrueBlue What a very odd notion. Putting a solid fuel heater on a boat is analogous to installing a wood or coal-fired furnace in the basement of your home - archaic to say the least.

Perhaps we take for granted the practicality, convenience and effciency of our Espar - forced warm air, diesel system. But, when the temperature reaches uncomfortably cool levels on our boat, that bulkhead mounted thermostat, is a wonderful thing.
01-06-2007 11:05 AM
sailingdog One thing I'd point out though is that liquid fuels are easier to deal with and often far more cost-effective. Diesel and propane are both going to have far more BTUs for the buck than wood or charcoal. The fuel is also far more compact and easier to store.
01-01-2007 12:48 AM
Goodnewsboy Hi Seagypsywoman (If you are still there.):

I agree there's nothing like a shipboard fireplace or heater fuelled by wood or charcoal. Smells good and it is warm. If you have to have a Charlie Noble anyway, you may as well have what you like.

Here are links to some of the available products.
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