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Tartan 28
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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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Telstar 28
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Most marinas won't let you leave a heater plugged in for insurance reasons.
 

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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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the pointy end is the bow
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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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Courtney the Dancer
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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.

John
 

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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 :confused:
 

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I use a "goldenrod" in the engine compartment and a 1000 Watt heater on the lowest setting for the cabin. Together I think the current draw is about 400 Watts when the heater is running, about 4 amps.
I put the heater on top of the stove so that there isn't anything flammable near it just in case. Also don't put it anywhere it is possible to get dripped on, or run the cord over cushions or curtains. I use the closest outlet to the AC breaker panel to minimize the amount of boat wire in use again just in case... Last year I discovered the AC wiring had been connected with acorn nuts and taped up in a ball. It was hot to the touch when I discovered it. Lesson learned. If you leave one on just make sure all your wiring and shore power connectors are in good shape.
 

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Telstar 28
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Up here in New England, most marinas won't let you leave a boat plugged in regardless of whether it is a marinized heater or not... Just doesn't happen. The reason is that in most boat yards, the boats are so close together that if one catches fire, you'll easily lose four or more boats to a fire.
 

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Seasoned Salt
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Check your connections. Are the plugs warm? Very warm?? Hot??!!

Plugs are a weak link. If the plug is very warm or hot there is a poor connection. Lots of trouble starts at such points due to heat caused by the resistence in the connection. Check the blades and clean if necessary, same on the recessed blades in the sockets.

Even proper 30A 3 prong twist plugs can get hot enough to burn if the connection is poor enough while the current draw is high enough.

All that attended to, good heaters can be left on if set thoughtfully, with due consideration. I never leave them going full blast, nor where anything can fall down in front of them. And I mostly use the Pelonis heavy duty cube ceramics which never get hot enough to ignite anything though they put out gobs of warm air.

Thinking back to my first liveaboard winters, 30 yrs ago, it is amazing we never caught fire. But after 3 yrs we moved ashore again and the next year a former neighbor had his luck run out. Space heater technology has come a long way since then.
 

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I second the question about reverse-cycle heat. My boat is new to me, and my 1st with A/C. I really enjoyed the built-in AC over the summer, but have some concern about whether it is a good thing to run the heat over the winter, primarily due to humidity issues. If anyone could chime in on this, I would really appreciate it.
 
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