I awoke one day this week to see 8 inches of new snow on the pilot house roof. We were supposed to get maybe a 1/2 inch at the most. Drat. We had just bought a new cruising guide to start planning for our two weeks off this summer and this late blast of winter put a damper on things.
I think winter is challenging for many liveaboards. Everybody on the dock is hunkered down inside their cozy boats and socializing is limited to mumbled “hellos” through scarves. Dinner parties break up the drudgery of the sun-starved days, but winter can be an isolating experience if you are not comfortable with quiet time with a book or enjoying a movie.
Winter boat living also creates condensation – lots of it. Introducing heat into a cold, uninsulated environment creates condensation inside the boat. There are various things that you can do to help decrease the amount of condensation and one of the most effective is circulating the air. Leaving a hatch open slightly and introducing a small fan can help reduce condensation. We took this one step further and installed a solar fan on one of our hatches. Placing Dry Bunk under sleeping areas and settee cushions provides the much needed buffer between cold surfaces and the warmth created from bodies.
A pre-winter prep is to move items away from the hull as much as possible. This also provides the opportunity to declutter the boat of any extraneous items collected over the previous 6 months.
Showering ashore and opening hatches when cooking also helps to decrease the amount of moist, hot air that you introduce to the boat. Larger boats sometimes use dehumidifiers, but our small boat cannot accommodate this big appliance.
When winter boat living loses its appeal, a visit to the community pool and hot tub will provide relief from camping on the water.