In recent years the idea of living on a boat has become increasingly popular, due in part to rising house prices and the yearning for a more ‘community’ based lifestyle. However, for some people, the winter season can bring about doubts, and pervasive winter boating myths, as most people worry about protecting their boats from the ice and snow or keeping warm. Unfortunately, not everyone understands the difference between myths and simply taking the proper precautions to protect your boat and live safely on the water. With this in mind, here are our top 6 myth busting tips for surviving winter season with a boat.
Myth 1: You only need to cover your boat during the winter season
When you’re not in your boat, you’ll want to protect it from any harsh weather conditions. The use of boat covers is popular during the winter months, especially in areas that experience ice and snow. However, many mistakenly believe this is the only time boats need to be covered. Boat covers should be used in other seasons throughout the year. This is particularly important for those who leave their boat unattended for long periods of time. In the same way the cover will protect the boat from snow, they can also protect your boat from sun, heat, rain or harsh winds in other months. During summer, the sun is especially damaging for boats, as it can cause paint to wear faster than expected. When using a boat cover in the summer, make sure to leave proper ventilation and use breathable materials that won’t trap the heat.
Myth 2: A boat isn’t safe in a mooring during the winter
Every marina is somewhat different with the amenities it offers, but all marinas should offer a variety of security options to make sure you and your property are looked after. A good place to use as an example is Sawley Marina, which offers secure storage facilities at some of the mooring sites, CCTV, security gates and a 24-hour emergency call out.
No matter the marina, all boat moorings are subject to only one important factor, the weather. The only issue you should be worried about is that your boat tackle is secure. Even in the harshest weather, the boat will ride out the waves without encountering another boat or the dock.
Myth 3: Boats are damp and cold during the winter
One of the most frequent concerns, is the difference in temperature between the inside and outside of the boat, which will eventually cause damp and condensation. Fortunately, there is no difference between a boat and any other house. Modern boats since the 1980’s have been built with high standard insulation to keep the internal boat temperature higher; plus, small places can heat up quickly if properly maintained. You can combat colder temperatures by installing a wood burner, back-up generator or solar panels (or both) and insulating single pane windows with either temporary plastic sheeting or a more durable removable plastic pane.
Myth 4: The pipes will freeze
Being a responsible owner who takes care of their boat, ideally you will apply electrical heating tape to the pipes, this is a relatively standard practice amongst those that live aboard full time. This means the pipes are insulated to help fight against low temperatures, so no winter winds, ice or snow should have any negative effect on the boats piping system
Myth 5: The boat will be dark during the winter
Whilst there may not be as much sunlight hours in the wintertime, this doesn’t necessarily mean your boat will be dark. Some boat owners like to create cosy atmospheres in the evening with dimmed lighting. But, with proper boat lighting, you’ll be able to light up your boat as much as you desire over the winter period.
Myth 6: There’s too much involved in maintaining a boat in the winter
If you have a modern boat, there is very little maintenance required, if you happen to have an older boat, then basic precautionary measures will often fix any minor issues you might have. Much like maintaining and looking after a car in the winter, remember to fill the boat up with oil, fuel and fluids and grease or insulate anything that needs it.
Be sure to get organised before the winter season arrives by making sure your boat has had a recent oil change and is cleaned thoroughly. Stock pile wood, kindling and whichever preferred solid fuel type you use for a wood burner or stove and if you have the room, store items that could fail on you, such as connectors, fire bricks and small parts. This way you will always be prepared when the temperatures drop.
Living on a boat is anything but boring, the thrill of the journey and the tranquillity of the surrounding are unsurpassed. It is a great experience and can offer fun filled activities for all family members. A few simple steps of preparation can set you up for a whole seasons worth of comfortable living and provide a myth busting winter for you.