Preparing for the Seasons

August 2019 Feature Jane Willow Web Exclusive

It might be hot now, but this is the best time of year to prepare your houseboat for winter. Knowing how best to stay warm on your houseboat during the winter months is definitely something that comes with experience, luckily for any of you that may be new to houseboat living, there is a lot of information online that can help you prepare and get you started. So whether you’re a seasoned houseboat veteran or you are spending your first winter aboard this year, then the following tips and tricks can help ensure that you stay warm and snuggly over the colder winter months.

Get a few heaters

Investing in some heaters is a must, but there are a few guidelines to follow to make sure that you purchase the right ones. The safest and most effective heater for your boat is a reverse cycle electric or gravity-fed diesel heater, with one or two of these on you will feel toasty in no time

To avoid the risk of fire when it comes to electric heaters make sure you buy one with a safety function, for example a heater that would turn off if it toppled over for any reason. If you have a little extra money to spend you could also consider a wood burner or a ventless fireplace place which would be a great option in the long-term.

If you plan to run several electric heaters remember that you may need another shore power connection, and if you are going for a diesel one, make sure that you keep monitoring your fuel tank so it doesn’t run out.

Oil lamps

As candles can be a huge hazard for boats you should consider buying an oil lamp instead which will give  you both heat and light in a soft warm glow which is bound to make you feel nice and cosy. If you can find a traditional old trawler lamp then this would be a great option, providing both heat and light without depleting your battery bank or fuel tank. To ensure that they are soot and smell free you should use a good quality smokeless lamp oil.

Use that stove!

Having the stove on when cooking or baking can generate a great deal of extra warmth that will help add to the warmth during the winter months. Baking cookies or cakes, making homemade mulled wine or spiced cider or cooking a winter stew will waft some lovely comforting and familiar smells through your house boat too. So rather than eating out in the cold, get the heaters going, fire up the stove, invite some friends round for dinner for some extra body heat, and things are sure to hot up in no time!

Other ideas to consider

You can buy water bubbling systems that work by transferring kinetic energy to the water which will agitate it and keep it moving, this will help prevent ice from forming and keep your houseboat from freezing. 

Another commonly used method to help you stay warm and dry during the winter is ‘shrink wrapping’. Using clear plastic shrink wrap around the entrance and exterior walls will help reduce heat loss, as well as help avoid a build-up of rain and snow on the houseboat. 

Finally, making sure that you have a reliable generator is a must in the event of a power loss to help prevent any freeze damage.

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