Some boaters only want to hit the water when it’s warm and sunny outside. That’s fine, but boating during the off-season can be a pleasurable and rewarding experience too! With that said, without the right precautions, it can be an extremely cold and damp experience, which is far from appealing for a mid-winter cruise. Additionally, if you live on your boat full-time, you’ll inevitably experience some winter weather woes.
There are, however, plenty of strategies you can use to stay warm on your boat, some of which are applicable to the warm months, too! Temperatures on the water are always several degrees colder than on shore, after all, so it’s smart to have some ways to keep yourself and your passengers warm no matter what it’s like outside your boat.
This guide to staying warm while boating in the off-season is presented to you by Bretz RV & Marine. Our dealership is in Missoula, Montana, so come to us with any further questions you might have!
Layer Your Clothes
Onshore, you’re likely accustomed to simply turning up the heater when it’s cold instead of going around your house wrapped up in sweaters. This isn’t as feasible on a boat, as even a portable heater probably won’t provide you with enough heat to keep you as warm as you’d like. Combat the cold by layering up, but be strategic about how you do it.
A wicking layer for your base that will draw sweat away from your body is ideal so that moisture doesn’t stick to your skin and make you colder. A light and insulating layer can be your next step, which might be a wool sweater or a fleece jacket. A heavier fleece coat or thick fisherman’s wool sweater can go on top of that. For venturing outside your cabin, you’ll need a waterproof outer layer.
Wear insulated gloves, a snug-fitting wool or synthetic cap and thick wool socks under waterproof boots to finish your ensemble. The layering strategy will keep you from overheating since you can easily add or remove layers as desired. It also keeps you warmer than one thick coat over your street clothes would.
Small electric heaters or radiators are a good way to keep a little cabin warm, although their heat likely won’t pervade far. You’ll want to make sure you get one that can stay up in tumultuous conditions, or one that will shut off if it tips over. Also, be sure to check your wiring and electrical system first to see whether your boat can handle plugging in a heater. A carbon monoxide detector should always be on your boat, but particularly so when you’re using electric heaters.
Candles, while inviting and warm in your home, are an absolute no-go for your seafaring vessel. They simply create too much of a fire hazard due to being in a confined space that isn’t always steady. You don’t want a rogue wave to send your pillar toppling to the floor and setting everything alight!
Instead, try the old-fashioned means of lighting your way: oil lamps. Filled with clean-burning lamp oil, these will add an old-world charm to your boat as well as some extra heat thanks to the flames. They can hang up securely out of the way, too!
If your boat is equipped with a galley, make use of it in cold weather! Using the stove and oven to cook will generate ambient heat that warms up your cabin and keeps you and your passengers warmer. Baking some cookies or a casserole will also generate some delicious, comforting aromas. You can even save money by preparing your meals on your boat instead of always going onshore to find a dockside restaurant. Make sure that you never leave any cooking food unattended, even briefly. If you have to leave your boat, appliances all need to be turned off.
Now you know how to keep everyone warm when you’re on a marine adventure! Still need the vessel for your off-season cruising or sailing? Visit our dealership in Missoula to see our selection of new and used boats for sale! Bretz RV & Marine proudly serves the cities of Kalispell and Helena, Montana.