I hear this question several times a week from random co-workers, neighbors, marina staff, friends and various family members.
Another popular variation is: "So you live on a boat right? Isn't it, like, cold?"
Yes, yes it is.
"So what do you, like, do?"
The same thing you probably do -- I turn on the heat! I have two of these West Marine brand portable cabin heaters. I rarely use two, but every occasionally I get home late and it's cold. I also have a paranoia of breaking on in the middle of the night when it's 20 degrees out and freezing to death. Not like my parents live just 20 minutes away or anything. In the winter, my electricity bill runs about $130 a month for those who are curious. In summer, when I don't need a heater and the light lasts longer, it runs about $15 a month.
They retail for about $72, but you can usually find a $10-off coupon or a sale on these when it starts to get cold out.
The liveaboards I met last winter used traditional space heaters, but I have a paranoia about those as well. I have visions of them falling over and creating a fire in my beloved home. Fire aboard is one liveaboard experience I do not care to have. My little heater sits flat to the floor and could not possibly tip over. And I try to keep things off of the tables around it so that nothing falls in and burns. Starting a much-dreaded fire.
I blame my dad, by the way, for my fire paranoia. But in this case, I think it may be a healthy paranoia. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2009 there were 5 deaths, approximately 130 injuries and more than $12,557,513 in damages from boat related fires in the United States.Youch!
I also, some of you longtime readers may remember, have an electric blanket that my parents' dog (you remember my father's secretary?) got me for Christmas last year. It is my favorite thing for banishing the cold quickly. Especially now that I work from home two days a week.
Add that to a nice warm waterproof winter coat, ski pants, Gore Tex gloves and snow boots, and I'm prepared to tackle just about any boat-related chore around.
Mind you, that doesn't mean I won't bitch about how cold it is from time to time. And it doesn't mean I won't impotently threaten to move into an apartment.
So, yes. It's gettin' cold on the boat. But this girl is prepared...