Staying Warm Underway

By Tom Neale, 12/15/2006

Staying Warm Underway

1. We’ve found that our complete cockpit enclosure is invaluable for keeping us warm on cold days. When the sun is out, it acts as a green house, heating itself even on very cold days.

2. If it’s cloudy, we sometimes put a small electric space heater in the cockpit, running from our generator. (Be very careful with these. Be sure they’re safe and approved for use aboard. Features such as tip over kill switches are important. NEVER leave them unattended.) Just keeping the cockpit hatch open allows some of the warmer air below to rise up to make life better in the enclosure, especially when under power.

3. If you have a cockpit enclosure make sure it’s made by a well qualified shop so that it’s safely done. Consider things like quick access to the deck, winches, and other components.

4. An electric crock pot (one that’s small enough to run off an inverter) or an inverted clay flower pot heated on a propane galley stove (keep an eye on it for overheating) emits a considerable amount of warmth. Neither of these require running a generator.

5. Cooking when underway helps. Bake bread or a cake or slow-cook stew or soup.

6. Decks can quickly become slippery, just from a little spray or melted water. Cold hands become numb. They are less agile when in gloves. All this means it’s easier than you might think to go overboard.

7. Warm clothes and gloves are obviously needed, but always consider and prepare for what would happen if you fall over in clothing like this. It’s better to have float jackets and/or other equipment that will save you.

8. Hypothermia sets in very quickly when you go over in cold water. You probably won’t have time to remove winter coats etc before you loose energy and ability.

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Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale