Toms Tips for Stoves Aboard

By Tom Neale, 1/22/2009

  1. I’ve spoken of a wood burning stove. It sounds wonderful, and it was. But any time you use such a heat source on your boat—or any other heat source, it’s of life and death importance to get one that was specifically designed to be used aboard your type of boat and to install and use it carefully and properly.

  2. For example, the chimney for this stove had to be not only well insulated as it passed through the deck, but it had to be tall enough so that there would be no wind deflection from the cockpit enclosure that would cause back draft and so that no sparks would fall to the boat. We also had to be sure plenty of air came into the boat.

  3. We also had a stainless hearth, covered by ceramic tile, to protect the boat’s deck should embers fall out.

  4. We all have heard about carbon monoxide poisoning, but its dangers, particularly for those of us on boats, can’t be repeated too often.  Whether you have a stove or other heating device, keep monitors appropriately placed, well maintained, and batteries fresh. And ventilate safely.

  5. As magical as snow on the water can be, ALWAYS be sure you’re in a safe harbor or dock when it happens.