Is It Cold Living On a Narrowboat In Winter

A recurring theme when we inform people we live all year round aboard Areandare, is to ask “Is it cold living in a boat in winter?” Our occasional smart retort is “Is it cold living in a house in winter?” Because really, when you think about it, it’s a ridiculous question.

Or maybe that’s unfair. I guess people are just interested and don’t know. They’ve possibly never been on a narrowboat in the winter. Or have only hired boats with limited heating on board.

We British have a penchant for discussing the vagaries of the weather. I’m not sure it’s a positive quality, definitely not something to boast about. But it is a well-known one worldwide.

Probably because it’s so unpredictable! Just ask Michael Fish about his 1987 disastrously incorrect weather forecast …

Heating Areandare

We have two forms of heating on our narrowboat. A ‘Webasto‘ central heating system, with diesel-filled radiators in every room. Very like the ‘central heating’ in most British houses. The switch to turn this on is at the bottom of our bed. So if it’s cold in the morning, we can put it on before we get out of bed. This also heats the water so we can have a warm shower. Of course, we have to have enough diesel for this to work …

In 2014 we had a ‘multi-fuel’ stove fitted, removing one corner of cupboards as heating is more important than storage! When that is lit, it is very cosy on board. We can even cook on top of it. Baked potatoes are a great thing to do when we’re travelling with the fire on.

Keeping The Space Warm

We’ve recently had a spot of snow across the UK. Which certainly made it cold outside. And in the winter of 2017/18, we experienced a surprising amount of the white cold stuff (check out this post from last January).

There have been occasions when we’ve been working seven days a week at Calendar Club in Lichfield, that the multi-fuel stove has gone out. Coming back to the boat we can categorically state that YES, it’s cold on the boat then. But it soon warms up once the fire is lit.

Some boaters choose a diesel stove, which they light in late autumn/early winter, and keep it running 24/7 so long as there is diesel. I believe you can maintain this at a constant temperature.

It’s only a small space to heat after all. And we’ve got our fabulous Valiant Fan to waft the warm air through the living space too, which helps. Oh, and the luxury of an electric blanket on the bed of course! 

NB Areandare Hopwas December 2017
NB Areandare in the snow, Hopwas December 2017

We welcomed a couple of guests on board for five nights in early 2018, who discovered how cosy it can be. In fact, when they returned to land to live with family, they decided it was far warmer on the boat! Here we are enjoying a game of Six-Handed-Rummy with Mairead and Kelly from NZ in the depths of winter. Barry is in a short-sleeved T-shirt, it’s so cosy!

So Is It Cold Living On A Narrowboat In Winter?

I’d have to categorically say no – so long as you have a well-insulated boat, and forms of heating.

6 thoughts on “Is It Cold Living On a Narrowboat In Winter

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on Thriving And Surviving As Liveaboards In Winter ~ Barry & Sandra's Adventures

  2. Pingback: Thoughts on Thriving And Surviving As Liveaboards In Winter | Adventures Aboard AreandAre

  3. I always told enquirers that if you see anyone in shorts and t-shirt on the canal path in winter, you can guarantee they live on a narrow boat!

    • Lol love it! We often strip down to T-shirts when it gets too hot. Whereas when staying in houses we take extra layers 😂

  4. It was definetly toasting on your lovely floating home. The small fire kick out a good amount if heat.
    Thanks so much for having us. Fond memories for us to remember

    • It was an absolute pleasure Kelly. Wonderful to meet Mairead and spend time with you both aboard our floating home. Hope you get to travel safely home to Aotearoa very soon. Arohanui xx

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