Isn’t SW Florida in the Subtropics?

BBbbbbbrrrrr!!!!   With the rest of the US having a “warming trend” at least there’s hope.  But it’s chillier this morning than yesterday … and that was chilly when you live on a tropical boat with no heat, let alone ducted furnace.  Most days I miss our washing machine the most while we’re cruising, but this winter, I find myself missing the furnace.

The boat across the dock from us told us yesterday he had all three burners on his stove going full blast all day … and all night?  Now I’m worried that I’m going to hear a giant KABOOM!  I always choose to cook something that can simmer for awhile — like hours — for dinner to keep the heat coming, but leaving an open burner?  Once upon a time, we had a large clay flower pot that we inverted over a burner — it radiates heat, heating the cabin without open flames.  But somewhere along the way — in the true tropics — we seem to have misplaced the flowerpot.  Didn’t need it and it took up space.

Our little West Marine Heater

Our little West Marine Heater

Last year anchored in Factory Bay/Marco Island, we walked to West Marine (a few blocks away) and bought a little heater when the forecast took an unexpected dive.  Had we been somewhere else, we might have opted for a different, less expensive heater.  But in the “freeze” of the moment, it was available and works with our inverter (although not as effeciently as the packaging claims, why am I not surprised).  (The boat next to us in Factory Bay used a Mr Heater – here’s a post I did on the efficiency of our electric heater and the neighbor’s Mr Heater.)

So the little heater is busy pumping out warm air – but only during the day.  We have a fear of space heaters – probably left over from the old days when they’d tip over and burn down houses.  Even though this one can’t tip over and doesn’t seem like it could catch anything on fire, we’d rather not take that chance at night.

The trusty electric blanket ... too bad it's too small for two separate controls. But it's priceless!

The trusty electric blanket … too bad it’s too small for two separate controls. But it’s priceless!

Instead we use an electric blanket which has proven the space it takes is priceless.  We wouldn’t trade it for anything … well, maybe a boat with a heater on a few isolated nights, but other than that ….  The only problem is, I want it warmer than David and our little pullman berth isn’t big enough for one of those fancy electric blankets with two sets of controls.  Another boat told us they use an electric mattress pad — I hadn’t thought of that – and it could stay on year round, not taking up all the bulky room that the electric blanket takes up – although far be it from me to begrudge our electric blanket an inch of it’s bulky space requirements.  🙂

We’re staying warm … mostly … and if the sun would ever come out, our “greenhouse” sunroom surrounding the cockpit would help tremendously.  But we have two more days of no sun, so we’ll wait for the sunroom effect.

How do you keep warm when the weather takes an unexpected turn?  Please leave a comment and share!  Stay safe & warm!   Cheers — Jan



  1. Jan,

    We can certainly empathize with you! We spend 3 – 4 nights a week on Mystique as we continue making her ready for her sojourn to south Texas, our next port of call. Being land locked and frozen has put a grey grip on both of us to say the least… Sorry, back to how do we keep warm…. Mystique has dual reverse cycle ac/heat systems, however, we never use them in the winter. We use “two” West Marine heaters, one fore and aft. We also have the Mr. Heater, which we love to use in the evening as our “fireplace”. The only drawback is the little propane bottles emit water vapor which creates a lot of condensation, for some odd reason more than the Force 10… We sleep in the pullman with our fleeece and flannel sheets and blankets which is very cozy and warm.

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