The top 5 questions I've been asked about living on a boat are, in no particular order:
- Is it cold?
- Is it cramped for 2 people in there?
- How do you keep food cold/cook food/store enough food?
- How do you make energy?
- Where are you storing your stuff? OR Was it freeing to get rid of so much stuff?
I think the last of those questions is a tribute to how cool our friends and family are.
Let's start with "Is it cold in the winter?"
Mostly no, but sometimes yes.
While at the dock we have two space heaters. They keep the boat toasty until it gets about to freezing and then we often turn on our forced air diesel furnace for a bit in the evening before we go to bed.
In the past while "on vacation" and in the future while "in our normal life", we were/will not be not at a dock and thus not mainlined to the power grid. At those times, while sailing or at anchor we keep the diesel heat on when it is cold. It takes a small flow of diesel from our main diesel tank (usually used for the engine) and has a fan that blows the hot air out into the boat from two outlets, one foreward and one aft. The fan takes electricity which comes from our battery banks. Usually this keeps us nice and toasty and we find ourselves turning it down. However, when it is below freezing, this is just barely enough and we resort to layers.
Also, a boat is drafty. It is sitting in cold water with watertight hatches but lots of ventilation. When it is below freezing, you can be warm but then a draft of cold air will blow across you and you shiver.
I like to prepare guest for visiting by describing living on our boat as high end luxury camping. We have all of the amenities but there are definitely elements of roughing it.