Backyard Liveaboard

Jules

Super Anarchist
8,584
3,393
Punta Gorda
Hurricane Ian has "given us the opportunity" to become liveaboards. Restoring power to the area could be a month away. So we are looking at living on the boat at our dock and trying to have some semblance of a normal life.

As it's been a while since I've been on the hook so I need some help here. We'll be using the boat's frige during "our stay" and will have to use the engine to charge up the batteries. Is running the engine an hour/day a reasonable expectation? We may not be able to get fuel for a while and need to make whatever fuel we have last.
 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,796
3,065
Edgewater, MD
All of my family except for my parents are in Cape Coral and Ft. Myers. How in the hell did your boat survive?
Well, whatever luck you had, good for you. Glad you're safe.

How long you'll need to run the engine kind of depends on your house battery bank setup. The larger it is, the longer you'll have to motor. To be perfectly honest, a quick and dirty solar panel setup would probably serve you better.

You get yourself one of these:


and one of these:


That's it. Just put the panel on the cabin top and move it around as necessary to keep it fully exposed to the sun.
 

kinardly

Super Anarchist
I always planned to use our boat as our emergency survival plan in the event of a devastating earthquake although lately I’ve taken to keeping the water and fuel tanks filled with just the minimum. Maybe we ought to go back to keeping them all topped up. Hmmm….
 

IStream

Super Anarchist
10,861
3,041
You would be wrong. We were both sick as dogs at the time and we were hearing max winds maybe 60-70. So we wrapped them. I shouldn't saw "we" cuz I couldn't get out of bed. Somehow the boat, and sails, survived.
So glad to hear you and your boat got through it all. I'd assume, roughly, about 30-50% of your normal motoring fuel economy. If you normally burn 1 gal/hr underway, plan on 0.3-0.5 gal/hr just to charge the batteries. If you charge for an hour a day, you can estimate how many days you'll get out of what fuel you have. Recalculate as soon as you get to the boat and have real-world data. If you can somehow get your hands on even on 5 gallon jerry can full of diesel, it could make a huge difference in your staying power but I'll second Ajax's recommendation of a quick-and-dirty solar install with the biggest panel(s) you can get, thrown anywhere on deck.
 

steele

Super Anarchist
1,730
229
Land of the locks
I have the solar set up described by Ajax but with a smaller 110w panel I deploy on deck part time. It will run my boat's 12v fridge with some power to spare to top off the batteries to allow the fridge to work through the night. This is in the PNW where the fridge does not have to work as hard as yours, but the sun is much less reliable.
 

Panope

Super Anarchist
1,465
632
Port Townsend, WA
In a pinch, small(ish) solar panels can be connected to the batteries directly (no controller). Just keep an eye on voltage and disconnect when(if) the batteries are full(ish).
 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
9,685
5,635
Canada
Sorry you were hit. But a boat is a great escape shelter compared to living in a FEMA trailer.

Yes running the engine just a tick over idle about 1 hr / day is typical. Really depends on how big the box is, how well insulated, how hot it is, etc etc.

I second the idea of about a 100 W solar panel + controller. Just tie it across the stern pulpit for now.
 

Raz'r

Super Anarchist
62,280
5,484
De Nile
my ice box is not well insulated, but in the tropics(Hawaii), that 1 flexible solar panel from Amazon kept the icebox cool (not frozen) and provided all the lighting, etc needed for the boat. Only other loads were a couple LED lights and a couple small 12v fans.
 

dfw_sailor

Super Anarchist
1,473
608
DFW
Hurricane Ian has "given us the opportunity" to become liveaboards. Restoring power to the area could be a month away. So we are looking at living on the boat at our dock and trying to have some semblance of a normal life.

As it's been a while since I've been on the hook so I need some help here. We'll be using the boat's frige during "our stay" and will have to use the engine to charge up the batteries. Is running the engine an hour/day a reasonable expectation? We may not be able to get fuel for a while and need to make whatever fuel we have last.
If you can get one, a wen 2200w generator. Not too thirsty ( it is gas though). About $300- 400. About 52 DB at half load. Plus an adaptor cord, standard male 110v to female marine socket.

We do this so we can choose choice of shore power (110v or generator), choice of 110v source via selector between 1200w inverter or shore).

Also charge from solar.

Or 5.6k btu AC pulls 600w, generator very happy. Then when medium sized domestic freezer kicks in hard, the generator goes to about 75%.

I'm assuming you won't get too cold. We have a diesel heater for when we need, we don't use electric for heat.
 

SloopJonB

Super Anarchist
68,692
12,353
Great Wet North
All these suggestions for gas powered stuff, having things delivered and so forth seem a bit Alice in Wonderland - the whole area is devastated, gas station tanks full of water, no communications, roads blocked etc.

Jules said it was going to be days before she could even get in to check her place and you think Amazon is going to be delivering solar panels?
 

Blue Crab

benthivore
16,182
2,603
Outer Banks
Or 5.6k btu AC pulls 600w, generator very happy. Then when medium sized domestic freezer kicks in hard, the generator goes to about 75%.

I'm assuming you won't get too cold. We have a diesel heater for when we need, we don't use electric for heat.
That's good to hear what 2200 gets you.

a diesel heater in TX is unusual but nice.
 

LakeBoy

Random Internet Guy
All these suggestions for gas powered stuff, having things delivered and so forth seem a bit Alice in Wonderland - the whole area is devastated, gas station tanks full of water, no communications, roads blocked etc.

Jules said it was going to be days before she could even get in to check her place and you think Amazon is going to be delivering solar panels?
Yeah, I was just thinking along these lines as well. Will have to source outside the disaster area and have delivered out it as well before returning.
 

Jules

Super Anarchist
8,584
3,393
Punta Gorda
All these suggestions for gas powered stuff, having things delivered and so forth seem a bit Alice in Wonderland - the whole area is devastated, gas station tanks full of water, no communications, roads blocked etc.

Jules said it was going to be days before she could even get in to check her place and you think Amazon is going to be delivering solar panels?
I can't fault them. It's hard to imagine one day everything is normal and the next you're on Mars. Even for me, knowing what I now know, this seems surreal.

As for Amazon, it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see their trucks rolling through the streets. Anyone with access to the Internet is going to do anything to get necessary supplies. For Bezos, this is a goldmine.
 

IStream

Super Anarchist
10,861
3,041
It's not that far to fully serviced geographies and if the roads were good enough to get in, they're good enough to get out and getting better every day. I don't think it's that implausible that someone could hole up on their boat for a couple of days, get an order placed for delivery to a friend or something 100 miles away, and drive out to get it and bring it back, along with a few jerry cans of fuel so they're better able to hunker down until electrical and other services are restored.
 

Blue Crab

benthivore
16,182
2,603
Outer Banks
It's not that far to fully serviced geographies and if the roads were good enough to get in, they're good enough to get out and getting better every day. I don't think it's that implausible that someone could hole up on their boat for a couple of days, get an order placed for delivery to a friend or something 100 miles away, and drive out to get it and bring it back, along with a few jerry cans of fuel so they're better able to hunker down until electrical and other services are restored.
Not at all.
 

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