Only the guy who isn't rowing has time to rock the boat.
-Jean-Paul Sartre --French existentialist philosopher and writer, 1905-1980

You may already own a boat and enjoy the relaxing lifestyle that boating allows. If this is the case you probably know a number of boaters who either live-aboard or spend their summers cruising for extended periods, sometimes months on end. When you see other people enjoying the long term boating life it's normal to feel a little jealous and to think 'what if...'
In many ways living on a boat full time is very similar to extended cruising. The big differences include the fact that most extended cruisers will choose any season but winter to go on their travels. For live-aboards, winter is a fact of life. It has to be dealt with and prepared for. Another big difference that affects full time live-aboards is that when they move away from a house and onto a boat, so much 'stuff' has to go. You have to make decisions regarding what you can take with you. Much will have to be left behind.
Something that should be considered before making the transition from house to boat, is your relationship with anyone that you are intending to move with. On a boat of a typical size, say around 40 feet and less, there is very little space for privacy. If your relationship with your partner is a little rocky in a house, it's unlikely to be improved in the confines of a boat. If you are strong together before the move you stand a much better chance, and so does your relationship.
I mentioned the dreaded word 'winter' earlier. It doesn't have to be bad news. Most modern steel and glass fibre boats are insulated from new. Living aboard an older steel or glass fibre that may be uninsulated could well be uncomfortable, or very expensive to keep warm. Older wooden boats are less of a problem in this regard. Wood doesn't transmit heat or cold as much as these other two materials and so is much easier to keep warm. My own boat, Cygnus Vedrae, is sixty years old, wood, uninsulated and very easy to keep warm in winter.
The main heating types.
Standard gas fire. Some modern gas fires for boats are outside vented. The older ones, of which there are still many, are not vented. This is the worst form of heating you could possibly have on a boat. Not only do they use a lot of gas, they also produce gallons of water which condenses everywhere, very uncomfortable when you're living on a boat.
Blown hot air. Many boats use this form of heating, and burn either gas or diesel. The heat from the fuel passes through a heat exchanger, the fumes are exhausted outside the boat leaving dry hot air inside. Another benefit of this type of heating is that it can also heat your on board calorifier, giving you plenty of hot water. Although this is a clean and comfortable heat, it is also quite expensive. Over recent years the cost of these fossil fuels has rocketed.
Solid and multi-fuel stoves. Without a doubt these are the most economical to run because it's never difficult to pick up free wood when you're afloat. They also produce dry heat and can also used to provide hot water for central heating and masses of hot water for the galley and shower etc. Since there are no moving or electrical parts they are also extremely reliable.The downside of this type of stove is that they do need to be cleaned out regularly and emptied. They are not as convenient as hot air heating but over the course of a winter you will save a small fortune in heating cost. They also provide a focal point in the cabin.
One last thing. Anything with the word 'marine' attached is generally more expensive. In many cases it's quite easy to safely adapt none marine products for use aboard.
Typical of items that do not necessarily need to be 'marine' include many electrical parts. In addition there is quite a lot of camping equipment that can be easily adapted. One of these items is the Cobb cooker. If you're living on a boat you're aware, for the most part, that the galley area is usually quite small. The Cobb cooker is very compact and is a multifunction fryer, oven, grill, BBQ and much more. It is easily and safely handled, even when lit, by one person. You may like to take a look at the link for more information.
Recipes and videos of the Cobb in action.
Stewart Haynes - EzineArticles Expert Author