Living in a world of modern conveniences, boat owners shouldn’t have to leave those home comforts behind just because they’ve decided to live aboard their craft. On the contrary, liveaboard boats really ought to offer all the comforts of home, including a comfy bed and a big-screen television. By extension, a fully-equipped refrigeration system, not a broken down icebox, is an indispensable part of this home away from home.

Providing Plenty of Output Power

Okay, as long as a boat is anchored, there’s a handy umbilical cable available. It’ll keep all of the ship’s electrical systems ticking over when guests come on board for an early evening meal. Things change when the skipper casts off and turns the boat’s prow towards the marina exit. Without a powerful outside supply of electricity, a liveaboard’s more energy-hungry appliances will hitch and struggle. Avoid this tragic state of affairs by installing high-capacity vessel batteries. If there’s any doubt whatsoever about how well they’ll perform, add a small generator or a pair of photovoltaic solar panels.

Weighing Possible Ventilation Measures

At one end of the food and beverage chilling spectrum, portable iceboxes and holding plates keep part-timers happy. For that latter option, tanks full of water-propylene glycol turn to slush when plugged into a refrigerant line. Basically, the stainless steel plates extend the refrigeration cycle, even after a refrigeration system is turned off. Anyway, back to the matter at hand, full-time boat residents want their chilled drinks and cold food, and they want an abundance of those spoilable items, not a single beer and a sandwich. What they actually want is a proper drop-in refrigerator. Complete with speed-controlled compressor and coils, this appliance uses a fan to keep its working parts cool. Venting the hot air, the boat bilge keeps a steady supply of cold air flowing through the air-cooled compressor.

Energy-management controls keep power hogs under control. The speed-varying compressor on that smaller than average refrigerator further improves its energy-sipping behaviour. Bilge ventilation ports combine with a flexible length of ducting to provide plenty of compressor air. Finally, stopping the unit from collecting puddles of condensate, a tap-in exits the sink drain condenser and connects to the boat plumbing. Unlike a portable icebox, this is a permanent solution. Just like the full-time onboard resident, this appliance isn’t going anywhere. To make sure it fits without creating any installation headaches, consider calling in a qualified boat worker. Otherwise, an over-ambitious boating enthusiast could end up overwhelmed by the various fittings. At the very least, have someone on hand to set up the refrigerator’s venting and drainage lines.