After purchasing Steve Luther's 84 Aloha 32 "Sterling" in Anacortes, WA, and getting the "all approved" phone confirmation, BoatUS later decided that it was not interested in providing coverage unless the propane-fired Paloma hot water heater was removed. Apparently this device is not UL approved for marine use and BoatUS underwriting department claimed that they have caused boat fires, propane leaks, near suffocations, etc.
Am wondering if other Aloha owners have had similar experiences when applying for insurance or difficulties with the Poloma water heaters.
We have a Poloma flash water heater on our A32, and we wouldn't be without it.
Our surveyor says he passed it because we have a flue vent directly above the heater in the ceiling of the head compartment. Even with this vent, we never run the heater without the head compartment hatch wide open, just out of an excess of caution. According to our surveyor, the "not approved for marine use" wording in the manual is apparently relatively recent, and many older boats are fitted with such heaters.
As to fires and propane leaks, perhaps BoatUS would like to say why a water heater would be a bigger risk than, say, a propane oven. Granted, as with an oven, the pilot light _must_ be turned off when the heater is not in use, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. We don't find this diffucult to remember, since we ensure the propane system is disabled at the tank when not in use.
Before you give up on the benefits of instant hot water, have a look at the PrecisionTemp ShowerMate. The manufacturer says it's "designed specifically for the marine environment". It's perhaps a little larger than the Poloma unit, but it could probably be built into the head compartment wall where the after locker is now. Alternatively, it might fit in the empty space aft of the starboard quarter berth.
West Marine lists three EEMAX 110 volt Instantaneous Water Heaters with amp loads ranging from 20-29 amps. Guess that might work if one is willing to shed most all shore power loads before cracking the hot water tap.
A $500+ Isotemp Slim 15 water heater will fit forward of the galley under the portside settee, at the expense of storage there, with the additional benefit of providing a heat source for the icebox.
Running engine coolant hoses to that area would not be too hard, except for the functionally nonexistent engine compartment access in the earlier A32 models with the twin quarterberths.
Judging by various holes in our engine compartment bulkheads, our boat originally had an engine-driven hot-water tank in the compartment under the starboard quarterberth. The hose routing to there should be straightforward, and short as well. I'm a bit leery of running engine coolant hoses all over the boat.
Our answer to the engine access problem was to carefully disassemble the motor box, then re-assemble it with screws. It now takes just a few minutes to remove or replace it.
Aloha 32 #22, "China Girl"