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wintering below freezing on the water
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SnowTexan



Joined: 08 Aug 2019
Posts: 32
City/Region: Carlton
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 2006
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:51 pm    Post subject: wintering below freezing on the water Reply with quote

Looking for advice from other crazy cold loving adventurers. Alaskans and Canadians please chime in! Giving serious consideration to wintering in fresh water with air temperatures well below freezing. Water is freshwater but unlikely to freeze beyond a shallow surface coat near shore (very deep lake). There will be significant cumulative snowfall, usually in predictable events. I have winterized my fresh water systems, am running sta-bil in fuel, can possibly keep a heater on shore power, and a small fan in the berth for longer stretches where I am unable to get to the boat Because of road conditions, life happenstances, etc. Any advice on how to best do this is much appreciated. How do I keep bilges from freezing? Rv antifreeze? Am I over thinking it?

Thanks in advance!

Nigel
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South of Heaven



Joined: 15 Aug 2015
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nigel, Im a full time liveaboard in Boston. WE GET COLD WEATHER.

There are many things to consider but its totally doable. My only concern for you is that you're in fresh water. I don't have any experience with that. Im in the salty Boston Harbor.

I'll wait for the more experienced Brats to chime in!

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colbysmith



Joined: 02 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My question is, why do you want to leave it in the water over winter? It's one thing if you are living aboard, you are there to monitor the situation. My main concern would be water freezing around the boat, or inside the engine. Otherwise, as long as your fresh water system is winterized, there really isn't anything inside the boat that matters rather it's on the water or on the trailer. If the boat is not covered, and it gets snow or rain, you then have to worry about any additional weight on the boat, and if the bilge pumps are thawed out or not. Just my two cents. Disclaimer, I winter mine on it's trailer with a full cover in Wisconsin. Colby (P.s., sadly this is a recent picture. Two snow storms this past week, just in time for Halloween. The farmers haven't even gotten the corn down yet. I keep mentioning to my wife she should retire so we can move out of this crap!)

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DavidM



Joined: 24 Dec 2017
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C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A small heater set on low should keep the interior temps above freezing but you need to prepare for a power outage or even some idiot disconnecting your shore power- been there. So winterize your boat with the pink antifreeze just like you would do for an RV out of the water or for your boat out of the water. Lots of threads on that topic here.

But rain water can get in the bilge. The low part of the bilge will be below the water line and if you don't get any heavy ice forming on the water during the winter you should be fine as that means that the water temps are above freezing. Except maybe for the bilge pump which could be above or almost above the water line. Two solutions:

Disconnect power to the bilge pump so if it does freeze internally it won't run and harm it. But that probably isn't smart for a boat sitting in the water. So dump a couple of gallons of antifreeze in the bilge to keep the bilge water from freezing. Check to see if it is pink once it mixes with the existing water and you are probably good down into the low teens, ok for your climate. Then keep an eye on it for dilution due to rainwater getting in and dump another gallon or so of antifreeze in if necessary.

Keeping a boat in the water is more complicated in harsher climates, especially if you have through hulls supplying a marine toilet, A/C, etc. But your 22 doesn't have any below the water line through hulls I believe.

David


Last edited by DavidM on Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:29 am; edited 3 times in total
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SnowTexan



Joined: 08 Aug 2019
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The corn below my house is not cut either! And starting to look like it may not happen this year. I would like to leave it on the water so I can explore some of the more beautiful places in the state at the quietest time of year, fish, and practice more advanced maneuvers in an empty marina without screwing around with icy ramps and low water levels at launches. The cold in and of itself is not a deterrent for me. I love winter and generally detest heat. If I keep the boat on the water I can use it with ease, and If its in the driveway it will be there until the spring thaw. (which happens here about a month later than the nearest good boating waters.) the lake im Considering has less than half of the snowfall we get at the house and is less than an hour away. We get our groceries nearby, so short trips out would be doable all winter.
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colbysmith



Joined: 02 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can understand wanting to get out on the water then, if it's not frozen over. My biggest concern would still be if and when the surface of the water freezes over, you have that issue within your outboard and bilge as well. Also how do you plan to keep the snow or ice off your boat, primarily in the cockpit? You could dump RV antifreeze in your bilge, but then any rain or snow melt will dilute that and once the bilge pump pumps it overboard, you are back to where you started. The ideal situation would be to have your boat on a covered boat lift at the dock. Thereby allowing you to keep the boat and outboard out of the water, keep the cockpit dry, but still not needing to worry about an icy ramp.
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SnowTexan



Joined: 08 Aug 2019
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RV antifreeze in the bilge sounds more and more like a good idea. It was 18F last night, but likely a little warmer in the boat in the driveway and much warmer at the water line on lake Chelan. We are in Eastern Washington and it gets pretty cold here (below zero) when fronts blow down from our Northern neighbors, but this is not the norm outside of the valley where we live (low 20s more common on the water).
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ssobol



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On my 22, the bilge is not enclosed so I never found water freezing there to be a problem. You might want to lift up the bilge pump so it is not sitting in the water though if it freezes and then tries to run.

You can remove the water in the bilge with a siphon pump or even a turkey baster.

My boat is stored on a trailer. I put in a lower drain plug that lets almost all of the bilge sump water out. The factory drain is too high and leaves at least an inch of standing water in the sump.
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Riverjohn



Joined: 08 Nov 2016
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DavidM wrote:
A small heater set on low should keep the interior temps above freezing but you need to prepare for a power outage or even some idiot disconnecting your shore power- been there. So winterize your boat with the pink antifreeze just like you would do for an RV out of the water or for your boat out of the water. Lots of threads on that topic here.

But rain water can get in the bilge. The low part of the bilge will be below the water line and if you don't get any heavy ice forming on the water during the winter you should be fine as that means that the water temps are above freezing. Except maybe for the bilge pump which could be above or almost above the water line. Two solutions:

Disconnect power to the bilge pump so if it does freeze internally it won't run and harm it. But that probably isn't smart for a boat sitting in the water. So dump a couple of gallons of antifreeze in the bilge to keep the bilge water from freezing. Check to see if it is pink once it mixes with the existing water and you are probably good down into the low teens, ok for your climate. Then keep an eye on it for dilution due to rainwater getting in and dump another gallon or so of antifreeze in if necessary.

Keeping a boat in the water is more complicated in harsher climates, especially if you have through hulls supplying a marine toilet, A/C, etc. But your 22 doesn't have any below the water line through hulls I believe.

David


These sound like great suggestions!! Thumbs Up

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colbysmith



Joined: 02 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure putting antifreeze in the bilge is a good idea. It will be diluted by any rain or snow melt, and then pumped overboard by the bilge pump, assuming the pump is operable. If the pump isn't working, then you have the issue of how much additional water (rain or snowmelt) can the bilge take on without causing an issue. I would at the very least find a way to cover the cockpit if you are going to leave the boat in the water in freezing temps, just to keep any rain or snow out. The next issue would be water in the outboard at the surface level of the water surrounding it. I don't know how much depth of ice would have to form before you could end up with some cracked internal water passages.
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Robert H. Wilkinson



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have some marina's on Lake Ontario that allow liveaboards year round on larger boats. They use a bubbler system around their boats to prevent the water from freezing and crushing the hull or other damage.

Sounds like that wouldn't be necessary in your case though.

I can appreciate you quest for solitude. The "weekend" launch ramp has been limiting my desire to go boating more as I age(get grumpier).

Regards,

Rob

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C-Green



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To expand on Colby's concern of water freezing in the engine; my concern would be running the engine with ice blocking the internal water channels thus burning the rubber water pump impellors and that ends your boating until you pull the boat and the lower engine housing to replace the impellors. So if there is any ice around the boat or has been recently, don't start the engines until you can confirm no ice blockage in the engines water channels; I'm not sure how you would do that confirmation.

Jay
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Robert H. Wilkinson



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

C-Green wrote:
I'm not sure how you would do that confirmation.


I would assume that as long as the pee stream is good passages are not blocked. Any of the smaller outer passages that may contain ice would not take long thawing with engine running. Impellers would not be hurt as long as they were pumping water.

I wonder if anyone has made a outboard "cozy" to at least cut down on the wind chill factor?

I see guys fishing the Niagara River through the winter here in Ontario. They may be running Evinrudes which can be re winterized quite easily.

The lift idea sounds like a good one as this would let you leave the outboard down for drainage. If you trim it full up while in the water you would risk water collecting around prop hub and freezing. Unless you could reach it to wrap it up in some kind of waterproof cover.

I have fished lakes in northern Ontario this time of year(late Oct.). Often had snow but the water was never froze yet.

Regards,

Rob
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SnowTexan



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for all the suggestions thus far

Definitely hearing the warnings from yall on the dangers of freezing a block or blowing out pump seals, etc. Leaving motors down, they should drain quickly while warm, and the chance of a 1400 foot deep lake freezing in this climate is remote. Still, air temps are low at night. Bilge pumps are, according to the manual, protected against overload by automatically shutting down when frozen. That covers the bilge, but not the boat. A sloped cockpit mooring cover could keep the bulk of water out of that space, but after sleeping on it again I think my biggest fear above all others is getting early season snow followed by daytime thawing and nighttime freezing. That cycle repeating over a week or two could be a nasty recipe for water intrusion into places it should not be. Going to go down and look at the ramps again today and talk to some fishermen in the area (good advice for Harvey).

Nigel
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localboy



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I put an oil heater (1500 watts) in the cabin, on very low. I just discovered this (below) to add to the heater in order to save money & electricity. It's rated at 1800 watts and will come on at 35F and turn off at 45F. No need to have the heat on when it's above 45F here, since I have the Caframo unit in combo with the heater to move the air around. Open all the cabinets, refer etc. I drain the water heater and flush the water system of water. I add pink anti-freeze to the water pump. Finally, I "space bag" all the bedding after washing/drying it completely, including the pillows. Zero mold/mildew in 10 years. One year I didn't get to the water pump soon enough and it was toasted by ice.

https://www.amazon.com/Farm-Innovators-TC-1-Thermostatically-Controlled/dp/B0006U2HD2/ref=asc_df_B001ADUKRO/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198077680239&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=16047022550635183189&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9033382&hvtargid=pla-349273122619&th=1

https://www.amazon.com/Caframo-Limited-9406CAABX-Dehumidifier-Circulator/dp/B0009L675W/ref=sr_1_7?crid=33LCKR6BP8T9R&keywords=caframo+fans&qid=1572720590&s=lawn-garden&sprefix=caframo%2Clawngarden%2C237&sr=1-7-catcorr

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I keep mentioning to my wife she should retire so we can move out of this crap!

I hear Arizona is very nice this time of year. That's our plan...

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