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drynoc 12-14-2005 01:39 PM

Engine room heat
I want to sail as much as I can over the winter, and would therefore like to avoid winterizing the engine. (The engine is winterized at the moment, but there will come a nice day when I want to get out, and that winterizing will be undone.) Does anyone have any suggestions for a small heater just to heat the engine compartment? I have heard that even a light bulb would be effective for this minor purpose in this area (I am on the Potomac River). It seems that an electric space heater would use a lot of shore power, and a kerosene heater might be a fire hazard. What other ideas are there? Is the idea even practical?

VinceHosea 12-14-2005 07:11 PM

Engine room heat
What kind of engine do you have? You might consider a block heater (there are several different types on the market). If you have power at the dock, then you''re good to go. They run off 120VAC and pull around 1500 watts.
The heater element keeps the engine coolant warm enough that the entire engine compartment stays comfortable. I have worked on many boats that have them and on winter days (I live in western Washington state) large engine rooms (like in a Grand Banks 42) can be around 68 degrees F. This extra heat keeps everything in the space dry and mildew free. Better yet, the engines start right up. With diesels the amount of white smoke at start up on cold days is somewhat reduced.
I really recommend them. You''re going to end up paying for some kind of power source to heat the boat, and the fire danger compared to a portable heater unit is next to nothing. Cost to purchase one isn''t much and the install is fairly simple.
Hope this has been of help,

drynoc 12-15-2005 03:27 AM

Engine room heat
I have a Yanmar 2GM20F, and your suggestion is an excellent one. I will look into it immediately.

drynoc 12-15-2005 09:43 AM

Engine room heat
I must be missing something. I have been looking around on the internet, and I cannot find anything specific to a block heater for a Yanmar marine diesel. What am I missing? Are they called something other than "block heater"? Who are the manufacturers or the suppliers?

RichH 12-15-2005 12:46 PM

Engine room heat
Go to,, .... auto parts stuff.
This stuff would be compatible for the fresh water side vs. corrosion. I wouldnt put anything like it on the raw water side.

VinceHosea 12-15-2005 07:35 PM

Engine room heat
Sorry, I should have left you with a lead. The block heaters I am referring to are called "hot starts." Kim Hot Starts are a well known brand and they can be found at or Also, try your local marine diesel engine dealers and Yanmar dealers (ask for someone in the parts department). These outfits should be able to tell you if they make a hot start specific to your engine. Try to find one with a thermostat, that will automatically turn off or on depending on the coolant temperature. Also, the suggestion to check the auto and truck part stores is well worthwhile. As you are aware, just remove the word "marine" and the price drops. Block heaters are really common in diesel trucks (semis) in the northern climates. Hopefully you can find something that works. These hot starts are nothing more than a heater element (like a burner on a stove), that is specifically designed to fit into a coolant port on your engine block. A cord from the element either plugs into a regular 120VAC outlet or you can hardwire it into your system. Hope this has been of help, Vince

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