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FrankLanger 09-20-2006 12:15 PM

Is winterizing/antifreeze needed for in-water boat on Vancouver Island?
I'm planning ahead for winterizing my sailboat which will be in the water during the winter near Nanaimo, BC on Vancouver Island. I will have a local handyman check on the boat periodically. I know the water doesn't freeze, and the climate is generally temperate, but it does drop below freezing occasionally. Is the fact that the boat is in the above-freezing temperature water enough to prevent the inside from freezing--ie. head, engine, water pumps, etc. I would prefer not to have to add antifreeze to everything if I don't need to.

I am getting conflicting information, :confused: with some at the marina saying they never add antifreeze and have not encountered difficulty, and others disagreeing.

Thanks for any info. or advice.

erps 09-20-2006 12:21 PM

Greetings Frank,

I just bought some parts from a guy down here in Washington State who had freeze damage to his engine (cracked block) from last year on Puget Sound. We get temperatures down in the 'teens now and then that can last for a week or so.

Having said that, I don't add antifreeze to everything in the winter, but instead I drain the fresh water systems, make sure my engine coolant has antifreeze then leave a little heater in the boat for that week of cold weather.


SteveCox 09-20-2006 12:30 PM

Between the 50 degree water and the fact that most of us add a small heater inside to keep the moisture at bay, I don't usually winterize the boat since I also use it year round just not as often in the winter.

Rockter 09-20-2006 12:50 PM


Do it anyway.

I didn't, last winter, and the temperature dropped to -14 degC (7 degF). This was Scotland, too, and unexpected.

The net result?... a cracked block on a V***o MD17c. Oh man.

It seems such a small effort half a litre of glycol.... it didn't then.

Faster 09-20-2006 02:34 PM

Our experience, not far from where your boat is kept, is that it is usually not necessary to "winterize" the boat. This is assuming that there is some heat provided and the boat is checked regularily, at least twice a week. Also, like Steve we use the boat year round.
HOWEVER: in your case, where you will be mostly absent you should at the very least, IMO, ensure your thru-hulls are all closed, of course, and perhaps drain any areas that might potentially freeze on the fresh water system and the head, for example. And make sure the engine, if FWC, has adequate antifreeze protection.

Normally the 40 - 45 degF water is enough to keep internal components from freezing, but we can't count on "normal" conditions prevailing at all times.

A cautionary tale: several years ago a friend had his Westsail 32 sink at the dock over the Christmas break. He had electric heat on board and a light bulb in the engine box to keep the temperature above freezing. That year we had an unusually cold Christmas, and a wind storm knocked out the power. Now his electric heater(s) are not functioning. The intake strainer on the RW froze and cracked resulting in the sinking of the boat since he had neglected to close the thru-hull. The insurance claim was denied on the basis that he had not taken reasonable precautions to prevent this from happening. They paid the salvage, but that's all. He has recommissioned the vessel, but on his own.

Rockter 09-20-2006 06:19 PM

Oh for some salt water again!

Never a dull moment.

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