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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 01-24-2011
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Frozen bilges

Is it my imagination, or has it been far below freezing more often in RI this winter? Of course, that has been interrupted by a day of rain here and there and my bilges keep filling (mast penetration) and then freezing.

I am usually able to get there during a thaw and hand pump it out, but timing has been impossible for the last couple of months. I'm getting a bit concerned about the genset, which has the water beginning to reach its base and there is rain forecast for this week again, then right back to freezing.

I tried to heat the cabin with a space heater this weekend. I left it on for hours but it barely melted a film on top of the ice. I suspected this, as the hull is a huge heat sink at the moment.

Any tricks out there to defrost and pump frozen bilges? I have a kerosene heater that would make it a sauna in there, but not crazy about the carbon monoxide nor the exhaust soot in the cabin.
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Old 01-24-2011
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I hate to say it, but you probably have to climb down in there with a hair dryer and mop it out with a sponge a little at a time.

Where's the water getting in? I realize that it's too cold for bedding compounds to cure, but maybe you can cover that area or something?

My port jib track needs rebedding so the rain seeps in, runs down the quarterberth liner and into the bilge. Luckily, all the precipitation has been frozen so once I mopped out the bilge, it's stayed dry.

Is it possible to lay down butyl tape and then heat it with a hair dryer to get it to ooze into place properly?
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Rock salt
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Rock salt in the bilge is one idea. Another is to use a chemical de-icer and then pump out the ice slurry when the ice melts.
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If all else fails, you could go to an RV dealer and inquire about the "enviromentally safe" Anti freeze used to winterize RV's.
Mix an appropriate amount with the water and pump it out in spring.
Dangers would be any deletarious chemical effects to the FG.
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Old 01-24-2011
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Antifreeze & Fiberglass

Quote:
Originally Posted by omaho5 View Post
If all else fails, you could go to an RV dealer and inquire about the "enviromentally safe" Anti freeze used to winterize RV's.
Mix an appropriate amount with the water and pump it out in spring.
Dangers would be any deletarious chemical effects to the FG.
Probably not a problem since modern car radiators have plastic fiberglass tanks on each end, but there are different types of plastic. You could mix a bit of fiberglass with antifreeze and see what happens.
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The non-toxic antifreeze, at least the stuff commonly found in the RV and marine supply stores is designed not to be diluted and its effectiveness diminishes rapidly when diluted. It doesn't harm fiberglass to any degree.
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frozen bilges

What's the downside of having an inch or two of ice in the bilge?
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It could freeze, expand and damage the bilge. Most boats won't have any issues with a little ice, but I'd suspect if you get enough in there.... it could be really expensive.
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Salt

Happens a lot here in Boston
I use salt And antifreeze
After 6 hours the salt will have melted the ice and then the Anti freeze kicks in if you cannot pump out immediately If possible As soon as melted just pump out with a manual pump into a bucket and throw overboard Add fresh anti freeze in the bilge
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