SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   General Discussion (sailing related) (
-   -   Winterizing checklist (

himolocarb 08-22-2006 11:36 PM

Winterizing checklist
I am about to become the owner of a 78 Ericson 27, but my question is pretty general. I am getting a lot of conflicting quotes for winterizing the boat for outdoor storage in winters that get below 0 fahrenheit. For a boat with a head, pressurized water tank, manual and electric bilge pumps and a gasoline engine (Atomic 4), does anyone have a checklist of the must do items for winterization.

dave6330 08-23-2006 01:10 AM

I'd be interested in what others do also. We own a 36foot sloop that, normally, we keep in the water over the winter at Seward, Alaska. We've owned her for two years now; this coming will be our third winter. Thus far, the only damage we've suffered has been a broken head. Temps at Seward get as low as -10 to -20 F. but don't stay down that low for long.

We puts tabilizer in and fill the fuel tank, empty out the water and holding tank, put in about 5 gal of the pink RV antifreeze and run it thru all the faucets. We flushed about a gal or so down the head and that's about it. The engine is fresh water cooled so I check the antifreeze with an automotive antifreeze tester (kind of a basting bulb with a specific gravity meter that rates the protection level). We strip off all of the sails and canvas, cover the main companionway hatch with a tarp (to allow us entry without dumping a bunch of snow inside) and that's about it.

Once a month or so we trundle on down to Seward (we live in Peter's Creek, about three hours North) and camp out on her over the weekend. Makes for a good winter retreat.

I'd be interested in hearing what others have to say, though. We're still pretty green at this and welcome suggestions from more seasoned hands.

This'll be the first year she's wintered over on the hard.



sailingdog 08-23-2006 09:15 AM

You should really check the Pink RV Antifreeze, as most antifreeze has to be mixed with water for the maximum temperature protection. This may be why you had a broken head, as the pink stuff may have frozen under low enough temperatures.

You should also flush the cooling system of the engine and change the oil in it. Letting used oil sit in an engine over the winter is not really good for it, as used engine oil has some very corrosive byproducts in it.

I would also recommend removing your batteries and putting them in storage, as allowing them to freeze is really not good for them. A smart charger should also be used to top the batteries off occasionally, as they will self-discharge over the winter, and not keeping them charged is bad for them.

I would also cover any gear left exposed on the boat, like winches, windlasses, etc. I would also remove the tiller if your boat is tiller steered.

Another thing to do is open and close all the seacocks and lubricate them. Pull the transducers—speed and depth—and replace with dummy plugs.

Check the zincs on the boat, and replace any as needed. They should be replaced when they are half their original size—a new brand of zinc has come on the market and has a red plastic button embedded in it...and the button shows when it is time to replace them.

I'd also pull the propane tank, if any, from the boat and store it elsewhere.

Fogging the engine is a good idea, as is topping off the gas tank with a stabilized gas, however, with the new ethanol blends, the topping off of the gas tanks may need to be re-thought, as the ethanol appears to allow the gas to degrade faster and also attacks certain parts of the fuel system, especially on older boats.

dave6330 08-23-2006 12:38 PM

I'll have to read up on the antifreeze. I know you dilute automotive antifreeze to a 50/50 mix but most of that stuff is ethalene glycol (sp?) and is very toxic. We've lived up in Alaska for over twenty years now and have used the pink stuff in several campers/trailers/RV's we've owned over the years and we've always used it full strength, but maybe we've been doing it wrong all this time. I never thought about old oil wintering over in the enging as being bad, I change it out in the Spring but I guess if it's corrosive, I might as well change it in the fall and get a jump on my Spring chores. Do they put ethanol in diesel fuel?

Normally (not this year) we keep her in the water and hooked up to shore power with a trickle charge going to keep the batteries up. When we go down to shovel the snow off of her (once a month or so) we fire up the espar heater and stay aboard over the weekend. We use the propane stove to heat coffee and such, so I don't want to take the tank off.

I forgot to mention, we do cover the winches, remove the steering wheel, and cover the binicle.


foxglove 08-23-2006 01:02 PM

I Hate the Pink Stuff
Well, not all kinds of pink stuff. But I hate the pink stuff I put in my water system to winterize it. To this day, the water still has a funky odor that drives my wife crazy even though I've emptied and refilled the tanks at least three times this summer.

I think I'm going to switch to cheap vodka this winter.

I think Sailingdog covered it all. I don't do all that he suggests, although I probably should.

sailingdog 08-23-2006 01:36 PM

Diesel is not cut with ethanol. Only gasoline is...mainly as a fuel additive that both oxygenates the fuel and boosts octane. I hope you're not using a standard automotive trickle charger, but a smart three-stage marine battery charger. A trickle charger will often over charge the batteries and boil off electrolyte.

As for the odor in the water system. Try shock treating it with chlorine bleach, per Peggy Hall's instructions.

dave6330 08-24-2006 12:50 AM

The trickle charge is actually a function of the boat's on-board 120v power system when I'm hooked up to shore power. The Seward Small Boat Harbor has enough folks that pull their boats out for the winter (mostly 6 pac fishing charter boats) that they graciously allow us a winter slip with power during the off-season. We paid a deposit on the electricity and pay a monthly meter charge (usually about $20/month) and that keeps the batteries up and allows us to camp out on her over the winter as a sort-of winter cabin.

I did look up the specs on the pink RV style antifreeze and it is used full strength. Can be diluted but looses some of it's effectiveness. I think the frozen head had to do with the head intake seacock not being fully closed. (I discussed that in another thread).

It is with some trepidation that I look forward to seeing how she fared on the hard this winter...I may have to replace the batteries if they don't take and hold a charge in the Spring. I wish I had taken time to install a solar powered trickle charger to keep them up over the winter...oh well, water under the bridge, I suppose.

BTW - I talked to my wife yesterday and she said there was snow on the hills about 500 ft in elevation above town. Looks like it might be a heavy snow year back home.

dorourke 08-24-2006 12:57 AM

I have a check list I use, I can poast it if anyone would like to copy and past it to your documents

dave6330 08-24-2006 01:03 AM

I'd sure like to see what you've got. And thanks in advance!

dorourke 08-24-2006 01:18 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:43 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) LLC 2000-2012

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome