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  #1  
Old 02-03-2013
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Boat Ice

I have never had a boat in water that froze in the winter and have questions.

Is it possible to be on a mooring or anchored out when ice starts forming or do you absolutely have to be at a pier to heat and/or bubble the water ? Is it possible to go out and just break the ice around the boat every day, or a few times a day, and manage it all through the winter ? Does that harm the boat ? Does having ice around the boat harm the boat, I assume it does or why would anybody bother to try to get rid of the ice in the first place, right ?

I understand that if your boat is in a marina and you have a constant supply of electricity you can bubble and/or heat the water but I am less interested in that, I really want to know what happens when that isn't possible.

Edit, also, I don't mean Boston during a cold snap with 1/4 inch of ice, I mean like Newfoundland in February with 6 inches of ice. I mean the kind of ice they probably get in places like Alaska.
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Last edited by wind_magic; 02-03-2013 at 06:56 PM. Reason: Added more info ...
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Old 02-03-2013
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Re: Boat Ice

Just another good reason to list your location in your profile so other can answer your question accordingly. In Chesapeake bay, a few inches of ice won't hurt, but in the Great White north, the frozen solid ice that can support a semi is another story. It will crush your boat into pieces.

I assume that you did not pull your boat out and there are plenty of boats around your area are still in the water. I guess the good news is you should be OK.
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Old 02-03-2013
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Re: Boat Ice

I would think in a boat with slack bilges, the boat would start to ride up as the ice tried to crush it.. on something with hard chines, your guess is as good as mine.

The chesapeake has frozen sold before. Not enough to drive a semi over, but enough that it was solid ice from one side of the bay bridge to the other.. I don;t know how thick it would have to be to do that
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Re: Boat Ice

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Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
Just another good reason to list your location in your profile so other can answer your question accordingly. In Chesapeake bay, a few inches of ice won't hurt, but in the Great White north, the frozen solid ice that can support a semi is another story. It will crush your boat into pieces.

I assume that you did not pull your boat out and there are plenty of boats around your area are still in the water. I guess the good news is you should be OK.
Thank you for the response, Rock.

Of course I'm not talking about where I am or I'd already know.

I'm talking about places far north that I have no experience with.

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Originally Posted by mad_machine View Post
I would think in a boat with slack bilges, the boat would start to ride up as the ice tried to crush it.. on something with hard chines, your guess is as good as mine.
Is that what happens, I wonder, does the boat eventually get lifted out of the ice and tilt over to one side ? That would be better than having it crushed.
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Last edited by wind_magic; 02-03-2013 at 07:13 PM. Reason: Edit ..
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Old 02-03-2013
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Re: Boat Ice

You might find this interesting, a boat that was specifically designed not to be crushed by ice:

BLDGBLOG: The Architecture of Polar Ice Floes

Do a google image search for "boat frozen in ice" and you'll see some interesting things.

Like this:

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Old 02-03-2013
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Re: Boat Ice

Kinda like this aesomeness??!!


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Old 02-03-2013
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Re: Boat Ice

My Grandfather was a Commercial Fisherman and owned his boats. He always left them in all year around. He tells a story about a boat that sunk one winter back in the late 60s early 70s. It was an abnormally cold winter and the boat kept freezing in so every morning he would go down and break the ice from around it. He said one morning he arrived to see the boat sinking, water poring in over the stern. He said the ice froze in around it over night and when the tide went out the ice broke, but when the tide came back in the ice had jammed on it's self and prevented the boat from floating back up with the tide... flooded the boat.
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Old 02-03-2013
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Re: Boat Ice

You could break the ice away from the water immediately surrounding the boat but how will your boat swing?
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Old 02-03-2013
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Re: Boat Ice

You will need to build a compressible cushion around the boat. Car tires, hey, lots of it.
The problem is that an ice is not solid. It moves. It can compress a boat. Mass of the ice is huge, think about fields crashing against each other, tectonic plates. I know guys on steel boats wintering in Baltic, it is an art...
Also there is no mooring designed to withstand a square mile of ice moving with a boat attached.
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Last edited by CrazyRu; 02-03-2013 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 02-03-2013
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Re: Boat Ice

An ice breaker does not cut through the ice persey.. it is designed to ride up atop and use the weight of the ship to break and crush it down. It is also designed with round bilges so that if it gets stuck, it does not get crushed, it simply rides up.

Such as this Icebreaker here.



As noted in an above post.. most ships that get sunk in ice do so because they get trapped and pulled/pushed under by the movements of the ice. In the artic, this can happen because of winds and tides hundreds of miles away.. but at the dock, due to the ice keeping your boat from rising with the tide.

As to the above picture of an ice covered boat.. Ice will make your vessel topheavy.. not too big a deal with a sailboat.. but enough ice will capsize a powerboat and even a large ship if allowed to build up on the decks and superstructure
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