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Re: Putting a boat on mothballs?

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...I would advise against running a small heater. In my experience all that does is vaporize the moisture, which will then condense on cold surfaces such as the engine, and accelerate corrosion.....
I think it's probably a fire hazard. However, logically, an engine in a heated engine room is going to absorb the same heat over time and be in equilibrium, so I don't think it can technically condensate. Unless you're literally not heating anything above the dewpoint.


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Re: Putting a boat on mothballs?

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I think it's probably a fire hazard. However, logically, an engine in a heated engine room is going to absorb the same heat over time and be in equilibrium, so I don't think it can technically condensate. Unless you're literally not heating anything above the dewpoint.
If you are talking about a "heated engine room" then I suppose that might be true. Most people put heaters in the main cabin area. Someone was suggesting a 100watt light bulb.

The fact is, even a 500watt heater would be hard pressed to maintain any significant AIR temperature, let alone also bringing the mass of the engine above dewpoint and keep it there. The exposed hull surfaces, windows and the engine are all going to be big heat sinks and will be significantly colder that the air temperature.

Don't worry about keeping the boat warm, because that will take too much energy. Instead just keep it dry! It's the moisture that causes most of the problems.

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Re: Putting a boat on mothballs?

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Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
If you are talking about a "heated engine room" then I suppose that might be true. Most people put heaters in the main cabin area. Someone was suggesting a 100watt light bulb......
Yes, I meant only heating the engine compartment, as we're only talking about preserving the engine. I did not suggest the 100W bulb, I only mentioned I know folks that do it and it's sufficient to warm the compartment by 10 or 20 degrees. The engine heat soaks.

I think it's a fire hazard though.


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Re: Putting a boat on mothballs?

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Yes, I meant only heating the engine compartment, as we're only talking about preserving the engine. I did not suggest the 100W bulb, I only mentioned I know folks that do it and it's sufficient to warm the compartment by 10 or 20 degrees. The engine heat soaks.



I think it's a fire hazard though.
Yes, if it is just the engine you are concerned about there are many options to heat the engine safely. Self regulating heat trace tape can be applied to the sump, for example. As long as it is done properly I don't think heating the engine is a big fire risk.

But heating the engine alone does not do anything for preserving the rest of the boat, and mitigating the effects of humidity and condensation that are inevitable in a wet climate such as ours.

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Re: Putting a boat on mothballs?

If in the future you change your mind you would be trying to sell a boat which sat dormant for a while

As a buyer in the past, I would probably not even look at it.

No harm in getting out and putting the money in a future boat kitty.


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Re: Putting a boat on mothballs?

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Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
I think that "mothballing" the boat would essentially be giving up on it. If I were you I would keep the hope alive, and keep the boat ready to go sailing whenever you get the chance.

In terms of winterizing for our climate, I would advise against running a small heater. In my experience all that does is vaporize the moisture, which will then condense on cold surfaces such as the engine, and accelerate corrosion. You are much better off buying a dehumidifier, ideally one that has a built in condensate pump so you don't have to keep emptying the water. If you keep the interior humidity low you will not get nearly as much condensation, mold and mildew. Remove all the cushions from the boat and store them at home if you have space. If you must leave them on the boat, at least stack them in such a way that air can circulate around them.

With the engine, rather than fully winterizing you could make a point of running it every couple of weeks to keep varnish from building up in the fuel system. Warm it up, and run it in gear and under load.

If you dont think you will use it at all for 2 years, you should sell, and plan to buy something else when you retire. Perhaps your wife would be more inclined to be interested in something a bit bigger when the time comes.

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Iím leaning towards this option, at least for now. I visit the boat frequently (the marina is only a few miles from my house), so I could easily run the engine occasionally.

I also have a dehumidifier and oil filled heater that I put in the boat in the winter (electricity is included in the slip fee, fortunately), so I think Iím in good shape there (Iíve never had a problem with mold or mildew ó humidity hangs around 65%, according to my hygrometer).

In the meantime, maybe I can get my life back under control...? Ah well, could be worse.


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Re: Putting a boat on mothballs?

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With all the stress in your life I think that you should consider making a better effort at sailing the boat...it's a great way to relax. My wife and I go out many times during the winter. These are short sails. Typically we go out after lunch when the sun is up and have a good sail for 2 to 3 hours...that's plenty of time to replenish your soul. If you can't manage to use the boat a couple of times a month, I think that you should sell it.


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Re: Putting a boat on mothballs?

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.....I visit the boat frequently (the marina is only a few miles from my house), so I could easily run the engine occasionally......
I'm not a fan of this method of engine preservation. Internal combustion actually creates moisture, as a by-product. If yout engine were theoretically fully dry, it's not the moment you start it up. In order not to do more harm than good, an engine needs to be run up to full temperature for a period of time, so this moisture is properly evaporated out of exhaust manifolds, blow by in the crankcase, etc. That's more than just warming up and engine, it needs to heat soak, so all components are at fully operating temp. This takes a long time, if it can be done at all, at the dock. It's best done underway.

Intermittent running does re-sling protective oil back onto components, which sheets off over time. However, you also have to be sure this oil hasn't become contaminated itself. Engine blow-by gases are corrosive and modern oils have additive to counteract this, but they wear out over time (which is why oils have calendar replacement, in addition to hours/miles). If these additives are ineffective, you're just spreading the toxic by-products of combustion blow by all over.

Once or twice are not death sentences for your motor. I wouldn't do this for the years you're contemplating, or even an entire winter.


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Putting a boat on mothballs?

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I'm not a fan of this method of engine preservation. Internal combustion actually creates moisture, as a by-product. If yout engine were theoretically fully dry, it's not the moment you start it up. In order not to do more harm than good, an engine needs to be run up to full temperature for a period of time, so this moisture is properly evaporated out of exhaust manifolds, blow by in the crankcase, etc. That's more than just warming up and engine, it needs to heat soak, so all components are at fully operating temp. This takes a long time, if it can be done at all, at the dock. It's best done underway.

Intermittent running does re-sling protective oil back onto components, which sheets off over time. However, you also have to be sure this oil hasn't become contaminated itself. Engine blow-by gases are corrosive and modern oils have additive to counteract this, but they wear out over time (which is why oils have calendar replacement, in addition to hours/miles). If these additives are ineffective, you're just spreading the toxic by-products of combustion blow by all over.

Once or twice are not death sentences for your motor. I wouldn't do this for the years you're contemplating, or even an entire winter.


Iím not sure if this makes matters better or worse (probably worse), but since this is a raw water cooled engine, operating temperature is only about 140F, vice the 175F or so that a FWC engine would be.


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Re: Putting a boat on mothballs?

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Originally Posted by Rusty123 View Post
Iím not sure if this makes matters better or worse (probably worse), but since this is a raw water cooled engine, operating temperature is only about 140F, vice the 175F or so that a FWC engine would be......
Cuts both way, I think. It will take just that much longer for your engine to get up to temperature and heat soak. However, Iíd much rather have stagnant salt water hanging out solely in a heat exchanger than resident in cooling passages throughout the engine.

Ultimately, I wouldnít do either. Iíd pickle the engine.


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