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post #1 of 11 Old 3 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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ice bubblers

I'd like to use a single bubbler to protect two 32-ft boats in adjacent slips in an Annapolis marina.

Anyone with experience using bubblers please respond with advice re whether feasible to use one to protect both boats, size required, best location and orientation to deploy, lessons learned, etc.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 11 Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Re: ice bubblers

Might work for a mild winter, if the ice starts to move or flow, I don't know if it would be adequate. If you go with just one, position it so it provides maximum protection to the stern/rudder/props of both boats.

I did get away one winter with just a single 1/2 hp ice eater on a 35 ft boat in Toronto, but I placed it pretty much right below my rudder and my bow did eventually freeze in solid. My neighbours on both sides were each running 2 ice eaters, which generally helped to inhibit ice at my slip.

Annapolis is quite a bit warmer than Toronto though, so...
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Re: ice bubblers

I am in Whitehall Creek by Annapolis. Most years my ice eater barely runs but I am at a slip at the end of the pier where it’s 11 ft deep and lots of water flow. It really doesn’t freeze often.

When I have used the bubbler extensively, I have needed it positioned under the bow using the normal flow lines of the boat. They work by bringing warmer deeper water up. There’s a distinctive open water island around Haleakula.

I think using one unit will give you half the protection for each boat. Is it worth that risk? I say no


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Re: ice bubblers

Are you wanting to discuss ice-eaters (underwater electric fans that move warmer water to the surface to prevent ice forming) or bubbler systems which do essentially the same thing using rising air bubbles? Our club in CT uses both. Results depend on many variables, as Arc & Chef have suggested. The length of the bubbler tube, the number of holes in it, the amount of air pumped, air and water temperature and amount of water flow, along with salinity, all make a difference. Something that might work very well for you in Annapolis might not be good here, where 3” of ice can form overnight if conditions are right.
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Re: ice bubblers

unless you get a serious very thick freeze.. ice is not a problem for most boats.

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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Re: ice bubblers

Owners are not generally concerned with ice floes crushing their hulls in the slip. They worry that even thin ice sheets can damage gelcoat.
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Re: ice bubblers

I've never stored in the ice. I've certain heard some debate on what damage ice will or will not do. I suspect there are more variables at play, such as tidal range, speed of freezing, wind strength or current. In some conditions, the ice may just cradle the hull, in others it may provide more pressure.


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Re: ice bubblers

Thin ice damage to a gel coat may be possible... I think it unlikely. Has anyone seen thin ice damage to a fiberglass hull?

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Re: ice bubblers

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Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
Thin ice damage to a gel coat may be possible... I think it unlikely. Has anyone seen thin ice damage to a fiberglass hull?
Yes, I’ve seen minor damage to gel coat and boot stripe from thin razor sharp skim ice.

Easily buffed out though, and minor. My boat always has a “ bubble” of open water surrounding her.

Placing the bubbler almost beneath the bow uses the aerodynamic ( hydrodynamic ) shape of the boat so it flows around the boat.
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Re: ice bubblers

As far as I know, ice damage from a thin layer of ice will occur as a result of abrasion. If you are moving through thin ice, there can be damage.

Almost any boat can be damaged via compression with pressurized or moving ice flows.

Personally, I wouldn't stress about a thin layer of ice forming over night on a stationary boat.
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