The low-down on Lake Michigan - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-09-2019 Thread Starter
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The low-down on Lake Michigan

Dearest Sailheads,

I'm thinking of moving my 35 foot sailboat to the Great Lakes area and a couple of obvious questions occur:

Do ya'll leave your boats in the water year round? Will getting froze into the ice damage a fiberglass boat?

What's the live aboard situation there? Do-able or verboten?

Yep. That's right. I'm a newcomer to the Great Lakes AND to operating in freshwater. So I'd be open to any and all thoughts on the matter, not necessarily directly related to these two questions.

Cheers!

Ed
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-09-2019
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Re: The low-down on Lake Michigan

Boats haul out as the lakes freeze. Ice and fiberglass do not play well together. Seeing as you Have to haul, live aboard is not really practical. I think you need to do some winter research.

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post #3 of 7 Old 12-09-2019
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Re: The low-down on Lake Michigan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Kinney View Post
Dearest Sailheads,

I'm thinking of moving my 35 foot sailboat to the Great Lakes area and a couple of obvious questions occur:

Do ya'll leave your boats in the water year round? Will getting froze into the ice damage a fiberglass boat?

What's the live aboard situation there? Do-able or verboten?

Yep. That's right. I'm a newcomer to the Great Lakes AND to operating in freshwater. So I'd be open to any and all thoughts on the matter, not necessarily directly related to these two questions.

Cheers!

Ed

You need at the very least a bubbler
How do you intend on dealing with your human waste?
Water?
Heat?


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post #4 of 7 Old 12-09-2019
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Re: The low-down on Lake Michigan

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Originally Posted by Ed Kinney View Post
Dearest Sailheads,

I'm thinking of moving my 35 foot sailboat to the Great Lakes area and a couple of obvious questions occur:
Ed
Can't say much about Lake Michigan but there are Quite a few liveaboard communities in Toronto. A bubbler keeps the water from freezing around your boat, SHrink wrap insulates and keeps the snow off (acts like a green house, water hoses are run under water, just pull it up when you want to fill your tanks, Every liveablard marina/yacht club that I know use portable pumpout carts. I've been doing this since 94' It's a good life.
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-10-2019
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Re: The low-down on Lake Michigan

I'm only betting that southern and northern Lake Michigan are different. Anyway, where there is a will there is a way, assuming there are marinas that accommodate winter liveaboards. You'd have to discuss the essentials with the marina, they all do it differently (water, power, waste). For example, some winter communities are as primitive as having a "water day", where everyone chains their hoses together and fills all tanks from shore.

I'd want to know how well the docks are cleared of snow and ice too.

I understand it could be an adventure. Personally, I could see giving it a try, but I think it would get old. I know a guy who lived aboard in Boston, which have real winters, but probably not nearly the same as LM. He did it for two seasons and gave it up. That marina required you to run a permanently installed hose from your holding tank deck fitting to an accessible place on the slip, so they could come around and pump out. It disconnected during a pump out once and bits and pieces were freezing before they could be fully cleaned up. I bet that reduced the attraction to winter living.


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post #6 of 7 Old 12-10-2019
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Re: The low-down on Lake Michigan

It's do-able, you just have to find a marina that allows it. You will want some type of enclosure as boatpoker has pictured. Bubblers are a must if you are in water.


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post #7 of 7 Old 12-10-2019
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Re: The low-down on Lake Michigan

I've posted this link before. It's not Lake Michigan, but it's the Mississippi in Minnesota which is even colder:
The Real Houseboats of the Mississippi

Quote:
His worst winter was when the sewage pump froze. On a boat, toilets don't flush the way they do in a condo. Instead, every few weeks, residents hook up a hose to their sewage tanks to "pump out." And one balmy November, someone on the dock forgot to drain the pump when he was done. The next person who went to use it found it frozen.

"We put propane heaters around it, we did everything we could," says Cherveny. "But nothing worked."

Until a brief February warm spot two months later, no one could use the bathroom in their house, and a line of live-aboards ran down the block to the Holiday first thing every morning.

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