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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've always spent winters on the hard, but the local boatyard has started offering winters in the water. This is in lake champlain, at the canadian border, so it gets cold. They aerate the water around the docks - it doesn't freeze.

My question is what happens inside the boat. How do I keep the seacocks from freezing and breaking and sinking my boat? I can winterize the engine and head. It's the intakes that scare me...
 

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You have to get all water out of the intakes and either remain empty or filled with antifreeze. Still a good idea to quick haul for bottom maintenance, zincs, etc. Could be done then.

I've considered it too over the years, but there is a reason in-water winter storage is cheaper. Much harder on boat. Your hull likes to dry out once a year. Imagine what happens if the bubbler fails or it loses power. Yikes.

Be sure you are insured for in water storage too, which will increase your premium.
 

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I've lived onboard year round for 20yrs. near Toronto. Insurance will be at a modest premium however no insurance company will cover you for any freeze related damage.
If a seacock freezes and bursts ....... its on your dime.

No marina (up north) that I have heard of will allow in-water winter storage unless you are a full time liveaboard. The risk is just too high for someone who only visits their boat occasionally.
 

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Huh. I'll call my insurer tomorrow. The marina folks suggest that in-water storage is better for the boat - more consistent temperature, less condensation, and no pressure points on the hull where it sits on jackstands. I know I could easily drain the water from the intakes after the seacock, my real question is about the couple inches of thru-hull before the seacock. No way to keep water out of that, and in theory it shouldn't ever be colder than the surrounding water, which isn't going to freeze, but it still worries me. Gaines Marina - Lake Champlain Marina - Rouses Point, New York. Full Service Marina on Lake Champlain.
 

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We really need automatic picture resizing on this forum. Ironically, other forums owned by the same company have it.

Anyway, your marina is right about one thing. A boat would rather be on its hull than on stands. However, on balance, being on the hard is better. Dries the hull, no fender rash from the stronger and denser winter winds and none of the risks that concern you and should. Bubblers can fail, things can freeze, docklines break, stuff can just happen because you aren't there often enough to fend it off.

I will bet it costs less to store in the water, right? If it was so much better overall, wouldn't it cost more? Sounds to me like they are trying to make room on the hard.
 

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If the water freezes, the last thing you have to worry are the thruhulls. Inside the boat the temperature will be a lot higher than that of outside.
... But only if you heat the inside. Otherwise, the inside of the boat will be warmed by the 33 degree water below, when the air temp is below zero.

Would be worth installing a small heater. They have ones for marine use that are sometimes call a dehumidifier.

When we kept the boat in the water through the winter of 2011-2012, I put a webcam on board and put a thermometer, fan, and oil-filled-type heater within view of it. See the post here:

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/694032-post41.html

You can use a watt meter to keep track of your electricity, if the marina has issues with using a heater.

Regards,
Brad
 

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Igloo's are built from ice and the temperature inside is much higher. If you really think to heat the boat, a 100 W lamp might be all you need.

Another important point: Freezing water generally does not break the holder if there is enough air (or place to expand) available. If you want proof check the picture of milk bottles, in this thread.
 

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...Another important point: Freezing water generally does not break the holder if there is enough air (or place to expand) available. If you want proof check the picture of milk bottles, in this thread.
I would be very careful about making statements like that. An emulsion like milk will go through a slushy amorphous phase that allows it to expand gradually before becoming rock hard. That's what allows it to ooze out the top before it's fully frozen. OTOH, pure water in the absence of mixing goes directly to hard crystal.

Whether water will burst its container depends a lot on the shape of the container. Water in a long, narrow cylinder could very well burst the container as it pushes out radially. Definitely true for pipes, but also true for tall cylindrical bottles and, unfortunately, square tanks. I suspect that pure water in those glass milk bottles would burst the bottles.

If it's in a sloped container that's larger at the top, it will tend to expand upward and not burst (ice cube trays).

In the winter I empty my 13 gallon water tank as much as possible (there's about a gallon I can't get out), then I add antifreeze (not fully effective because of the water dilution), and I stick a 2x4 under one end to create a sloped bottom to make the shape more like an ice cube tray than a perfect cylinder.
 

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I've lived onboard year round for 20yrs. near Toronto. Insurance will be at a modest premium however no insurance company will cover you for any freeze related damage.
If a seacock freezes and bursts ....... its on your dime.

No marina (up north) that I have heard of will allow in-water winter storage unless you are a full time liveaboard. The risk is just too high for someone who only visits their boat occasionally.
No personal experience with this yet, although I am considering leaving the boat in the water this coming winter (somewhere in the Maritimes). As BP says, I know there are lots of people who leave their boats in the water up on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario. However, these are year round live-a-boards. But I have found some yards in the Maritimes that seem to allow in-water storage without having people living on board.
 

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In the winter I empty my 13 gallon water tank as much as possible (there's about a gallon I can't get out), then I add antifreeze (not fully effective because of the water dilution), and I stick a 2x4 under one end to create a sloped bottom to make the shape more like an ice cube tray than a perfect cylinder.
I had a similar problem in my forward water tank because it's sloped the wrong way. However, after draining the tank normally, I now use a shop vac to get out the last gallon or so of the water that's left behind. With the tank completely dry, I then add the antifreeze and run it through the hoses. That ensures I'm not pumping diluted antifreeze through the system. Last step is to vacuum out the antifreeze from the water tank that would otherwise just be sitting there. I'd rather have the tanks completely dry (and the antifreeze left in the hoses.)
 

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It's a good idea to test your results.

When I'm done winterizing, I fill a ziplock back with a few ounces from the galley sink faucet. When I get home I put it in the freezer, which is at 0 degrees F -- colder than it ever gets around here. If the liquid in the ziplock bag doesn't freeze, I know my fresh water system is protected.

Ditto for engine antifreeze after I change it out.

Usually it only gets a bit slushy.

Regards,
Brad
 

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We are going into our third winter in Alaska. We keep our boat in the water and ready to go at all times - water and fuel tanks full. When we are not on the boat, we run an electric dehumidifier that is basically a low output heater with a fan. With a larger boat you might need two.

No problems. Of course we are in salt water which will not freeze.

The only real concern is the icebergs that occasionally drift down the narrows from the Stikine and find their way into the harbor where they can inflict severe damage on boats moored in the outer berths.
 
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