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Old 12-06-2013, 08:05 PM   #1
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Question Winterizing boat in Alaska

Hi all,
I think I have finally found a boat. It is a private party sale. The (second) owners have contacted me directly through another forum and the boat is not listed on yacht world or any publication. Its a 1983 37ft fiberglass trawler. Its in Alaska. I have been sent a few high res pictures and everything seems in order so far.
BUT- The owners told me they winterized it and leave it at the slip during the winter and have the snow shoveled off of it as needed. I was told this is common for the area. But ALASKA? Being from New England, I am used to all pleasure craft being hauled out, winterized and shrink wrapped for the winter. What problems can arise from this kind of winter storage. The current owners told me that the harbor is deep and never freezes over, but I am concerned about ice damage on and around the deck and fittings from freezing ice.
Does anyone have some insight on this type of winter storage for me? The hull and decks are solid fiberglass - not cored, so that is a plus.
Are there problems I should be looking for before or during the survey that can arise from this type of winterization?

BTW The owners will be bringing the boat south to WA in the spring where I can then have it surveyed and purchase the vessel.
Thanks
Scott
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Old 12-06-2013, 09:32 PM   #2
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If the seawater doesn't freeze, then there is really no difference in keeping a trawler in the water or hauled out on land. All seawater and freshwater systems need to be winterized certainly. But snow, ice, snow/ice melt is going to be the same in the water or on the hard.

David
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Old 12-06-2013, 09:55 PM   #3
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Hi Scott, In NL we winterize every year, ie run RV antifreeze through the system and there is never an issue. As far as ice around the hull, that isn't too much of a concern however most cut the ice with a chainsaw just to keep it from being hard packed. If it is just loose ice drifting near the hull, then no issue being it glass. One thing is with a 'sea on' or rising and falling tide, it takes care of any hard pack stuff. Most of my buds do an haul out and some shrink and those that don't they keep the snow on the deck to a minimum. I haul mine out each year. Lots of guys will keep their boats in so they can visit the icebergs. It is never a panic, in or out, winterized or not ( if ran periodically ).
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Old 12-06-2013, 10:49 PM   #4
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My boat Willy is on the hard now and I'd much rather it was back in Alaska in the water. It froze 3" thick around the hull one year. Stepping aboard the boat didn't move 0010". Usually it dosn't as the Thorne River pumps a lot of fresh water into the bay near the harbor. But the relatively warm water around the hull (37 deg) is really warm compared to the projected temperature even here (12 deg) tonight. In the water is best as long as you don't sink.

Heavy snow can put a lot of weight on the boat and if it had a lot of other excessive weight like a lot of bilge water from a defective bilge pump it could be a problem but usually not.

Electrical outages can be troublesome depending in the specific location. We (for example) had lots of outages but almost never fo any length of time as the diesel generator remotely kicked in .. almost instantly.

WINDS can definitely be a problem. Need lots of fenders and redundant tight mooring lines.

Pics are of our first year in Thorne Bay. More snow came later.
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:28 AM   #5
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Winterizing in its slip is the typical way to keep a boat over winter.

My boat is winterized, but I leave the furnace on low for the winter to keep the boat dried out. I also have a boat watch to shovel snow and check on the boat weekly.

This year I left the boat the last week in September due to work shift changes, and am planning on going back to dewinterize it the first week in April. Normally I winterize the boat in late October though.
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Old 12-07-2013, 07:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
Winterizing in its slip is the typical way to keep a boat over winter.

My boat is winterized, but I leave the furnace on low for the winter to keep the boat dried out. I also have a boat watch to shovel snow and check on the boat weekly.

This year I left the boat the last week in September due to work shift changes, and am planning on going back to dewinterize it the first week in April. Normally I winterize the boat in late October though.
Kevin...you leave the Wallas furnaces on 24X7???? If you do...I guess have they have lasted well past the 2000 hr life expectancy of the fans. Any guess on the total 24 hr days they have lasted?
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:04 AM   #7
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In Whittier AK I always left my block heaters on and the heat from them kept the engine room warm and dry. Others leave a small electric heater on low and I never heard of them not being safe and effective. My opinion is that the boat did better in the water than frozen solid on the hard.
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:22 AM   #8
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Kevin...you leave the Wallas furnaces on 24X7???? If you do...I guess have they have lasted well past the 2000 hr life expectancy of the fans. Any guess on the total 24 hr days they have lasted?
I have the newer updated units with the 50,000 hour fans. They also have the newer control system as well.

My Three Wallas units have ran several months without an issue, but I do not know just how many months.

I installed them in fall 2011 and ran them summer of 2012 on and off, except I left them in ventilate mode all summer.
Then all of fall 2012, probably 2 months.
Spring 2013 two months
summer 2013 on and off, except in ventilate mode all summer.
On since September 21 2013

I'd guess I'm into four or five thousand hours of fan running time for at least two of the three units.

The only issue I've had is that I've burned out one igniter per furnace in that time. I think two in the salon furnace. I do not like the igniters burning out but otherwise they've been trouble free.

The first igniter was a pain because I did not know what was wrong so I deinstalled the whole furnace from behind my settee for testing. Now that I have figured out how to change them quickly I can do it in 15 minutes without deinstalling the unit.

People do not realize just how quite these furnaces are. My slip mate has a Hurricane furnace and it sounds like a jet turbine running next door. I was on his boat last summer and asked him if he was running his generator or engines, and he replied it was his furnace.
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:30 AM   #9
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Kitimat is south of Prince Rupert, but 60 miles inland up Douglas Channel, so it's alot colder than Rupert ever gets. The fresh water on top of the salt freezes regularly in winter, just as it is now at minus 13C (9F) which has been combining with 45 knot northly outflow winds at night. In January and February it can dip to -20C (-4F).

The PO never had any heat in the engine compartment, and never shut off his seacocks. He did have a couple small sources in the cabin. I couldn't believe the seawater below the thin layer of freshwater ice could heat the inside of the hull that much, so in our first winter (after getting the seacocks to close) I kept a thermometer down there until it got to -15C outside. It never went below freezing in the engine compartment. Weird...

Not wanting to continue testing the PO's theory, we put some heat down there.
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:40 AM   #10
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I also use electric heaters. When it gets into the low twenties I'll use a 500 to 1000 watt usually set on low.

But all winter long I use these.http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...SiteSearchView
I have 4 or 5 of the "air dryer w fan" things. They give out 50 to 75 watts of heat also. Several in a boat is more protection than you would think and they only draw 100 watts each.
When it gets below 25 I'll use the higher wattage heaters like the ones for 69.99 and 99.99.
I also have 2 "Goldenrod" heaters. Have no pic but they are about 3/4" in dia, colored shiny gold and 1 to 2' long. I permanently install them each winter and they are plugged in so they are always on when the power is on.

My boat on the hard now is fully winterized and has no heat at all. Several cabin windows are open 2" or so.
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Old 12-07-2013, 01:30 PM   #11
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People do not realize just how quite these furnaces are. My slip mate has a Hurricane furnace and it sounds like a jet turbine running next door. I was on his boat last summer and asked him if he was running his generator or engines, and he replied it was his furnace.[/QUOTE]

This wouldn't be the motorsailer a couple of berths over from yours? I heard the heater running on that one (looks like a Fisher but isn't) and was amazed at the noise level. The owner said it's very quiet inside and that I must have heard it when he lit it off. Rumor has it that it get's much quieter once up to temperature and that you can't hear it from inside...

I am going to install a forced air heater this spring, which Wallas models are you running? I am doing my research :-)
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:14 PM   #12
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So winterizing in the slip is ok. I guess my major concern was water getting into crevices on the deck and around fittings, freezing, then having damage caused by water refreezing and swelling. But this seems to not be an issue.

Also, is heat a requirement on boats that are winterized in the water , or is it just something to beat back the condensation/mold?
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:53 PM   #13
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This wouldn't be the motorsailer a couple of berths over from yours? I heard the heater running on that one (looks like a Fisher but isn't) and was amazed at the noise level. The owner said it's very quiet inside and that I must have heard it when he lit it off. Rumor has it that it get's much quieter once up to temperature and that you can't hear it from inside...

I am going to install a forced air heater this spring, which Wallas models are you running? I am doing my research :-)
That motorsailer is a great looking booat, or at least the stainless davits are really cool! Thst one seems to leave his furnace on year round.

The boat I'm refering to is the Bayliner 4788 Fancy Lady, right next to mine.

The furnaces we're running are the Wallas DT series. have a 30 DT dedicated for the lower cabins, a 30DT dedicated to the salon and a 24DT dedicated to the pilothouse.
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:56 PM   #14
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So winterizing in the slip is ok. I guess my major concern was water getting into crevices on the deck and around fittings, freezing, then having damage caused by water refreezing and swelling. But this seems to not be an issue.

Also, is heat a requirement on boats that are winterized in the water , or is it just something to beat back the condensation/mold?

I do it for the condensation but most boats do just fine with no heat.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:42 PM   #15
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We have a Wabasto and some people think that's noisy. Hardly hear it inside the boat. And I would never complain to another boat w one either. Some people are extremely noise sensitive. I am re those wind generators. I hate those things. Seems odd that the sailboat guys are sensitive to noise yet many have those wind generators.

My Wabasto exhaust is out the stern on a maximum length exhaust pipe of ten feet. I think they do offer mufflers for the exhaust but not sure. If so that would indicate that SOMBODY thinks they are noisy. I sure don't see or should I say hear the need myself but I almost never run the Wabasto at the float. Only under way and at anchor. The E-Spar is about the same I think.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:23 PM   #16
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I put my my boat on the hard in Valdez, Ak. I think a boat in the slip will be just fine as long as upkeep is done throughout the winter. (Snow removal , interior and bilge checks, etc. ) I wish I had left it in the slip this year as 80 mph winds swept off boat cover structure and cover.
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Old 12-08-2013, 01:29 PM   #17
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Yes 80mph winds are experienced in many to most places in SE AK.

Especially in Juneau.
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Old 12-08-2013, 01:50 PM   #18
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Yes 80mph winds are experienced in many to most places in SE AK.

Especially in Juneau.
Thats one great reason to leave your boat in the water.

The harbors are often more protected than one might think.

In Seward for example, the highest winds come out of the north. At the north end of the harbor is of course a high bank, surrounded by buildings.

The boats are not 100% protected, but they are far better off than in a boat yard on the north side of town.
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Old 12-08-2013, 02:38 PM   #19
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:26 PM   #20
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Elwin,
Are those carins or wood bins that make up most of the dock in the foreground filled with rocks? Seems to me I've seen that before. One day I'm going to drive all the way out to your area .. in the summer. Would like to go via Canada but I want to do the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
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