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Old 10-10-2019, 10:47 AM   #1
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Winterizing for PacNW

Hi All,
Iím starting to think about winterizing the boat, I didnít do anything last year and no issues but wondering if I should. I have a FW Washdown connection and an outdoor shower.
I was planning on leaving 1-2 of those oil filled 1500w heaters on board and a dehumidifier. I donít want to do anything extreme however as I still use her regularly.

1. Are those oil filled heaters the safest space heaters to use?
2. Any specific tricks or thoughts on the outside shower, etc? Since I have a FW flush system on the water maker shutting down/draining the water system isnít really an option.
3. Other things I should be thinking about?

Boat is located in Salt Water in Anacortes WA.

Thanks!!
AC
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:48 AM   #2
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How cold does it typically get during your winter weather?
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:01 AM   #3
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Who winterizes in the PNW? We cruise during the winter
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:27 AM   #4
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There are typically 10-20 sub freezing temp nights, I’m mostly worried about the outside shower. And totally agree with cruising during the winter!
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:33 AM   #5
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You could put a valve in the line that feeds the outside shower, shut it off and drain the line going out to it. And just keep it drained and valved off until the weather warms back up. That would let you leave the rest of the water system usable.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:43 AM   #6
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Our NT 37 is tied up in Poulsbo.

I fill fuel and water tanks, more thermal mass maybe helping to weather cold snaps. Plug engine room air intakes with ~4" diameter soft foam pipe insulation tubes. Close seacocks. Have two Caframo heaters set at a low heat level, and a good sized dehumidifier draining into the galley sink.

Pull mattresses away from the walls (they sit on Hypervent). Defrost and clean fridge and leave open. Open cabinet doors, engine and tank room hatches. Leave one small window open a crack.

Turn off FW pump (all other 12V stuff too), and open all faucets/outlets. I worry most about the cockpit shower, so in addition to leaving valves open I remove that showerhead from its hose.

Three winters so far with no damage, despite episodes of cold and snow last February.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:49 AM   #7
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In your climate where the coldest it ever gets is maybe the low twenties, while sitting in the water with two space heaters you don't need to do anything more. The sea water temps are higher than ambient air and that keeps the bilges from freezing. Your heater will keep the fresh water system from freezing and even without heat like a long term power outage I don't think it will get below freezing inside the cabin.



I wouldn't even worry about the outside shower and washdown. In Connecticut where we fully winterize our boats and pull them out for the winter, I often forgot about winterizing those. They came out fine.


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Old 10-10-2019, 11:56 AM   #8
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Arthur, I don't use our boat in winter, so I winterize more than winter cruisers do. I pickle the watermaker with food-grade glycol and a preservative, and blow out the water lines with compressed air and run potable antifreeze through the potable pump and the washdown pump. In the Bellingham area, there is an arctic northeast wind that blows down from Canada that dramatically increases the possibility of freeze damage. Despite this, many boats do little or no winterizing here. Just my preference.

Your outside shower is a concern for freezing. You could put a Y valve inside the boat and drain the exposed plumbing. Just a thought.
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:13 PM   #9
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I like the ideas on the shower, will likely install a valve and drain.
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCook View Post
Our NT 37 is tied up in Poulsbo.

I fill fuel and water tanks, more thermal mass maybe helping to weather cold snaps. Plug engine room air intakes with ~4" diameter soft foam pipe insulation tubes. Close seacocks. Have two Caframo heaters set at a low heat level, and a good sized dehumidifier draining into the galley sink.

Pull mattresses away from the walls (they sit on Hypervent). Defrost and clean fridge and leave open. Open cabinet doors, engine and tank room hatches. Leave one small window open a crack.

Turn off FW pump (all other 12V stuff too), and open all faucets/outlets. I worry most about the cockpit shower, so in addition to leaving valves open I remove that showerhead from its hose.

Three winters so far with no damage, despite episodes of cold and snow last February.
With the exception of not plugging ER vents, pretty much what we do in Sidney BC. We do add additional supports under Bimini/enclosure for that once per winter heavy wet snow.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:21 PM   #11
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Arthur,
Several years ago, (on a former boat), my outdoor shower head froze and cracked. The boat was moored at Point Roberts, Wa. Definitely set up your outside fixtures and lines so that they can be easily drained. If not, you could suffer damage, but as others have done, you may "get away" with it if you don't.

We don't use Pilitak in the winter, so I pretty much do the same as Richard Cook, but because I like to err on the side of safety, I also use the "good quality" (non alcohol based) RV antifreeze in the water system (not the tank or water heater they are drained) and in the raw water washdown. Definitely overkill, but hey, it's not costly and does not take that much time to do it. I also have a Wolverine oil pan heater (250 watt) on the main engine to keep it and the ER warm, dry, and low in humidity. A side benefit of the Wolverine is that (in cooler weather especially) the engine starts easier and definitely smokes less (at start up) than without it.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:43 PM   #12
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We liveaboard in the PNW and run the boat every 12 days or so (to the fuel dock and back to pump out), so all things are not necessarily equal. However, as mold is one of the biggest enemies we deal with (in terms of affecting people, not the boat itself) the only thing I would add to your idea of low-power heat and constant dehumidification is to use Kanberra Gel. Placed in various places throughout the boat it will help keep mold and mildew away. We've used it along with H2Out Space Dryers for 7 winters and we have no mold issues.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:51 PM   #13
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We've had good luck running our hydronic heating and keeping the interior warm and dry. Last winter I calculated the cost to be about $300 in diesel and I am happy with that.
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:04 PM   #14
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Fans are more effective in the PNW & BC than heaters. The Caframo heaters which are more expensive, but actually cheaper than a regular heater because the put out very little heat but also circulate the air which is more important. On my 27 Catalina sailboat I had one of these heaters and another heater but with the temperature set very low, something like 45 degrees, but it also had a fan which was always on.

On my current boat, I'd use one Caframo heater in the saloon area and a regular heater with fan on all the time set at 45 degrees in my V birth area, which is lower than the saloon (heat air rising would make it into the saloon). I'd also open up the bilge areas in the saloon and V birth location. Moving air is the secret.
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:05 PM   #15
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First, are you moored in salt water or fresh.

If you are moored in the saltwater, you have nothing to worry about, water temperature is very constant at 45 to 50 degrees year round. A garden hose left hooked to water and laying on the dock will freeze. Never heard of anything inside the boat freezing.

The fresh water does get colder so I would suggest draining the fresh water lines, I wouldn’t worry about the tank, the two heaters will be fine.
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:50 PM   #16
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Iíve absolutely had freeze damage on my fresh water system in prior years. Busted copper or pushed apart pex. Not very often, but it absolutely does happen some years. Very rarely issues in the engine compartment in salt water, but my lazarette with two generators, salt water pump, it freezes every year, so I always winterize my generators.

If you sit in fresh water, example port of Everett where the river flushed out much of the salt, engine rooms can freeze when the marina freezes over. Up in Anacortes, I donít worry much.

I run a dehumidifier and a few very low power dryers under the sinks.

I worry, a ton, about slip mates who run one or two plug in ceramic heaters. They will end up pulling about 22 amps on a 30amp marinco cable. The corroded plug overheats and then itís only luck that determines whether they burn down the marina and my boat along with them. Every year we have a fire, itís just whether itís on your dock or someone elseís. Scares me a lot.

I have an infrared camera I walk my dock with looking for the glowing cords when it gets cold.

So freezing is not the end of the world around here, but the down side is that there is no simple answer, and lots of folks who donít think about it much.

Just donít plan to run more than 15 amps on a 30 amp cable if you are not there at the time. Thatís my simple rule.
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:42 PM   #17
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We keep Blue Sky, a Nordic Tug 42, at the dock here in Campbell River, where the ocean temperature never goes below 5 C. We have no external water fittings to worry about, but I do set up two Caframo heater/fans whenever I'm away from Blue Sky. One in the forward landing area and set up so that the airflow is split between the adjacent stateroom and head. The second is set up similarly between the guest stateroom and head. Works great. This is done every time I leave the boat, with the only difference being that I set them at higher heat in the winter, and in the warmer months they are set more just for fan speed.
Be very careful about the heater(s) you select. In Canada they have to be CSA approved to be used on a boat. If they are not, and something happens on the boat, even if the heater is not involved, your insurance will probably be void.
When I researched this a while back, oil filled heaters were not CSA approved. That may have changed.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:20 PM   #18
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I use a heater but I do not depend upon the built in Tstat but use a 3000 watt unit meant for baseboard heaters. Well able to safely controll the heater on/off.

I don't agree about the safe to leave outside hoses. They can freeze. Granted we don't get frequent cold , serious freezing, but I have had my galley lines freeze untill I learned to leave the galley doors open to get a bit of heat into the locker.

I also drain off any pressure in the water lines.

I winterize seriously though because we do not use the boat in winter any longer. Even though I am down several times a week at least , chores and just check on it, I don't want to repair something that I could have avoided.

And just a warning to those who think we can't get serious freezes, we do and can. Not often, but it has happened and it can get darned expensive.

I now live in Gibsons, B.C., used to live in Burnaby, B.C. and have lived here my entire life so I have seen plenty of those freezes. Once in a real blue moon there may be a power outage. In this case usually not for long but who knows.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghost View Post
I worry, a ton, about slip mates who run one or two plug in ceramic heaters. They will end up pulling about 22 amps on a 30amp marinco cable. The corroded plug overheats and then itís only luck that determines whether they burn down the marina and my boat along with them. Every year we have a fire, itís just whether itís on your dock or someone elseís. Scares me a lot.

I have an infrared camera I walk my dock with looking for the glowing cords when it gets cold.

So freezing is not the end of the world around here, but the down side is that there is no simple answer, and lots of folks who donít think about it much.

Just donít plan to run more than 15 amps on a 30 amp cable if you are not there at the time. Thatís my simple rule.
Two very good ideas!
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:04 AM   #20
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Thanks for the advice all, I’m going to deal with the outdoor shower and that’s about it, my 2 heaters (oil filled 1500w) ones plus dehumidifiers seem to work well. I’m 50a and only pull about 10 with everything on.
I like the idea of looking for hot cords although I’m rarely around to do it, good use for the flir
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