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Old 01-12-2017, 10:33 PM   #1
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Freezing Liveaboard in PNW

Questions from a newbie wannabe to those experienced die hard liveaboards in PNW:
What preparations do you make to deal with ongoing subfreezing temps if and when the marina shut the water off for weeks at a time?
Thank you in advance for your answers
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:39 PM   #2
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When I know there is a freeze coming, I fill the boat tank. Since I own my own dock, I drain the dock water lines and blow them out. I then can refill my tanks mid day when it warms up, but I have to drain the dock lines again.


Crusty Chief had to run his water maker when the marina shut the water off...
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:50 PM   #3
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Fill your water tank every day until it is turned off. Empty the holding tank before the freeze. Plan ahead.

Surprisingly it was not turned off when it started freezing for some unknown reason (Blaine Marina). And weather guessers are saying a heat wave is coming this weekend (mid 40's).
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Old 01-13-2017, 10:55 AM   #4
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For the second time this year we currently have the water shut off in Friday Harbor. The marina has been sending out a email or calling to let us know when the water is being turned off. They also fly a special flag at the head of the dock to warn about impending water shut off.

Fortunately for us we can hold enough water for two weeks as long as we conserve, and we also have a water maker although I would not want to use it in the marina. The worst thing so far has been the slippery ice on the docks. The other night it blew over 50 mph and the waves were breaking over the dock, then that water froze. Personally I have fallen down three times so far. My knee's are killing me!! If I didn't have two dogs to walk every day I would probably not leave the boat.
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Old 01-13-2017, 10:59 AM   #5
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Greetings,
Slip Resistant Footwear from Jordan David. All Traction Footwear for Reducing Slips and Falls | Winter Walking | Winter Walking
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:19 AM   #6
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I realize we are getting in to thread creep here but I wonder if felt soled boots such as river waders use would be effective on icy docks.? At least they wouldn't involve cleats or spikes. Back to the OP my marina installed bypass valves at all the dock faucets allowing water to flow and not freeze in the pipes.
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:21 AM   #7
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Here is what my buddy who lives aboard in NC which probably has a similar winter climate to the PNW does to stay warm and watered on his 45' CHB pilothouse trawler:

He tapes plastic film inside all windows to create a double pane. He tapes the door to the cockpit that he doesn't use in the winter to block air leaks.

He hangs a curtain in the passage from the main salon to the pilot house to conserve heat in the salon.

For water, he hooks a couple of hoses together and connects it to a frost free water hose outlet on shore to fill his tanks. Afterwards he walks the hose to drain the water for next time.

In that environment he experiences 15 deg over night temps once or twice each winter and gets by fine with a 8,000 btu/hr propane heater in the main salon (but turns it off at bedtime) and reverse cycle heat in the forward berth. Once three winters ago the outside water froze hard and the reverse cycle raw water froze up. After a few days it warmed and we thawed it out with a hair dryer played on the thru hull and it worked fine afterwards. Some reverse cycle systems have a temperature shutdown at 40 deg water temp and those would be shutdown for weeks at a time in even a mild winter.

Good luck and stay warm.

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Old 01-13-2017, 11:29 AM   #8
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Most of the time docks in this area will shut down the water only as needed. Usually, this will only be for a couple of weeks at a time at the most. A lot depends on how diligent the dockmaster is at returning water service when the weather permits.

Keep in mind that Puget Sound is a big area and temperatures can vary widely North to South.

As others have said, in the winter keep your tanks full, particularly if you anticipate a period of cold temps. I can hold 350 gallons of water which lasts a surprising lot long time if you are careful.
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:34 AM   #9
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RTF, those non-siip thingies look like they would work great. Tough on gelcoat but also tough on the ice.
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:45 AM   #10
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When we were in Maryland, they had a designated frost-free outlet that was covered near the travel lift. We kept our engines warm all winter with designated heaters in the engine room and oil pan heaters so we could drive over and fill up during the freezing months. We can go about 2 weeks between fill ups if we shower in the shore heads. This also left us ready to go for cruises on the nicer winter days.
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:46 AM   #11
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Sorry for contributing to the thread creep, but...

For traction on ice, put a pair of old wool socks OVER your shoes. Works great!

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Old 01-13-2017, 01:10 PM   #12
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Every thing is fine up here in the NW until someone turns the breaker off on your shore power.... If your not around it creates several problems
The only upside is my electric bill was much smaller than normal.
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Old 01-13-2017, 02:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ka_sea_ta View Post
Every thing is fine up here in the NW until someone turns the breaker off on your shore power.... If your not around it creates several problems
The only upside is my electric bill was much smaller than normal.
That sucks. Believe I would be having a pointed talk with the marina and if there was any damage, be giving the marina that bill...
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Old 01-13-2017, 03:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ka_sea_ta View Post
Every thing is fine up here in the NW until someone turns the breaker off on your shore power.... If your not around it creates several problems
The only upside is my electric bill was much smaller than normal.
I understand the need to protect water lines from frezzing. But what's the reasoning behind cutting off shore power to the docks? Do they at least give you a courtesy notice that it's coming?
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Old 01-13-2017, 05:23 PM   #15
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Marinas giving notice or admitting to cutting off your power is hit or miss....


Definitely miss at my marina and a few others I have stayed at. Just the other day I saw a diver not sure which power CB to turn off between my boat and the boat he was cleaning. After nearly a minute (about 55 seconds too long for me to be comfy) he chose correctly. If he hadn't and things tripped when he turn the wrong one back on but aboard the boat...who would know and take the blame?


I guess ultimately being metered and lock your power post would be great....but if they turn the whole dock off...you can still get screwed.
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GANDK2PNW View Post
I understand the need to protect water lines from frezzing. But what's the reasoning behind cutting off shore power to the docks? Do they at least give you a courtesy notice that it's coming?
It wasn't the marina, I suspect that it was a new neighbor that moved on board a few months ago. we share a power pedestal that has our breakers and theirs in it , ours are clearly identified with our slip number but some people have comprehension issues . We have our own power pedestal on our side of the finger but it only has the power receptacle .... We are snow birds and found out about the power being shut off to the boat when we got our moorage bill...The issue is the boat has been without power for more than a month... So in freezing temps the boat had no heat or dehumidefier and the batteries were flat. Fortunately the water lines were all drained and the bilges were dry...
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:50 PM   #17
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djmarchand wrote;
"In that environment he experiences 15 deg over night temps once or twice each winter and gets by fine with a 8,000 btu/hr propane heater in the main salon (but turns it off at bedtime) and reverse cycle heat in the forward berth. Once three winters ago the outside water froze hard and the reverse cycle raw water froze up. After a few days it warmed and we thawed it out with a hair dryer played on the thru hull and it worked fine afterwards. Some reverse cycle systems have a temperature shutdown at 40 deg water temp and those would be shutdown for weeks at a time in even a mild winter."

My heater is 7000btu and won't keep our Willard 30 very warm in temperatures much below freezing. May be our lack of insulation though.
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:59 PM   #18
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Greetings,
Mr. NW. "...won't keep our Willard 30 very warm in temperatures much below freezing."

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Old 01-13-2017, 11:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ka_sea_ta View Post
It wasn't the marina, I suspect that it was a new neighbor that moved on board a few months ago. we share a power pedestal that has our breakers and theirs in it , ours are clearly identified with our slip number but some people have comprehension issues . We have our own power pedestal on our side of the finger but it only has the power receptacle .... We are snow birds and found out about the power being shut off to the boat when we got our moorage bill...The issue is the boat has been without power for more than a month... So in freezing temps the boat had no heat or dehumidefier and the batteries were flat. Fortunately the water lines were all drained and the bilges were dry...
Best to have someone who also moors where you do, who can check your boat when checking their own. This way, any marina or neighbour inspired surprises can be mitigated.

We moor among a number of snowbirds and wannabees, who still don't get away. Consequently the only problem we have had these past several winters is someone forgetting to replace the key in its usual "hiding" spot.
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Old 01-14-2017, 02:17 AM   #20
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Only used the water maker once in the last 10 days, now I put a short hose on the spigot and let it dribble. So far it's working. But, next few days will get in the low 20s high teens.
Who would have thought in Portland it would get this cold. Shoveled the snow yesterday, about 10 inches, damn near slipped in the water this morning. Thank god for the hurricane heater.
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