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Old 12-29-2020, 01:38 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by rsn48 View Post
What does the marina owner think of onboard heaters? Not much, I would guess. Dangerous and expensive, for someone.

The one fight I had with a marina - Sewell's Marina to be exact - with an electrical bill for my Catalina 27 which was a 1974 (translation: very little electrical stuff on the boat, period). I had the equivalent of the heater I just turned on and set for automatic shut on and off at roughly 4C. Realize this is Horseshoe Bay (for you locals) and the winters are not long and extended even when they do happen, winds are another story.

I got this crazy bill for two months of electrical use in the hundreds of dollars. What these idiots would do is take a reading of about ten seconds and extrapolate that as to your usage over 24/7. I told the woman I had a heater, set at 600 watts that was off most of the time. I told her it was like me coming to her house, testing and seeing the furnace was on and assume the furnace was one 24/7 and charging that way. I won that battle.

Heaters are used on boats all over the planet, not sure where the comment is coming from. When I popped the main circuit breaker for my spot, I talked to the manager who had to come and show me how to throw it back. She thought it was because of a heater I had on, but she didn't say anything like "don't do it."
Heaters are not very common here in New England. Almost all boats are pulled for the winter, winterized, and stored on land. My marina has a strict rule about no boat being plugged in when nobody is on board. Electrical fire hazard. If the boat is winterized there is no need for a heater. And even with a heater, it would be prudent to winterize in case of power failure. Even indoor heated winter storage places winterize boats for that reason.
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Old 12-29-2020, 01:49 PM   #22
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The bays freeze over here during cold snaps (fresh water at surface from nearby creeks) but salt water doesn't. I'd say 75% of the boats are still in their slips at the marina, and about 50% of those have tarps over them all winter...the rest use their boats all year.

Everybody has some sort of electrical device aboard.
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Old 12-29-2020, 02:17 PM   #23
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The bays freeze over here during cold snaps (fresh water at surface from nearby creeks) but salt water doesn't. I'd say 75% of the boats are still in their slips at the marina, and about 50% of those have tarps over them all winter...the rest use their boats all year.

Everybody has some sort of electrical device aboard.
Maybe I should have added that boats that are left in the water here during winter (very uncommon) can remain plugged into shore power. They would also need bubblers under the water to keep the water from freezing. The only people who do this are full time live-aboards who stay put rather than heading south. For the majority of us, the boat gets hauled and winterized and no electricity hook ups allowed. There is really no active boating during the winter other than commercial.
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Old 12-29-2020, 02:37 PM   #24
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Here's our marina, at about -20C with ice starting to build out from shore. Our boat is in an outer slip, so never freezes in.

The channel is steaming because it's so warm compared to the air. That's the Pacific Ocean radiant heat source effect in full display.
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Old 12-29-2020, 03:09 PM   #25
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In southern BC and northern Washington, to me the biggest "winter" issue is keeping mould and mildew from starting, and keeping the development of rust out of the ER.
By using a 200 watt oil pan heater (24/7), I keep the engine (especially the oil) nice and warm, which radiates some heat into the ER keeping the whole room somewhat warm but definitely dry. An added benefit is when starting the engine, the oil is already warm, reducing any incidental wear from the initial "lack of lube", and also makes for an easier, cleaner cold start.

To keep mildew and mould at bay, running a dehumidifier helps greatly, along with good air movement. Adding a small amount of heat does not hurt either.
I forgot to "winterize" the cockpit shower on my sailboat one year, and the shower head cracked that year from freeze damage. So it can happen, especially where external water "items" are not winterized.
I do agree, that around this area, it would be a very, very rare occurrence to have engine damage occur from freezing saltwater in the cooling system where a boat was kept in the water. However, if I were going to store my boat on the hard, I would winterize the raw water cooling side to be safe (even here).
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Old 12-29-2020, 05:36 PM   #26
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Maybe this should be a separate thread, but when does it make sense to winter in the water vs. land? My boating season is basically May-Oct.
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Old 12-29-2020, 05:45 PM   #27
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Maybe this should be a separate thread, but when does it make sense to winter in the water vs. land? My boating season is basically May-Oct.
When you do not have a boat trailer of your own big enough to pull it out.
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Old 12-29-2020, 05:53 PM   #28
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When you do not have a boat trailer of your own big enough to pull it out.
Maybe it's different where you are, but here you will be charged extra for wintering in your slip. Slip rentals are generally April to November. You also need to rent bubblers, pay electricity, etc. Unless you need to live aboard during the winter, it doesn't make sense to stay in the water. It's also good to do a yearly haul-out for bottom cleaning, painting, and inspection. If I lived somewhere that I could boat all year, I would probably have a different perspective.
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Old 12-29-2020, 06:08 PM   #29
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Maybe it's different where you are, but here you will be charged extra for wintering in your slip. Slip rentals are generally April to November. You also need to rent bubblers, pay electricity, etc. Unless you need to live aboard during the winter, it doesn't make sense to stay in the water. It's also good to do a yearly haul-out for bottom cleaning, painting, and inspection. If I lived somewhere that I could boat all year, I would probably have a different perspective.
Correct, then you should ask the question for your location specific. For you on the hard as soon as you stop using until you start again.
I answered my location specific, it stays in the water, ready to go, albeit, without the need for an air conditioner.
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Old 12-29-2020, 06:53 PM   #30
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We clearly don't have the issue now, but we were in very similar circumstances when we lived on the lake. We used the boat anytime decent which basically meant any weekend in the 40's or above. People on our lake would get lulled to sleep as many years you could do nothing and be fine. Some winterized, some used pet cocks to drain inboard outboard engines. Our approach was heat. We fully enclosed the boat and set up heaters to keep it a minimum of 60 degrees inside and in the engine compartment. Likely overkill but we discovered there was so little difference in keeping it 60 degrees and in keeping it 50. The sun through the glass and plastic windows provided a lot of heat. We liked the comfort that if the power went out it wasn't immediately going to freeze. I've also used insulating wraps over the engine. We did have alarms to let us know if we lost power.

What we found was that freezes weren't going to happen in our areas unless there were several days that the temperature failed to reach freezing or there were real extremes. Yes, warm water temperatures helped but they didn't prevent. Most years I never heard of a engines freezing and I first figured it was people winterizing. Then one winter I heard of hundreds freezing with 10, 20, even 50 in the same marina. All the people who said it "never gets that cold" found out. I know one dry dock storage unit which was racks indoors but no heat and they made everyone sign if they declined winterizing. Good thing they did. I always felt the only reason they didn't heat the facility was the money they made winterizing, then reversing in the spring.
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Old 12-29-2020, 07:18 PM   #31
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Maybe this should be a separate thread, but when does it make sense to winter in the water vs. land? My boating season is basically May-Oct.
Okay...I started another thread: https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...tml#post958852
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Old 12-29-2020, 09:40 PM   #32
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Don't winterize while in the water in the PNW - although I don't use the boat in winter as much as in the past.

Regarding electrical heaters, I presently use the Caframo heater in the aft bilge at the 600 watt setting (no higher). The heat takes care of the under deck area, as well as slightly warming the main cabin.

In the engine room, I've tried three different pan heaters over the years, and all failed within 24 months of each other. Whereas the effect of heating the pan/engine was good, they were unreliable, and probably a fire hazard due to their high relative heat.

Presently, use a non-fan Davis Air Dryr 1000 – 130 watts under the engine - it creates low level level heat that keeps condensation from forming. It's not much of a starting aid for engines that need supplemental heat.

On another boat many years ago, I used a 500W engine coolant heater, which was very dependable. The immersed coil provides a certain level of safety.

Like many here, I use a 33 liter dehumidifier to keep moisture at bay. It's only drawback is the 5-6 amps of AC power, and the fact that it doesn't work very well under 55 deg F.

For many years I was a fan of the oil filled heaters, only using them on their lowest heat setting. Then, a sailboat at a local marina had one start a fire from the heater's control panel.

There is no heater that is infallible.
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Old 12-30-2020, 12:43 AM   #33
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I don't particularly winterize, for the reasons mentioned above here in the PNW. BUT, the thing I forget to do, and pay the price for, is drain the cockpit shower. The lines don't freeze but I've had to replace the fixture once and the handle a couple times. Stupid me.
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Old 12-30-2020, 01:14 PM   #34
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Your issue is the maximum of 15amps of hydro power.
I expect you will be leaving your charger on, in case your bilge pumps come on, if for no other reason. What does it draw?
For reference only, mine draws up to 15 amps, though likely only if the batteries are just plugged in and are low. The spec sheet gives no further information. But the caution is there, you don't want both your 600w (600w/1500w=40%) and your charger, (1500w/1500w=100%) on at the same time, or your breaker will blow and remain off until your next visit.
I my view, the charger and the bilge pumps are far more important than a heater.

I Vancouver, where my boat winters in the water, we get ice on the water every few years, as the water in Coal Harbour has a layer of fresh on top of the salt.
Since I retired, this is the first winter I have been around, so Retreat has had to survive without regular visits. My kids drop in occasionally, as do a couple of friends. I have kept this boat in that marina since I bought it, in 1994, and I know also that it was kept in Vancouver, either in a shelter at RVYC or open moorage at Mosquito creek (also fresh water on top) since new in 1980. In all that time, the most heat in the ER has been on my watch. I keep the water tank on at all times. I keep the charger on at all times. Both generate heat. The cabin floor is insulated, the fuel tanks are outside the engines, and in contact with the hull, so will be at or close to the temp of the sea water, even without the heat sources. I keep them full. After a few months without use, the temp in the ER will have dropped to ambient, but for the heat from the 2 sources I have there. I have never bothered to measure that temp, but in every case, when I have checked in the ER in the winter, it was noticeably warmer than the cabin above.
Some here have disputed the practice of leaving the hot water on. Whenever I have put my hand on the hoses and fittings on the outside of the HW, they are hot, so I know that radiant heat is coming off them and warming the ER. Likewise the charger. It may cycle, though I can't recall a time that I didn't hear it, so long as power wsa available to keep it on.
I use a heater like you have suggested, but I have it in the aft cabin, to keep mould away. I also use a lower wattage unit in the forepeak, for the same purpose. Neither of those puts out enough to keep the main cabin warm.
I have been doing safety inspections at RVYC for over 25 years. The things we Inspectors are trained to worry about begin with power cords. We check both the main supply cord and its connections and every space heater. The most frequently blamed sources of fire at marinas are electrical. Both the main power connection and all heater cords inside the boat. One thing is sure, if you don't have a heater with a large draw, you are much less likely to have a fire.
In your present situation, with only 15 amps to play with, I would leave the charge on and maybe a single incandescent light in the ER, full tanks (assuming yours are in the ER) and relax.
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Old 01-01-2021, 04:13 PM   #35
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I have the Victron smart charger. Even though my boat is out of refit, effective this past August, things are still being worked on in my boat, stuff that should work and not working or working poorly. This past few days ago, I finally had my Oceanaire 9 1/2 RIB and Seawise Davits added to the boat. I was talking to the tech guy installing the RIB et. al. and we discussed this very issue of 15 amps.

I had turned off the charger and he didn't recommend this avenue, but note: I have had my fridge on since August. So I cleaned out the fridge and shut it off, this to reduce amps. The techie said the Victron would only use a couple of amps as the state of charge was in float mode, not like I had just returned from a trip and need to "bulk up" so to speak.

I have an Efoy and we discussed whether to turn the charger off and leave the Efoy on, it is off right now. My cheap self ($100 canister) wants to only use Efoy on the hook in this off season time. so I can see going over to Grace Harbour and Squirrel's Cove (both pretty protected from the worst of the winds) and relying on Efoy. I have solar but I know the panels aren't that helpful in our shorter days and heavy clouds we are experiencing right now.

I am toying with adding a fan to the mix but keeping it on a lower setting.

Fortunately for me, I lived in a travel trailer at the RV park by the Lion's Gate Bridge decades ago when I decided I didn't want to help some landlord get wealthier while I remained poorer. So my wife and I bought a brand new 35 foot fifth wheel which we lived in and paid down by Park Royal; this money at sale time of the RV to be our down payment for a house. This was back in late 70's and the RV park at the time only had 15 amps. You can imagine how many times I flicked off the circuit breaker before I got a handle on what draws how many amps.

I don't like having 15 amps but it is teaching me how to use less power while still using a toaster, microwave and tv. Oh and the Espar diesel heater which draws a lot of juice when you add in the three fans to the mix.

Fortunately I have 6 new firefly batteries so they will be able to take some abuse which they were designed for.

As the dredging gets closer to done, I will be lobbying for a 30 amp slot.
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Old 01-01-2021, 08:30 PM   #36
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Kevin, courious as to what type of t-stat you use for remotely turning on and off?
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Old 01-02-2021, 12:38 PM   #37
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I keep my boat on a canal behind my house. Like you, my area normally does not freeze for long lengths of time. Although at times, it has. So it is prudent to be prepared. I go a bit overboard by winterizing (anti-freeze)my entire system, including engines and genset. This way, if I am away, I do not have to worry about a power outage.

To lengthen the season I do use an XTreme Heater (600 watts) for the engine room. https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=6599190

My problem though is more with condensation than with freezing. I have skylights and large windows, so the water just builds up to a point where it drips from the ceiling. I started using three low power David Dehumidifiers, which works great, keeping condensation to a minimum. https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=1558066

I am going to check out the Wolverine oil pan heaters mentioned earlier.
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Old 01-02-2021, 12:47 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehoser75 View Post
In southern BC and northern Washington, to me the biggest "winter" issue is keeping mould and mildew from starting, and keeping the development of rust out of the ER.
By using a 200 watt oil pan heater (24/7), I keep the engine (especially the oil) nice and warm, which radiates some heat into the ER keeping the whole room somewhat warm but definitely dry. An added benefit is when starting the engine, the oil is already warm, reducing any incidental wear from the initial "lack of lube", and also makes for an easier, cleaner cold start.

To keep mildew and mould at bay, running a dehumidifier helps greatly, along with good air movement. Adding a small amount of heat does not hurt either.
I forgot to "winterize" the cockpit shower on my sailboat one year, and the shower head cracked that year from freeze damage. So it can happen, especially where external water "items" are not winterized.
I do agree, that around this area, it would be a very, very rare occurrence to have engine damage occur from freezing saltwater in the cooling system where a boat was kept in the water. However, if I were going to store my boat on the hard, I would winterize the raw water cooling side to be safe (even here).
I have had some really bad degradation on the port side of my port engine. (Not sure why so isolated to this area), It was bad enough where I had to have all of the fittings related to the fuel pump and throttle linkage replaced.
I wonder if the oil pan heater could help with this. Definitely worth looking into.
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Old 01-02-2021, 01:39 PM   #39
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I have skylights and large windows, so the water just builds up to a point where it drips from the ceiling

I've spent many days in the off season staying on my boat for multiple overnights but I haven't full timed it. But.............. I have full timed it in RVs, multiple RVs. And what you describe is a common problem with them. The RV top hatch sizes are standardized so you can go purchase a cushion type thing that just pops into the hatch space. I used to make my own insulated board, cut from insulation board. Sometimes the crappy insulation that comes with purchased products can work a wee better as those larger bubbles give a bit more play.

Go to your local RV supply store and asked them for suggestions. I have a hatch which I will probably be doing the same type of solution. Or... go into an RV forum and ask there for the solutions that work for them.
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Old 01-02-2021, 02:12 PM   #40
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I have had some really bad degradation on the port side of my port engine. (Not sure why so isolated to this area), It was bad enough where I had to have all of the fittings related to the fuel pump and throttle linkage replaced.
I wonder if the oil pan heater could help with this. Definitely worth looking into.
I am not sure if it will help with that, but it won't hurt.

Check out sbmar.com on both the forums and especially under Tony's tips for info on the effectiveness of these "engine warmers".
I am not associated with this business, but am happy to learn from all of their experience and knowledge.
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