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Old 10-17-2020, 06:02 PM   #1
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Wintering in the PNW

Hi All,
We cruised our boat from San Diego to the Puget Sound this summer and plan to winter in Seattle. Since this is our first time living aboard and cruising in such a cold climate I was wondering if there is anything special we need to do to the boat while she’s in the water for the winter? We’ll be onboard and still cruising on nice days but curious if there is anything we need to do to protect the various systems?
Thanks for you help,
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:18 PM   #2
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Since you are living aboard, I assume you have one or more forms of heat, and will keep the boat warm all the time? If that's the case, I don't think you have much of anything to worry about.


The only thing I'd check and keep an eye on are any external sinks or hose bibs that might freeze. It very much depends on the construction of the boat. In many cases the heated interior will keep exterior fixtures from freezing. But if there are longer external hose runs and fixtures away from the heated space, you might have trouble. Give it all a look over to see where you might have exposure, and perhaps install interior shutoffs if yu have clearly bad spots. When we had our last boat there over three winters, I never had any trouble, even though there was one exterior sink away from the heat.


Compared to SD, it gets cold, but in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't get very cold in the PNW. To a New Englander, it's always spring time :-).


And on a related topic, and at the risk of a major sidetrack, have you sorted out your use tax status with Washington State? That would probably make for a worse day than a frozen pipe.


Otherwise, enjoy the area. I love winter cruising there, and am looking forward to being back.
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post

And on a related topic, and at the risk of a major sidetrack, have you sorted out your use tax status with Washington State? That would probably make for a worse day than a frozen pipe.
.
Great advice. Don’t overlook this or you will wish you only had freeze damage to pay for.
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:43 PM   #4
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You need a dehumidifier. There is an active thread on this topic that should answer any questions.

https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...dea-53868.html

Welcome to the area!
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:51 PM   #5
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Keep a watch for any areas that can trap humidity and become wet. It may or may not happen but even with constant heat it should be watched for.
Often for those areas, should they appear, a small fan forcing air into the area will help a lot.
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:52 PM   #6
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Yes. A dehumidifier. And if you’re living aboard, get proper one, not a toy one. When we lived aboard over Christmas, we routinely emptied out a 6-8 quarts a day.

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Old 10-17-2020, 07:53 PM   #7
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Cold climate? You must be thinking about a different Seattle!

Seriously, the comments so far are spot on and about all you need to keep in mind. The tax topic is a much bigger deal. There are a number of threads here and on other forums plus info on the State of WA website. The local DeFever dealer might be a resource as well.
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:11 PM   #8
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During the 1 or 2 cold snaps that may or may not happen, some of the marinas will shut off water... and of course you must beware of the occasional icey spot on the dock or ramp... Other then those issues you should get used to gray skies and the constant dampness..... I heard that the best description of the PNW is like living in a salad bowl with a wet wash rag draped over it.
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Old 10-17-2020, 11:15 PM   #9
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Dehumidifier need depends on what you heat your boat with. If you change the air with heat, the boat stays dry.
I run a stove and have low humidity, no wet clothes or bedding.
You should plan on the marina's water lines being shut down or frozen in really cold weather.
I liveaboard on the Columbia River and did a winter in Nanaimo. In 0°F, the coldest spot in the bilge below a cabin heated to 55° was about 35°. Other bilge temps were 40°+. I've never had pipes freeze. If you use a quality rubber hose between the boat and dock, it should survive freezing weather. Mine does.
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Old 10-17-2020, 11:43 PM   #10
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Keep an eye on moisture developing under your mattress as the temps get cooler. Depending on how cool the surface is that supports your mattress this may or may not be an issue.

As mentioned marinas will need to shut off water in the longer cold snaps. Once the temps head into the 20s or teens don't count on dock water. If we get a good freeze into the teens they typically last less than a week and only happen every few years. The news will saturate the airwaves with anything coming like that so you'll have plenty of time to fill up your water tanks.

Wind events typically come from the southwest so if your slip has a southern exposure think through tying up for 40-50mph gusts.

Slick frosty spots on docks or ramps will likely be your biggest hazard.
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Old Yesterday, 12:16 AM   #11
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There's an awful lot of talk about humidity. If you live aboard in cool weather with the boat sealed up, you will indeed have plenty of moisture in your boat. But it's really quite straightforward to prevent this. I lived aboard for years and currently we use our boat year-round. We use simple principles to avoid moisture problems.

The maximum humidity of air is directly related to air temperature. Very cold air is very dry...you've seen "freezer burned" meat? As the air temp rises, more water vapor can be contained in that warmer air. You can use this simple science to keep your boat dry during the winter.

Use ventilation. Draw cold, dry air into one end of the boat, warm it, then eject it out the other end of the boat. I use small "boxer" fans, which are the kind used in computer equipment, to draw air in at the stern and eject it out at the bow. A simple small ceramic disc heater in the aft cabin puts a little heat into the air, which sucks up moisture. A second similar heater in the fore cabin is on when the weather is really cold. The boat is dry.

When we're out in her during the cold months, we have similar parallel fans that run on 12 volts, and the heat is supplied by our Dickinson diesel range, which is always on 24/7 during cold weather.

We find it MUCH easier to send the moisture overboard than to try to extract it from the air inside the boat.

Yeah, we'll echo that there is no concern for freezing of on board tankage. Perhaps a cockpit shower faucet may freeze, but nothing in the bilges is at risk.

One thing to be aware of is that, when snow occasionally drifts up, it is possible to have some ice damming that can be hard on the boat. We make it a point to keep her swept clean of snow when this occurs.
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Old Yesterday, 09:18 AM   #12
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We too had no trouble with humidity in the boat. I think a major factor is is the extent to which you have/use exhaust fans in the heads and galley, and how effective they are. People breathing inside produces a lot of moisture, but showering and cooking produce even more. We found that always running the exhaust fans when water in the heads, and when cooking made all the difference.


Regardless, monitoring and addressing humidity is very important, whatever that entails on your boat.
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Old Yesterday, 10:10 AM   #13
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All good advise. Also, have a conversation with your marina about access to domestic water — most marinas will turn off the water supply to the docks during cold periods to prevent freezing pipes.
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Old Yesterday, 10:21 AM   #14
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Some very excellent suggestions. We spent the last two winters on board and concur with the suggestions to ventilate the boat and move air through. We used two large, household sized dehumidifiers, one in the master stateroom and one in the salon.

Our diesel hydronic heater did a great job of heating the boat in four different zones but cooking, sleeping, breathing and showering puts lots of moisture into the air. A heated interior and a cold exterior means moisture accumulates on the inside of the boat windows and it is a constant battle preventing water damage to your woodwork. We used 3M interior insulation film on all our windows with really good results. The double sided installation tape comes off of teak trim easily. We applied the plastic sheeting in October and removed them in March. The key is getting a good, tight seal on each window then using a hair dryer to shrink the sheets.

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Old Yesterday, 10:21 AM   #15
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Ditto the comment on being careful on icy docks, especially after dark. This is a big safety item in Bellingham where I keep my boat, north of Seattle.
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Old Yesterday, 11:47 AM   #16
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Take down any canvas (bimini) if you have it as you will get a few high wind days.


If you can get a slip in an area protected from these high wind events--I forget the usual direction from which they come but ask at the marina.
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Old Yesterday, 12:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jdornick View Post
Hi All,
We cruised our boat from San Diego to the Puget Sound this summer and plan to winter in Seattle. Since this is our first time living aboard and cruising in such a cold climate I was wondering if there is anything special we need to do to the boat while she’s in the water for the winter? We’ll be onboard and still cruising on nice days but curious if there is anything we need to do to protect the various systems?
Thanks for you help,
I am told that making the SD to PNW would be too dangerous in my OA 423.
How did you do on your trip?
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Old Yesterday, 12:12 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jdornick View Post
Hi All,
We cruised our boat from San Diego to the Puget Sound this summer and plan to winter in Seattle. Since this is our first time living aboard and cruising in such a cold climate I was wondering if there is anything special we need to do to the boat while she’s in the water for the winter? We’ll be onboard and still cruising on nice days but curious if there is anything we need to do to protect the various systems?
Thanks for you help,
Since you will be on the boat, you will need a heat source for your own comfort. At 52’ you will be hard pressed to heat with resistance type heaters. If you have reverse cycle AC you should be fine. I have 3 16,000btu heat pumps that have no issues keeping the boat warm. A good hydronic diesel system is another alternative.

The water here is 49 degrees in the winter. With that and the natural heat loss of a boat you won’t need to worry about freezing water. In 25 years I have never found ice inside the boat and only on a few rare occasions have I found ice on the deck.

We have never had a wind event that threatened my canvas but once in a while we get a wind event that destroys poorly stored sails and worn out canvas.

Every year we have one week of below freezing temperatures. Getting water is the usual concern. I keep a spare garden hose in the boat incase the dock hose freezes up. I could disconnect and drain the water hose but that’s more work than it’s worth.
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Old Yesterday, 03:05 PM   #19
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If you have a transom shower or an anchor washdown, you will need to remove the shower head / spray head and store or it will crack. If you have an outdoor sink you will need to turn off the water supply and drain the faucet itself or it will crack. (I replaced mine two years in a row before remembering to do this).

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Old Yesterday, 03:31 PM   #20
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I am told that making the SD to PNW would be too dangerous in my OA 423.
How did you do on your trip?
You will probably get more responses if you start a new thread. Or PM the OP.
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