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Old 03-29-2021, 09:52 AM   #1
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winter moorage in Alaska

Looking for information on keeping a 68 foot trawler in Alaska over the winter. Have spent lots of time up there in summer, but this year we are hoping to find a berth in SouthEast for the winter...

Hot berthing is not optimal.... does anyone have experience with winter in... Juneau? Sitka? Rangel? Petersburg?

We would be leaving the boat on it's own for most of the really deep winter... but will fly out to visit her from time to time. She is well prepared for cold weather... but would need reliable 50 amp power. We have ample onboard watermaking facility, so having dock water is not a big concern. (i assume most if not all dock water is shut down in winter months)

I know most marina space is municipal, run by the Harbor Masters... Doesnt seem as though there are private marinas anywhere that could handle a bigger boat? If there are... does anyone have experience with any of them?

Thanks much in advance....

With BC looking as though it will remain closed to US boaters, (other than thru transits with no contact) we are hoping to position ourselves for a full season up north. Cannot stay in Washington due to the taxes. It's a new boat, so we would rather not risk the trip to the Baja in her "shakedown year".
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Old 03-29-2021, 10:36 AM   #2
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It's funny how people view winter storage in areas where it really does get cold, and freeze. Years ago, when I first started boating with a 32 foot wooden Chris Craft, twin gassers, All we did for winter was remove the engine drains, run a little piece of wire into the hole to dislodge any sand. Run some RV antifreeze through the plumbing, drain the water and sewer tanks. Take a picture of the boat in the travel lift, close the windows, lock the ladder and pretty much walk away.

Shrink wrapping was not really invented yet. Blue tarps were tried but generally didn't make it through the winter. We always planned on checking on the boat several times through the winter, but we never did.

Sometimes somebody would miss a drain and freeze a manifold, or worse, an engine but generally there were no problems.

I really think we are overthinking winter storage these days.

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Old 03-29-2021, 10:58 AM   #3
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Dosn’t get that cold in SE.
Gets down to 5 degrees and on rare occasions 0 but usually is considerably warmer. Look it up. Sitka is probably the warmest.

You wouldn’t think so but it may be that berthing her in a small place like Thorne Bay may be best. And for this reason ... the town had an emergency generator that automatically started and went on the town grid almost instantly.

I have never lived in a place in the PNW that had such dependable power.

You could hire the harbor master to look after her.
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Old 03-29-2021, 11:30 AM   #4
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Try contacting Sea Venture. They just spent this past winter cruising SEAK. They have a blog too. They are heading south this summer, then on to Mexico.
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Old 03-29-2021, 11:51 AM   #5
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Old 03-29-2021, 12:03 PM   #6
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Is this MV Tanglewood per chance?
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Old 03-29-2021, 12:13 PM   #7
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This Is the better half of the MVTanglewood crew....
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Old 03-29-2021, 12:37 PM   #8
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A good start would be to sound out the harbor masters at Wrangell, Ketchikan and Sitka as a start. For a boat that size, you'll probably need to book a spot well in advance.
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Old 03-29-2021, 01:31 PM   #9
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A good start would be to sound out the harbor masters at Wrangell, Ketchikan and Sitka as a start. For a boat that size, you'll probably need to book a spot well in advance.
Agree. There are probably a waiting list.
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Old 03-29-2021, 02:23 PM   #10
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The warmest...well, least cold anyway, will be Sitka. While visiting, I've noted a number of vessels in long-term moorage with "homeports" from Outside. Some quite large. That's where I'd start.
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Old 03-29-2021, 03:12 PM   #11
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Sitka is our first choice for a number of reasons... next step is calling the Harbor Master and getting the current info.
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Old 03-29-2021, 04:23 PM   #12
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Sitka is our first choice for a number of reasons... next step is calling the Harbor Master and getting the current info.
We are fond of Sitka. As my wife says "Sitka looks like I thought Alaska would look like."
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Old 03-29-2021, 04:36 PM   #13
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Also check with your insurance company, they may have absentee owner requirements, like contracting with someone local to make scheduled visits to the boat. Not a big deal but something to think about. There are probably locals that pick up some bucks doing this already.
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Old 03-29-2021, 07:13 PM   #14
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It's funny how people view winter storage in areas where it really does get cold, and freeze. Y

pete
I am one of those people, having seen how water is often located in unexpected places, and how the expansion of that water as it turns to ice can be hugely destructive. I saw how the supports for a fishing tower were all burst at their bases (apparently, it is good practice to drill weep holes, even though there shouldn't be water there in the first place). And how water logged foam coring cause massive fiberglass delamination. Frankly, it is the prospect of freezing damage that keeps me from considering leaving my boat in Alaska (or BC) for the winter. I still think Washington could generate more tax revenue if they had a policy that taxed guys like me (and maybe OP) without scaring us away entirely.
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Old 03-29-2021, 08:40 PM   #15
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From a pure access standpoint you can get to Ketchikan and Juneau in the winter on the same day you leave the east coast. To get to Sitka, Petersburg, or Wrangell plan on spending the night at SEATAC. In the summer things are different but it’s still hard to get to Petersburg and Wrangell, with the same airplane heading north in the early morning to Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg and Juneau. Then one airplane coming south in the afternoon from Juneau reversing the route.

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Old 03-29-2021, 11:13 PM   #16
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I am one of those people, having seen how water is often located in unexpected places, and how the expansion of that water as it turns to ice can be hugely destructive. I saw how the supports for a fishing tower were all burst at their bases (apparently, it is good practice to drill weep holes, even though there shouldn't be water there in the first place). And how water logged foam coring cause massive fiberglass delamination. Frankly, it is the prospect of freezing damage that keeps me from considering leaving my boat in Alaska (or BC) for the winter. I still think Washington could generate more tax revenue if they had a policy that taxed guys like me (and maybe OP) without scaring us away entirely.
No need to worry about Coastal Alaska.

I am in Seward Alaska, pretty much the most northern actual harbor in the state and we do not get the destructive ice damage you are refering to.

Our weather is surprisingly mild. Think Seattle -10 degrees and you'll be about right.

Most recreational boats literally just walk away after running RV antifreeze through the potable water system and the engine raw water side. They generally hire someone to check on their boat weekly, and in the off chance of a really heavy snow fall, to shovel the boat. This service is readily available for around $100 a month.

I keep my boat heated in the winter and enjy the peace and quiet of the harbor with just the commercial fishermen coming and going. I do winterize the engines just in case but risk the potable water system i suppose. That said i have multiple heat sources and can call for assistance if things go south.
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Old 03-30-2021, 10:22 AM   #17
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Hey Laurie!

Various friends and acquaintances have left their boats in Wrangell, Petersburg, and Hoonah. Wrangell and Petersburg both seem easier than Hoonah since they at least have Alaska Air service, but as Tom mentioned, getting to either from Boston in a day might not be possible.

The people I know who have left boats up there have all been happy with the decision. The climate is a little harder (more rain, more snow) on the boat than the Seattle or Sidney area, but it's certainly not the arctic. The biggest complaint seems to be finding people to work on the boat, especially "yachtier" tasks like brightwork and polishing. But hopefully new Tanglewood won't need much work!

We hope to see you up there somewhere!
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Old 03-31-2021, 09:39 AM   #18
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We've kept our boat in Petersburg for 15 winters. Jake Slavens who also works for the Harbor Dept. watches most of the boats. We like Petersburg as it has one of the best harbor departments and docks in SE and because it is centrally located in SE AK. It's not overrun by tourists and cruise ships in the summer and is a well run clean town with friendly people. Downside is not as many amenities as the large towns, i.e. restaurants, large stores. It has a large fishing fleet with corresponding marine services although the fishing fleet gets first priority.

We've also had a slip in Sitka and it would be our second choice. Of course, availability may be the factor in all cases.

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Old 03-31-2021, 06:46 PM   #19
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We've kept our boat in Petersburg for 15 winters. Jake Slavens who also works for the Harbor Dept. watches most of the boats. We like Petersburg as it has one of the best harbor departments and docks in SE and because it is centrally located in SE AK. It's not overrun by tourists and cruise ships in the summer and is a well run clean town with friendly people. Downside is not as many amenities as the large towns, i.e. restaurants, large stores. It has a large fishing fleet with corresponding marine services although the fishing fleet gets first priority.



We've also had a slip in Sitka and it would be our second choice. Of course, availability may be the factor in all cases.



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I would be very interested in your comparison of Petersburg to Wrangell.
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Old 03-31-2021, 08:10 PM   #20
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Me too.

We went into the marina and the current was bad.

One nice thing about Wrangell is the boat lift and boat yard.
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