Year-round use vs. winterizing...

What's on your mind? Anything generic goes here.

Year-round use vs. winterizing...

Postby johnniethek on Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:05 pm

OK. I need some info from the collective wisdom of my fellow Tugnutians. The recent post by Autumn Leaves prompts my post.

I do recognize that many people use their boats from late-spring to fall, and then winterize it and lock it up for the next 6-7 months.

But I just bought my boat in June, and plan to use it throughout the winter months. I'n fact, several people have told me that winter is the best time to frequent some state marine parks in Puget Sound. I will probably use it at least one weekend a month during winter/spring.

So I'm assuming I don't need to winterize my boat since I'll be using it occasionally during the winter months. Is that assumption right? I'm not much of a boat mechanic and would prolly have to hire that stuff done, anyway, so not having to do it would save me some coin.

As always, thanks to everyone for their generous sharing of knowledge here.

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Re: Year-round use vs. winterizing...

Postby Diamond Bear on Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:39 pm

I suggest you either put a small heater inside the cabin at all times during the winter months or be absolutely sure that Enumclaw does not get freezing temps. You must worry about the water pump, wash down pump, sewer pump and all the hoses/tubings that serve the various fixtures. Then there is the heat exchanger on the main engine and the block of an onboard gen set if you have one...they contain unprotected water from the last running. Heat is the easiest, but will cost some for the electricity it takes.
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Re: Year-round use vs. winterizing...

Postby Stella Maris on Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:46 pm

This would all depend on where you store your boat. In a garage or outside? Is there electric near by? If you ear in a garage, you should be okay even on the coldest nights.

We kept our Catalina 25 (Sailboat) in North Georgia for many years and never winterized for the same reason as you. We would use the boat every four to six weeks all year round.

One thing that I would suggest if you are storing it outside and have electric near by is to get some "Golden Rods" from one of the marine suppliers. Place one on or near your water tank, one or two in your engine compartment and one on or near your holding tank. If you can get them under the tanks that is even better. These put off enough heat in most cases to keep these areas from freezing during prolonged cold.

Be sure that you keep your fuel tank filled at all times when Red Ranger is sitting idle. If possible, empty the holding tank after each trip. Also, you could use bottled water during the coldest months thus allowing you to empty your water tank. We are looking at putting our boat into the water at Port Orchard and leaving it there for a couple of years. We would use it one to two weeks out of each month. These are the precautions I will be taking. As always though, Red Ranger is your boat and you need to do what you are comfortable with.
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Re: Year-round use vs. winterizing...

Postby Bruce Moore on Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:01 am

We kept our boat in the water, and used it, throughout last winter. It was an unusually cold winter for the Puget Sound. During the coldest spells we ran a small ceramic heater. We propped up the step/cover in the cabin over the engine compartment, as well as the door to the head. The R21 will be somewhat different.

Most of the winter we just ran an Air Dryer/De-humidifier. And, we used the boat at least twice a month. No problems.

We keep Moondance in the water, so even when we get the occasional sub-freezing temperatures, she is sitting in 50+ degree water. I don't recall if you trailer Red Ranger. That would make a difference.

Glad to know you'll be out and about between now and spring. Hope we cross wakes.

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Re: Year-round use vs. winterizing...

Postby j&lgray on Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:29 am

The Laurie Ann sits on her trailer in our driveway and we use her year round. During the winter months of average temperatures, we put golden rod heat sticks in the engine compartment and an oil-filled radiator space heater in the cabin and keep the inside at about 50 degrees.

We keep our holding tanks empty and our fresh water tanks nearly full. We keep the fresh water tank nearly full because that large mass of water is highly unlikely to freeze. Last winter was especially cold and in spite of our normal efforts, the fresh water pump froze and split. What I will do if these temperatures come again, is to run the cabin heater fan at its lowest setting because the fresh water pump is located right next to this fan and the movement of air would likely keep it from freezing.

We do strip the dock lines and the fenders off the boat because the cold and wet will degrade those lines more quickly. When the snow is going to come, we take down the canvas over the cockpit.

Also, we do not run the boat if the air temperature is below 40 degrees if the previous night time low temperatures were substantially below freezing. I have ruined more than one impeller on another boat while trying to start it on a one of those beautiful, clear but very cold February mornings. Besides, it takes the oil a long time to come up to temperature when it is very very cold.
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Re: Year-round use vs. winterizing...

Postby Levitation on Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:18 am

Levitation has two electric heaters - one in the engine compartment - for cold weather... The engine compartment heater helps the engine stay warm enough to start easily... The other advantage is keeping the interior dry...
Now, these heaters will not protect the boat here in Michigan where we always get at least a couple nights of 20 below (that is -28C for those of you metric countries) but for milder parts of the world they will do fine...

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Re: Year-round use vs. winterizing...

Postby Texas Steve on Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:06 am

We use our R21 EC throughout the winter up on the Texas/Oklahoma border where it is known to freeze occasionally. I learned this technique from other Tugnutters and it has worked well for us...

First, I put RV antifreeze in my water system to prevent freezing. Second, I put a very small bilge heater under the engine compartment (150 watt). Third, I have installed a "Y" valve at the freshwater thruhull between the cabin door and the engine compartment. In the winter, I have a heater hose attached to the alternate end of the "Y" valve, turn off the intake valve on the OEM system, and stick the other end of the hose into a bottle of RV antifreeze. I run the engine until I see pink coming out the exhaust, then I shut it down and leave it. If you don't do something like this last step, you will surely break the impeller in your fresh water engine pump... not a difficult fix, but irritating. The whole process takes about three minutes to complete and is, at least in my opinion, a fair exchange in order to be able to use my boat throughout the winter for Striper fishing on Lake Texoma.

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Re: Year-round use vs. winterizing...

Postby johnniethek on Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:37 pm

Thanks for the collective wisdom, everyone.

The Red Ranger sits comfortably in an enclosed carport (no heat) and out of the rain and wind that sometimes buffet the southern King County plateau. I do have electrical outlets there, though, so I can easily put a small space heater in the boat. Should the heater be in the cabin or in the cockpit? Should I have one in each location?

To be on the safe side, it sounds like I should empty the water tank and just bring bottled water for day trips. If I go on overnighters and will need more water, I'll either put some in the tank just before leaving or dock at a Puget Sound marina that has water. And, after each trip I'll top off the fuel tank.

It all sounds very doable. Have I missed anything?


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Re: Year-round use vs. winterizing...

Postby Maxx on Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:25 pm

My fathers has two heaters.
One in the engine compartment and one more forward to heat the cabin area.
But he doesn't use them as he keeps it in the heated shop for the winter.
I have been meaning to tell him to take the one out of the engine compartment for more service room, but I haven't done that yet.
We are up in Yankeeland so we have to pull it from the water.

Has anyone noticed that according to the manual as far as oil change goes that even using the drain tube that you don't get out what the manual says the engine uses?

OOPS, Sorry time for new thread. Sorry for hijack.
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Re: Year-round use vs. winterizing...

Postby K7MXE on Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:31 pm

I do just what Texas Steve does and in fact did it this morning. I had used the boat in salt water so I ran five gallons of fresh water through the motor before the antifreeze. One thing I did forget and will get to it and that was to service the porta potty and in fact I put it inside the house where its warm. If I want to go out in the boat I just loose some antifreeze and take fresh bottled water with me and dont forget the porta potty. Simple Bob Heselberg Eatonville Wa
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