Overwintering a boat that will be unattended


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Dick
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Hi Simon, Yes, I would like to know more about the built-in de-humidifier. Thanks, Dick
dheath
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[quote=Simon Currin]In order to remember the lessons we have learned in recent years I would like to write a ‘best practice’ article on preparing a boat to overwinter (unattended) in very cold climates. It would be great to use this thread to collate the experiences of others.
Simon[/quote]

Here is my check list. It was for our own use and may not make sense to others. I tried to clarify the tings I noticed, but feel free to ask.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Bring things inside
Boat hooks
stern anchor
stern line reel
MOB pole
remove headsails
tie mainsail to the boom
empty cockpit lockers
disconnect all antennas
disconnect power cords
disconnect VHF (all wires)
disconnect depth sounder (all wires)
turn on solar panel
rotate Engine to close all valves (Most engines do not have this feature)
reverse forward vents, if not in slip or on land
rig after vents for rain, make sure all vents are properly fitted.
tie engine room door open
fill all water tanks and add 1 tablespoon/25 US Gallons of Chlorine Bleach
close all ports and curtains
check battery water (over fill about 50% of the allowable room)
check bilge
lock pilot berth
rig interior for rough weather (not if on land, but we do have earthquakes)
dive on mooring
wrap cutlass bearing and prop
minimize air and cooking oil bottles that are in use, or give away (You can add water to reduce the air)
dispose of perishable food
remove flags
oil tools and vice
close water inlet and head and galley seacocks if in water. Put bronze wool or scrubby in them if on land, to keep critters out
drain salt water from engine
pump saltwater lines empty
empty teapot
lock Dinghy on cabin top
put calculators in ammo box for lightning protection
pull all fuses, except bilge pump
leave auto bilge pump in auto position and reset counter. Some open a low seacock and remove the hose, so water can exit. Or, drain at shaft log.
empty fridge and leave open and turned off
rinse stainless steel cookware and sink with freshwater. Do not use saltwater anymore
empty trash and slop bucket. (We put dry trash in a large waste basket and fruit & veg scraps in a smaller slop bucket, that we empty more often.)
put out roach proof. This is super fine boric acid. Just a very light dusting in cupboards and the sole.
http://acehardwaremaldives.com/product/outdoor-living/73862/
lock all hatches
shut off water if connected to shore water and disconnect hose (Once a faucet did not shut all the way off and the pistol nozzle broke while we were away and only our bilge pump and an alert neighbor saved us.
Stow drained water hose
put blankets and things that can fall on sole
open internal lockers, etc. for ventilation
double check that all portholes, etc are closed
check all dock lines and chafe gear


If putting antifreeze in freshwater system, be sure to remove all water first, then add special non-toxic antifreeze, and pump through the system.

When removing antifreeze, be sure to flush very well with clean water.

When returning to boat, the freshwater will not taste good until thoroughly flushed. Probably this comes from the freshwater pump diaphragms.

Put marina gate cards on chart table, in obvious spot

edited by dheath on 1/17/2019
edited by dheath on 1/17/2019
Dick
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[quote=dheath][quote=Simon Currin]In order to remember the lessons we have learned in recent years I would like to write a ‘best practice’ article on preparing a boat to overwinter (unattended) in very cold climates. It would be great to use this thread to collate the experiences of others.
Simon[/quote]

Here is my check list. It was for our own use and may not make sense to others. I tried to clarify the tings I noticed, but feel free to ask.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Bring things inside
Boat hooks
stern anchor
stern line reel
MOB pole
remove headsails
tie mainsail to the boom
empty cockpit lockers
disconnect all antennas
disconnect power cords
disconnect VHF (all wires)
disconnect depth sounder (all wires)
turn on solar panel
rotate Engine to close all valves (Most engines do not have this feature)
reverse forward vents, if not in slip or on land
rig after vents for rain, make sure all vents are properly fitted.
tie engine room door open
fill all water tanks and add 1 tablespoon/25 US Gallons of Chlorine Bleach
close all ports and curtains
check battery water (over fill about 50% of the allowable room)
check bilge
lock pilot berth
rig interior for rough weather (not if on land, but we do have earthquakes)
dive on mooring
wrap cutlass bearing and prop
minimize air and cooking oil bottles that are in use, or give away (You can add water to reduce the air)
dispose of perishable food
remove flags
oil tools and vice
close water inlet and head and galley seacocks if in water. Put bronze wool or scrubby in them if on land, to keep critters out
drain salt water from engine
pump saltwater lines empty
empty teapot
lock Dinghy on cabin top
put calculators in ammo box for lightning protection
pull all fuses, except bilge pump
leave auto bilge pump in auto position and reset counter. Some open a low seacock and remove the hose, so water can exit. Or, drain at shaft log.
empty fridge and leave open and turned off
rinse stainless steel cookware and sink with freshwater. Do not use saltwater anymore
empty trash and slop bucket. (We put dry trash in a large waste basket and fruit & veg scraps in a smaller slop bucket, that we empty more often.)
put out roach proof. This is super fine boric acid. Just a very light dusting in cupboards and the sole.
http://acehardwaremaldives.com/product/outdoor-living/73862/
lock all hatches
shut off water if connected to shore water and disconnect hose (Once a faucet did not shut all the way off and the pistol nozzle broke while we were away and only our bilge pump and an alert neighbor saved us.
Stow drained water hose
put blankets and things that can fall on sole
open internal lockers, etc. for ventilation
double check that all portholes, etc are closed
check all dock lines and chafe gear


If putting antifreeze in freshwater system, be sure to remove all water first, then add special non-toxic antifreeze, and pump through the system.

When removing antifreeze, be sure to flush very well with clean water.

When returning to boat, the freshwater will not taste good until thoroughly flushed. Probably this comes from the freshwater pump diaphragms.

Put marina gate cards on chart table, in obvious spot

edited by dheath on 1/17/2019
edited by dheath on 1/17/2019[/quote]
Dick
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Hi DHeath,
There are certain base line considerations when it comes to devising an over-wintering plan. You wrote this following Simon’s initial post with regards to very cold climate. Is that the case? Are you in water or out? Mast in or out? Do you have a caretaker who can visit say, once a month, go inside and check battery voltage and bilge? Do you have access to electricity? Will the boat be covered? How long is the lay up?
In a decision tree, each of the above considerations pushes one direction or another.
Below I have given some quick thoughts to some of your to-do list (Your thought followed by my comment. I am shooting from the hip a bit as I may not understand your particular situation/boat well, but I thought it worthwhile as we are developing a more generic plan.
My best, Dick Stevenson
You said the vessel would be un-attended: I would do my best to have someone one hand to be a caretaker. At some future date we can get into the details of what his/her inspection should entail.
fill all water tanks and add 1 tablespoon/25 US Gallons of Chlorine Bleach
I would empty all tanks in any climate. What is your thinking about filling?
check battery water (over fill about 50% of the allowable room)
Not sure this is wise, but I have not owned flooded batteries in decades. I would suggest adding that much water to charge and use the batteries for a period to ensure the new water is well mixed with the electrolyte.
drain salt water from engine
pump saltwater lines empty

Not so easy with some engines and may leave pockets of raw water. Better, perhaps, to break the raw water intake hose and put in a bucket of antifreeze with anti-corrosion properties.
pull all fuses, except bilge pump
Not sure the rational. If bilge pump is on its own circuit, as I would recommend it to be, then to use the house battery dis-connect switch should keep any power from getting to the electrical distribution panel/circuit breakers/ fuses.
empty fridge and leave open and turned off
Use this time to clean thoroughly
shut off water if connected to shore water and disconnect hose (Once a faucet did not shut all the way off and the pistol nozzle broke while we were away and only our bilge pump and an alert neighbor saved us.
Please see my write up in the Forum archives of a method to ensure that you do not sink your boat when connected to shore water supply: one of the more embarrassing ways to lose your boat.






Daria Blackwell
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Drain and bypass the water heater to avoid having antifreeze residue to flush out.
Flush a small amount of vinegar and vegetable oil through heads to keep microorganisms from growing and rubber lubricated.

Vice Commodore, OCC 
Dick
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Hi Daria,
Another good reason to cobble together (quite easy) a bypass for the hot water heater/calorifier is that it just takes a lot of antifreeze to ensure that it has enough in it to keep from freezing. Emptying it is more of a sure thing. The by-pass may also keep your fresh water system (at least the cold water part) functional if (when) your hot water heater/calorifier goes bad.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Janice FENNYMORE-WHITE
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This is our Check list for Destiny for an over winter in Sisimiut, Greenland

Minus 40°c Winterising Check List 2017


DRAIN
1. Empty water tanks
2. Drain Calorifiers by inlet, Use airline on the Outlet.
3. Drain Quooker by removing and turning upside down.
4. Blow out all Fresh water pipes with airline; Supply, Hot & Cold.
5. Blow out sea water system.
6. Drain out Engine and generator Exhaust silencers.
7. Holding tanks
8. Forecabin grey water collecting tank.
9. Fresh water carbon filter unit
10. Soap dishes

ANTIFREEZE
1. Check all antifreeze to relevant concentration;
Engine
Generator
Central heating
Fridge coolant
Bilge pump manifold
2. Fill Raw water inlet manifold via service valve run engine and generator to fill exhaust system.
3. Fill heads and flush through into pumps and seacocks.

WATERMAKER
1. Drain down filters and wash or replace. Fill system with preservative. Then either:
A. Remove main panel and store in above freezing area, blow through HP and priming pump with air or B. Fill system with a mix of glycerine/Sodium Metabisulphate antifreeze and preservative.

REMOVE IMPELLORS
1. Engine Raw water
2. Engine Emergency bilge pump
3. Generator Raw water
4. Forepeak Bilge
5. Fuel polishing

OIL CHANGE & SERVICE
1. Engine
2. Generator
3. Outboards

BATTERIES
1. Disconnect House & Generator gels.
2. Leave AGM’s on charge if away more than 6mths.

REMOVE OFF BOAT
1. All water based drinks unless in coke/ lemonade style bottles
2. Remove any wine.
3. Remove all cleaning products that are water based or in hand sprayers; Bleach etc
4. Check First Aid kit for Eye wash- water based disinfectants etc.
5. All tinned goods unless high fat content, but stand all in a plastic bucket.
BLOCK (To prevent fine arctic powder snow)
Engine space air inlet and outlet vents
Microwave vent
Galley extractor vent
All dorades
Companionway

SY Destiny
Andy Fennymore-White
Dick
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Hi Andy,
This is a very nice thoughtful list and you have covered lots of bases. A few questions and some thoughts follow:
Are you writing about a boat out of water (yes, I would guess)? Mast in?
In the following, I c&p your advice and follow with questions/comments.
Drain out Engine and generator Exhaust silencers. And
Fill Raw water inlet manifold via service valve run engine and generator to fill exhaust system.
If I follow your terminology correctly, I believe we have similar procedures: I run antifreeze with anti-corrosion properties via a service valve through the engine which effectively fills all the raw water hoses, passages, and the muffler/silencer. I like everything filled with antifreeze as this way the engine passages are not exposed to the salty marine air and are protected from corrosion and freezing. Any engineers out there who can weigh in here?
Blow out all Fresh water pipes with airline; Supply, Hot & Cold.
I have never done this, but I would want to be sure to get to the water residing in the pockets of the pumps. I am also curious whether blown air would push through pumps. Perhaps another option is to take anti-freeze that is for potable water systems and run it through the pumps and system: bypassing the water heater because it just takes too much to fill. This may be better advice on the American side of the pond where I have found this product to be quite inexpensive: in contrast to the UK where I found this stuff considerably more dear.
Not sure what a Quooker is.
Fuel polishing: remove impellor
Assume impellor is in a circulation pump that moves diesel fuel around for polishing: why remove impellor?
BATTERIES
1. Disconnect House & Generator gels.
2. Leave AGM’s on charge if away more than 6mths
Assume you are referring to gel cell batteries (for starter batteries?). It sounds like you are more comfortable leaving gel cell batteries unattended for long periods than AGMs (for house batteries?). Is this the case? I am also curious (nothing to do with winter) about mixing types of batteries: how does that work?
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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