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Old 29-11-2016, 14:43   #1
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Freezing temps in Puget Sound

Dear fellow Puget Sound sailors,

I am a new boat owner in the Puget Sound area. (I'm new, the boat isn't.) I've lived in the area a couple of years and noticed most folks keep their boats in the water through the winter. The forecast is calling for overnight lows below freezing in the next few days.

My question is do I need to be concerned about the water in holding tanks? Will a few degrees below freezing for a few hours overnight actually freeze enough water to damage anything? I am new so I am still "getting acquainted" meaning I am on the boat often using the fresh water and putting water into the black water tank. I don't want to empty everything out. I can put antifreeze in the black water tank but antifreeze in the fresh water tank will render it unusable right?

Any advice?
Thanks.
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Old 29-11-2016, 17:43   #2
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

Remember the sea water does not get that cold - at worst in the high 40s in your area. If you are keeping your boat in Poulsbo, I bet it is warmer than that. We kept ours there one winter and it was never an issue. We kept boats for a couple decades just N of that, just off Hood Canal across from Pt Ludow. Never had a problem.

If you do have an issue, it is more likely to be pipes routing water to your fixtures, as they are not so close to the warmth of the water. However, I can't imagine a cold spell bad enough that the inside of the cabin freezes.

What you will find, is that condensation and the resulting mold is bad. Especially the cabin ceilings because they get cold at night.

Welcome to the area!
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Old 29-11-2016, 17:58   #3
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

It takes some time for the water temps to drop enough to freeze and they do so on the surface first... Water inside your boat might freeze however.
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Old 29-11-2016, 18:01   #4
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

Spent the winter in liberty bay a few years ago saw a bit of surface ice near the estuary and occasional ice on my decks but never have had any freezing issues inside my boats here in over 40 years on them here
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Old 29-11-2016, 18:03   #5
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

BTW welcome to cf and the wonderful world of islander ownership
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Old 29-11-2016, 18:51   #6
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

We keep our boat in the south Sound and have never had anything on the interior of our boat below the waterline freeze. However we have had the spigot for the shower on the transom freeze and crack the inner workings requiring replacement... thanks for reminding me to try to avoid that this year!
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Old 30-11-2016, 10:27   #7
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

We're up north of you in Blaine. This is our second winter aboard. Coming from the East Coast we had the same concerns as you but over the last 2 years it has only dropped below freezing a handful of times and then for 48 hours at the most. Frost and ice on the concrete docks is a bigger concern.

That being said I've been told by 3 commercial fishermen that we will likely get a "real" winter this year due to La Nina (where is the tilde' when I need it???).

Overall, I'm not too worried. Just be aware - if a long cold spell hits would a small interior heater help?

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Old 30-11-2016, 10:30   #8
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

My tilde

`~

is at the extreme upper left of the keyboard just under the esc key.

(Acer laptop)
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Old 30-11-2016, 10:43   #9
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

After moving to the PNW we discovered that the cabin temperatures would get low enough to freeze the water in the hoses and galley fixtures. And, even above freezing temperature there was serious condensation and dripping off the metal portlights and hatches. I ended up using shore power and a very small electric heater, which helps a lot. There has been no trouble with the water and holding tanks, as these are below or near the water line and the sea water doesn't get that cold.

Use fans for air circulation if you can, open up all doors and lockers. Many people like dehumidifiers for the condensation, but I'm happy so far with the heater since it also prevents cabin freezing.
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Old 30-11-2016, 10:48   #10
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

Thank you all for the info on local conditions. Fortunately, I live close to the marina to monitor things aboard. In a worst case, I suppose I could spend the night aboard and keep the electric heater running. I'm afraid to leave that thing on when no one is around. The boat came with a couple of those West Marine "dehumidifiers" but they barely feel warm to the touch. I don't think they do much to heat the space.
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Old 30-11-2016, 10:54   #11
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

Ditto on the mold inside boat. I antifreeze holding tanks and drink bottled H2O. Just in case and have no worries. When I leave boat I use a small electric. When I sleep a warm sleeping bag or a guest. Sometimes both.
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Old 30-11-2016, 12:22   #12
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

I run a dehumidifier most of the year to keep humidity down ... mold wont grow below 55%.
I also run two small electric space heaters 24 /7 set on low in the winter. One in the Salon and one in the aft cabin. Both turn off automatically if tipped over.
Two electric fans circulate air for heaters and dehumidifier.
Im in the Portland Oregon area.
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Old 30-11-2016, 12:39   #13
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

We've kept our boat in Anacortes, WA for many years. I have never winterized it, with no issues at all. We are connected to shore power. We keep an oil filled radiator type electric heater in it, switched to 600 watts and the thermostat set to a low setting. I open the engine compartment and the cabinets under the galley sink and head sink, (where the plumbing is). We've never had any condensation as it is warmer inside the boat than outside. I do not flush the saltwater side of the engine cooling system with fresh water in the winter. Saltwater freezes at a lower temperature, and its ice is softer, than freshwater ice too.
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Old 30-11-2016, 12:46   #14
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

Last winter, we were unable to be onboard, and left a dehumidifier running full-time. Yes, granted it was a mild winter, but we returned to absolutely no mold, or mildew anywhere. We also take the precautions of opening all locker doors, and making sure that there is some ventilation. Here is the blog post about the dehumidifier:

https://svdenalirosenc43.blogspot.co...umidifier.html

This winter, we are onboard full-time, my first, (well-seasoned Captain), should be interesting....
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Old 30-11-2016, 12:47   #15
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Re: Freezing temps in Puget Sound

Dealt with this all my life. Occasionally it can get very cold in Bellingham. Get a small boat heater and make sure it's insulated and wiring sound. Keep it on 24/7. This will help keep everything dry. I have two on my boat. If it gets way below freezing for a long period then drain everything.
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