"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?"
I have learned so much over the last couple of years with my boat. I have done research, visited places, talked to experienced boaters and researched some more before making decisions.
However, I did not research how to winterize a boat. And I haven't done it well yet. As I write this, I am still amazed that I left such an important part of boat maintenance to chance. Lesson learned.
Last winter I decided to keep the boat in the water and keep it warm. I had heaters running in the boat and the engine compartment. I used heat tape to protect any pipes or tubes that I thought might be at risk. I did not shrink wrap her, either. This is what I found: heating the boat all winter is extremely expensive. It is also a source of anxiety!
Last winter was a very cold one in Ohio, and I was always worried that electricity would go out and my boat would be left with no heat. For this reason, I rigged a Dropcam pointed at a thermometer so that I could check the temp aboard the boat at any time. I also placed it so that I could see the front door of the boat. The video footage is saved in the cloud, and you can access it from any computer or smart phone. So, if someone broke in and immediately unplugged the camera, I would still have the intruder's entry on video. This is a very easy and relatively inexpensive thing to do, and I highly recommend it!
|This is the view from my Dropcam. You can see a resident spider crawling over the camera on the top right.|
This year, I had her pulled out of the water and dry-docked. I wanted to be sure her hull looked solid and the sacrificial metals were still good. I also had her shrink wrapped. I just went to visit her yesterday (luckily my friend Kevin was with there to help boost me up, because I didn't think to bring a ladder to climb aboard).
|Here she is out of water. My friend, Kevin helped me climb aboard.|
|Shrink Wrap can be very expensive. I think it's worth it, though.|
|At least she has a view of the river. ;)|
I didn't realize that there would be so much moisture aboard a closed-up and shrink wrapped boat. There is a lot of moisture and some mildew that I will have to clean.
After the fact, I did some research on winterizing a boat. I found this checklist from Markel (which is my boat insurance company).
I plan to get some DampRid and hope that this helps to control the moisture a bit. Maybe I also need to leave a couple windows cracked? I'll let you know how the DampRid works.
|There are lots of different DampRid products. I plan to try two of the Hi-Capacity.|
Another option is to install some solar vents. According to this Boat.U.S. blog, I would need two exhaust vents and one intake vent. I found this one and this one on Amazon...but I need to do some more research first.
Any suggestions on winterizing an aluminum houseboat are welcome and requested. Has anyone had great luck with this? If so, please share some tips!!
One thing I know: the return of summer will be especially sweet this year!