View Full Version : bilge ice

12-27-2004, 05:18 PM
last year had small amount of bilge ice. This year made error by not putting heater below even though engines winterized. problem have bilge ice inch thick in spots due to blowing of deicer machine. Corrected that now has anyone ever had bilge ice mess up wood in their boat. Now have bilge heater and am awaiting thaw. Whoz yer daddy

J. Dillon
12-27-2004, 06:26 PM
When I was living aboard winters in the NE US. I put a lighted 40 W bulb in the bilge. It generated enough heat to keep anything from frezing up. smile.gif

Ian McColgin
12-27-2004, 06:51 PM
Inside the bilge ice? In 23 years I've not worried as the shape of the bilge is such that any expansion (soft with salt water anyway) has plenty of room to expand up.

Even with the cabin heated there are times in the winter when it's really that cold, the ambient wate temp is indeed below freezing. That's what nice felt moccasins are for.

12-27-2004, 07:43 PM
Ice in your bilge :eek: --- that should only happen when you spill a drink :D

You chaps just ain't livin' right tongue.gif
- M

Scott Rosen
12-27-2004, 09:09 PM
What Ian said.

Frank Wentzel
12-28-2004, 05:15 PM
You said it Margo!!! :D

/// Frank ///

12-28-2004, 08:31 PM
Thank youall for input. Point taken bout woods ability to expand and contract. We had deicer pointed to bow last year but now is to stern. Probably had too much force and water seeped in. Not noted when was pointed at bow. whoz yer daddy

Ian McColgin
12-29-2004, 07:48 AM
Not the wood expanding or contracting. In fact, the topsides will shrikn a bit with the drying of cold weather and if you sail in the winter y ou can expect some above the waterline leakage on a beat. Depending on your chainplate pattern, it may be well to treat the boat as if she'd just been launched in the spring and keep things easy till she swells. The worst damage sailing an unswelled boat is in the garboards which will be fine all winter and the topside leakage should be little more than an annoyance.

Anyway, what I meant was that the water swelling as it forms into ice is not much of a problem as most bilges are shaped with the top wider than the bottom. Nothing caps or forces the water to do bad things.

Fibreglass boats with encapsulated keels that are hauled each season face a graver problem as there's always some water down there after a few years, which will freeze and push the glass out from the lead making room for more water etc. One of my friends was a bit irritated with me for striking a rock, but it put a big enough hole in the under pard of that keel that come fall haul-out we were stunned by the amount of water that drained down. You can bet we repaired around the lead befor filling that hole.

Anyway, back to a wooden boat, ice in the bilges is usually not a problem. Ice around the boat, what circulators take care of, can be a problem though less than people often imagine. It's unlikely to crush the boat unless you have a deep boat up in the great Lakes or something. Salt ice is relativly soft. Unless you have tidal movement it won't even scar the paine. However, if your dock is open to tidal drift, the movement of ice can scar the paint and if it's bound the boat the movement can exert considerable, even breaking, strain on the mooring lines.

Last remark about sailing in winter. Once I used my old schooner Goblin as a sort of ice breaker to force a way through about 3/4" salt ice so's a fisherman could get h is boat to the ramp. It was fun and easy and then we went sailing. We took more water than usual during the sail, which I ascribed to the topsides leaking as I mentioned above. But when we returned and she kept leaking pretty hard, I investigated. My punching through the ice had nicely reefed the seams right about waterline up in the bow.

Solved that for the winter by shifting ballast aft to get the bow up a bit.


07-27-2005, 05:12 AM
I was at a poker run at the local lake this weekend and saw a new product that seems better than what I have seen available in the past, www.xtremeheaters.com (http://www.xtremeheaters.com) . It was small enough to mount in a SKI boat and claimed to produce more heat than what was available in the past. Seems to be a relatively new company and didn't know if you guys had any opinions you could share on this product? Thanks for any input you have to offer,


07-27-2005, 06:08 AM
I have found that a single 100 watt light bulb in a porcelain socket mounted on a piece of plywood sat on the cabin sole is more tha n adequate to keep the inerior above frezzing all winter long in CT., bilges included. I always splash a good gallon of antifreeze in the bilge and run the pump a second or two whether in the water or on the hard.