What damage does freezing do to a winterized boat - heated storage worth it?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Yooper78, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. Yooper78
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: UP

    Yooper78 Junior Member

    What damage does freezing do to a mostly fiberglass powerboat during winter storage outside?

    • Does a yearly cycle of freezing each winter affect the fiberglass laminate itself?
    • What about if there is some moisture in it due to a few years on her already?
    • How about woods used for stringers or transom?
    • How about electronics on the engine or helm (that can't be removed, like gauges and senders, connections, and wiring)
    • How about plastics in throttle and stearing cables or any other plastics such as flappers or waterpump impellers or hoses, seals, gaskets, etc.?
    • How about vinyl or naugahyde (spelling?) interior "fabrics"?
    • What am I forgetting to ask...

    Is a fiberglass powerboat's lifespan shortened by being stored outside through freezing temperatures each year?

    My dilemna is whether to pay $1500 for heated storage for a $30000 powerboat (or half the boat's value in 10 years), or whether to put that money into upgrades each spring instead and winterize and store the boat outside.
     
  2. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    You answered some of the questions already.
    Of course if there is some water ingress freezing the water in the laminate and stringers does weaken (or even destroy) the hull and structure. And she will have at least several haircracks when older, so there IS some water in the laminate. If that is´nt too deep inside it wil regularely dry out before it can become a problem though.
    All the rest mentioned is not a serious problem, UV rays destroy more of the plastic stuff in much shorter time than old dad Frost.

    Regards
    Richard
     
  3. Bamby
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Location: USA near Wheeling, W.V.

    Bamby Junior Member

    Heated storage isn't a necessity for winter storage though shelter such as a carport, barn, etc. to keep the snow and ice off is nice option that could save some $$$$$. Do a through winterizing of your motor and any other components that contain water and could freeze, and if left outside keep snow and ice swept off mooring cover for the weight of it can or will accumulate and it will eventually fail.
     
  4. Yooper78
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Yooper78 Junior Member

    Thanks Guys. I'm glad I don't have to worry much about the "everything else" that I've never thought about such as plastics and hoses.

    Regarding laminate damange from freezing, if a "typical" 10-15 year old polyester resin boat spends 3 months in the water, how long would you figure it would take the laminate to dry out each year?
     
  5. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    a few cold days
     
  6. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    I thought this thread was going to be about the boat engine. Ive never seen or heard of laminate damage in freezing conditions.

    Freezing your engine will crack it beyond repair. Unless you've taken precautions.
     
  7. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    A fiberglass boat is in essence built from glass. If you fill a glass bottle up with water even partly and freeze it, the water will break the glass.

    If the water is out then you won't have the same experience. Glass don't delaminate from themperature, never heard of it either.

    If your boat will spend some time out the water, clean and dry it, remove the fuel and use it for something else in the meantime, cover the boat with a good PVC rip stop canvas cover, lift the trailer so the tyres is off the ground and you won't have problems.
     
  8. Yooper78
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Yooper78 Junior Member

    Thanks guys.
    Yes, I've heard and read about winterizing the things that will definitely cause major and noticeable damage a bunch: fog engine before pulling, if possible drain gas from carb bowls, drain the block with the drain cock, remove freeze plugs to drain mainifolds, replace, fill with nontoxic antifreeze, chaing engine oil to fresh so any moisture or acidic oil doesn't sit in block over winter, stabilize fuel so it doesn't turn to varnish (in the old days -- now I guess with ethonol we should pump it out over the winter instead of keeping the tank full; I haven't had major problems with this myelf, but have had to change fuel seperators more this year.)

    What I was wondering in this thread was whether there are unseen bad effects of freezing, thawing, freezing, thawing year after year at work when storing a boat outside cold that would shorten its life or cost money to fix over time and make heated storage maybe worth the price in the long run. Even with heated storage, I'd fully winterwize in case the heating went out at any point, so is it worthwhile to pay to keep a boat stored above freezing?
    What came to mind was wondering whether some moisture would be left in a polyester resin fiberglass hull that would freeze and cause slight damage to the laminate year after year, maybe expanding any voids each time it froze or causing cracking to let further water in. I wasn't sure how long it would take for the hull to dry out... does it ever get as dry as a new boat or does some water always get stuck in the laminate? If it's "fairly dry for an old boat" is that dry enough to not have any damage from freezing within the laminate. I haven't heard this discussed before, so maybe it isn't an issue, but I was curious.
    Apex' post above that a few days is sufficient for a hull to dry out makes me feel better about outside storage. http://www.yachtsurvey.com/moisture_meters.htm seems to confirm saying "I received a phone call from a fellow who just had a boat surveyed and was handed a report that said, "Entire bottom has elevated moisture readings." The boat had been hauled only several hours before the readings were taken. Two weeks later I was asked to double check the readings by the owner. The readings I got, inside and out, all were dry." that two weeks is plenty of time for it to dry out. In terms of the hull, this was my main concern, especially looking at it over 10 years since I don't think I'd see the damage (unless a problem before storage was obvious) the first few years.
     
  9. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    In fact a cold, dry storage is better than a heated one, assuming there is sufficient ventilation. The same is valid for cars btw.
    The cold air is dry therefore you will see much less rot issues as if it were stored in a warm building.
    Compare Scandinavian and Californian boats, the former live twice as long as the latter and rarely die from rot.

    cheers
    Richard
     
  10. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    If you have ie a live well in the boat and you leave the water in it to freeze then expect some troubles.

    As for the water absorbtion by the glass and gell coat, I'm not sure if that would cause a problem. The amount of water absorbsion should be minute and should evaporate fairly quickly. I have never heard or seen a hull destroyed due to water 'in' the materials freezing.
     
  11. TeddyDiver
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Not a very rare sight.. but some negligence or faulty winter storage allways involved.. such as too tight tar around the boat keeping the dampness inside might be worse than being totally without...
    The weather conditions in this regard can sometimes be very demanding. Think about freezing/melting/condensing cycles up to 100 times a season..
     

  12. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    .

    Well you hardly see any hard winter in your area. But it happens of course. When there is deep water ingress in the laminate, freezing destroys the spot.

    Pascoe elaborated on that topic in deep (though I am not a friend of all of his standpoints), and the topic water ingress he got right.

    Regards
    Richard
     
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