Thursday, March 13, 2014
EXTREME WINTER WILL MEAN DAMAGED BOATS
This is probably the most severe winter that Ontario has seen in 40 years. That Polar Vortex just won’t let go. We’ve had colder winters and we’ve had snowier winters ... but not many as consistently both cold and snowy, for this long of a duration. As I sit and type this on March break where I am in Haliburton, it is blowing a full gale outside from the north with minus 40 wind chill and we are building on our all ready abundant snow levels.
If there was a winter that you would want your boat in indoor heated storage this would be it. Many outdoor stored boats have sustained damage over the winter because snow loads have collapsed shrink wrap and tarps and of course the snow and rain build up in cockpits and freeze and thaw eventually breaking cockpit drain hoses and flooding into the bilge. In many cases because it has been so cold, mechanical equipment that has been marginally winterized (where lines and tanks were not drained 100% dry) is frozen solid as the winterizing antifreeze just can stand up to this kind of cold (unless your buying the minus 50 stuff). Things like stern showers and anchor wash down systems are easily overlooked and are no match for this kind of cold. If you have any moisture in the balsa core or stringers of your boat it will have been frozen solid in maximum expansion mode this winter and it can cause both structural and cosmetic damage to boats. In the states there is a bigger problem because marinas down the Eastern seaboard don’t expect the kind of cold weather they received this winter and they don’t winterize boats to minus 20. In South Carolina & Georgia by example they rarely drain water lines.
I was talking to a new BGB advertiser in the Penetanguishene area that is in the business of repairing major boat damage and recycling boats that are beyond repair ... and he is expecting a bumper crop to come in once people are out and about checking their boats out this spring. Add to that the maintenance work that many boaters have put off for a few years due to economic conditions and it could be a very busy spring for marinas and boat service businesses. Our recommendation - if your boat is outdoors stored, check it out as soon as the weather breaks a bit and schedule your maintenance early to avoid loosing part of the season due to mechanical problems.