How Do You Protect Against Damage from Freezing?

Each year, Pantaenius receives notices of damage due to freezing but with a little effort, owners can protect their vessels during the cold season.

During the winter, vessels generally should not be left in the water in areas where the water surface may freeze. Last year, a number of vessels sunk at their berths on account of damage from freezing. This raises the question: indoors or outdoors? If you intend to work on your vessel during the winter, warehousing your boat is the better choice. But, if you simply want to have your vessel safe and secure, feel free to choose an outdoor lay-up.

The general rule is: The drier the vessel, the slower the aging process but this doesn’t mean that you should be using a blow heater the whole time. “These types of heaters aren't designed to be used continuously and often cause fires,” says Holger Flindt, head of the Pantaenius Group Claims Department. Better, he says, to make sure that the boat is well ventilated.

According to Flindt, special attention should be paid to cooling systems: “Motors with a raw water cooling system need to be drained completely. With twin cooling systems, the minimum requirement should be to drain the seawater circuit and check the antifreeze levels in the internal circuit.

An often discussed topic is whether fuel tanks should be drained or stay filled during winter storage. Flindt: “It’s clearly better for the vessel to leave fuel in the tanks as this inhibits the formation of flammable vapors as well as condensation.” However, be sure to discuss this first with your winter storage operator, since many facilities permit only a limited amount of fuel to be stored.

Last but not least, drain the water tanks and pipes in order to prevent pipes and valves from freezing and rupturing. “If you follow these steps, winter lay up should not cause you any worries," says Flindt.

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