Monday, December 19, 2011

The end of procrastination...

Well I finally did it. I stopped putting off winterization. (Isn't that a weird word? One of the thousands of strange boat-isms)

Anyway. After attending my grandfather's funeral and wake on Saturday, Greg and I stopped by the boat to grab a couple of things and I happened to see Captain Phil of the Pintita, former boss and teacher of the USCG Captain's Course I took a couple winters ago. Capt. Phil is a STICKLER for early winterization, though to be honest it's only barely frozen overnight a couple of times this season. And with my boat in the water, it's not likely to freeze hard enough to crack the engine block anytime soon. But I'd purchased the antifreeze and I figured it was about well on time to get the antifreeze pumped through. And seeing the good Skipper lit a fire under me to be a prudent boater.

Luckily, winterizing my engine is a short procedure.

My engine, being an inboard diesel, is seawater cooled. It sucks water directly from the Bay, through a filter, and then around the engine to cool it when it is running. In the wintertime, if you don't replace this water with antifreeze, the water inside your engine can freeze and expand and crack your engine block. If you're keeping your boat in the water, you can wait a lot longer to winterize your engine because the water holds heat and until the water starts freezing, you don't really have to worry about this. If you store your boat on land in winter, you need to winterize for sure before removing your boat from the water.

Most boaters, including me, use potable antifreeze (which is pink, as opposed to antifreeze you use in your car, which is usually scarily green) for winterizing because you end up pouring an entire gallon of it directly into the Bay. On Misty, to winterize the engine, all I needed to do was fill a bucket with the pink stuff, unscrew the band holding the hose to the intake seacock (which I closed, thank you very much), pull the hose off, place the hose in the bucket 'o' antifreeze, and start the engine. Greg was quite helpful at this juncture. It's VERY difficult to get into and out of the engine access hole on Misty, so he was kind enough to fulfill my tool requests and watch the exhaust water to make sure it was turning fully pink.

And that's it! After the engine has sucked up a whole gallon of antifreeze and spat it out the back, all you need to do is reattach the hose.

Come spring (or a suitably warm winter day!) all you need to do is open the seawater intake seacock and start the engine and voila! Seawater cooling and antifreeze feeding the fishes.

Now if I could just muster the desire to fill my water tank so I can do some dishes tonight...