Monday, November 25, 2013

Prepping for Winter - Part 2

Winter has come early to Baltimore - Sunday's high temperature was 35 degrees with a low of 28. According to the high was 18 degrees below average and the low was 6 degrees below average. Add in 24 mph winds with 39 mph gusts and you've got a really cold November day for Maryland.

Quick science quiz -- what happens to water when it sinks below 32 degrees?

DING DING DING! That's right! It freezes! It gets hard as a rock. It is useful for little (other than keeping a martini cold).

Every slip in the marina has one of these handy towers for power, water, and cable TV.
Of course, the water to the tower only flows if the pipes aren't frozen. We had already received word that the water pipes on the piers would be winterized on Tuesday due to projected cold temperatures. I think Sunday took everyone by surprise. Honestly, I was really hoping to have unlimited water until mid-December.

Here is how things normally work for us -- we have a 130 gallon fresh water tank. We monitor the levels using the gauge on our control panel.
We have found that we typically have plenty of water for 3-4 days worth of showers, dishes, and bathroom flushes and we refill the tank when it drops to a quarter tank.

Filling the tank is easy as we have a hose permanently linked up when we are docked. It's lot like filling your car with gas.
We have a white garden hose that reaches from the dock tower to our water refill under the little starboard side door.
Many liveaboards attach a hose to their shore water inlet so that they don't have to go through the hassle of refilling their tank every few days. We choose to fill our tanks instead because we anchor our so much during the summer. Water that comes in through the inlet bypasses the fresh water storage tank and flows directly to the faucets. This is similar to the city water that flows into houses. When we are anchored out, we obviously do not have access to shore water so we use the fresh water tank. In order to keep that tank clean we use it year round so that the water is fresh and constantly being replaced.

Now, back to winter. Once freezing temperatures descend upon the area our fresh water will be limited. The water lines to the docks will be winterized until spring. But, wait - I said we could only go 3-4 days with the water in one full tank. Harborview Marina is very liveaboard friendly. The staff will run water out to the boats once a week in order to fill the tanks. We will also have self-serve access on Saturdays. The heat on the boat will keep the water in the fresh water tank from freezing.

Still doesn't sound like quite enough water? Don't fear - we won't stop showering during the winter months. The marina office has male and female locker rooms with two showers in each. There are also two clothes washers and two dryers. So while it will be a bit of a pain to walk up there for showers and laundry, the other fantastic 9 months of the year will make it all worth it (at least that's what I keep telling myself).

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