WOODS ‘N’ WATER: With winter coming, boat owners, you could be tested

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: With winter coming, boat owners, you could be tested


While I am no longer a boat owner, one of the problems I had was for winter storage with the engine and gasoline.

Granted, it was an outboard engine, but the motor stayed on it during the winter and I was always told that the gasoline in the portable tank could go bad over the winter.

As I said, I no longer own an outboard motor or a boat, but came across a very interesting bit of information from BoatUS News that some of you boat owners might find interesting.

One fact I was unaware of, although I do know that freezing water is a force to be reckoned with, was that freshwater expands in volume by about 9 percent when it freezes and can push outward with a force of tens of thousands of pounds per square inch.

This can result in cracking engine blocks, damaging fiberglass, splitting hoses and waterlines.

To prevent your boat from becoming a winter storage statistic, here is a quiz, three questions, true or false. Ready?

■True or false: A boat’s internal gas tank should be left nearly full of fuel over the winter.

This is TRUE. Before there was ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply, the best advice was to leave the tank as empty as possible, ensuring that you could add plenty of fresh gas at the start of the next season.

For built-in gas tanks today, the name of the winterization game is to prevent condensation from forming on the inside of the tank walls, typically a result of freeze/thaw cycles. Keeping the tank nearly full doesn’t give water droplets a chance to form and mix with the fuel.

Portable fuel tanks, on the other hand, are best removed and emptied. If it is unmixed it could be used in a vehicle and, if it is mixed, used in other two-stroke engines.

The article also said that you should be aware that in fuel that has become phase separated, no amount of additives or fuel stabilizers can help. The contaminated fuel and water mixture must be safely removed by a professional.

■True or false? Instead of winterizing a boat’s engine and plumbing system, it’s acceptable to use a plug-in space heater to protect freeze damage.

FALSE. Geico marine insurance claims show that substituting proven winterizing procedures with an electric heater can lead to claims for not only catastrophic engine damage, but fire as well. Claims files are littered with instances of heaters tipping over, shorting out or igniting nearby combustibles.

Even if you live in a temperate state, you should properly winterize your boat even if you will only be off the water for a few weeks. Having an engine flush system makes replacing the raw engine water with antifreeze fast and easy.

Here’s one for you: What are the top 10 states for winterizing-related insurance claims? Believe it or not, none of our New England states made the list. The top 10 are, in order of listing, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Maryland (tie), Virginia, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Washington and South Carolina.

■True or False? Most insurance policies cover ice and freeze damage as a result of cold winter temperatures.

FALSE. Coverage for ice and freeze damages is often excluded from marine insurance unless the policy holder specifically requests it. Ice and freeze coverage may be added as a policy rider or endorsement.

This coverage takes care of winterizing mistakes made by your marina, yard or other professional service provider that can leave your engine unprotected when temperatures tumble or when winter storms knock out the heat in indoor boat storage boat facilities.

Mountain lions

Yes, there are still folks who believe that Connecticut has some mountain lions living here even though there has been no proof, other than a mountain lion that traveled here from out west only to be killed on a Connecticut highway a few years ago.

Here in Connecticut we have had just about every type of critter hit by vehicles multiple times, but only that one traveling mountain lion.

Doesn’t that tell us something?

And be glad of that because an AP article I saw in an outdoor newspaper told of a mountain lion being killed after it attacked a child in Southern California.

According to the report, the 5-year old boy was playing in his yard when the mountain lion grabbed him and started to drag him off.

The child’s mother saved him by coming out of her home and punching the mountain lion with her bare hands, making the 60-pound creature release the boy.

The child suffered significant injuries to his head and upper body, but was in stable condition after the attack.

Wildlife officials went to the home and killed the mountain lion, which acted aggressively toward them. DNA proved that it was the one that had attacked the young child.

Sort of makes me wonder. Bear attacks, mountain lion attacks: only time will tell. Keep in mind that wildlife control should be left in the hands of our DEEP Wildlife Division, not in the hands of politicians.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.

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