It started on November 17! There was enough snow to plow and more snow is expected through the week.For those lucky (or smart) enough to have their boats indoors few problems will arise, as long as the roof is strong enough. Boats stored outside are getting very heavy snow loads on the covers and plenty of blowing snow filling the cockpits and even blowing into tightly closed cabins. When a thaw comes, this snow will melt. What is on top of the covers could turn into big pockets of ice that can overload the cover and/or its tie-downs. Going under the cover and inverting the sag until the ice slides off generally relieves this problem. When doing this be careful of who or what is underneath and also of the proximity of adjacent boats.Snow in the cockpit or on deck is less of a problem unless temperature cycles result in the drains remaining frozen while the top layers thaw. This, and the snow blown into cabins, can result in water rising in the bilge. While the shape of a bilge is such that water freezing will do little harm, the water could rise to the floorboards and affect the wood, or at least the finish. A prudent maneuver is to remove the speedometer transducer or to disconnect a hose from a through hull fitting located low in the boat (and leave the valve open). This will allow snow melt a way to get out without causing damage.Improperly secured covers can flail against areas of the boat and cause problems with the boat’s finish. If we see a boat stored in our yards that has a loose cover, we try to apprise the owner so that corrective action can be taken. Often the best solution to a loose cover is to remove it. Plastic covers, especially shrink-wrap, should be recycled when removed. TMI can supply bags for the plastic (at a nominal cost) that are then shipped UPS to a recycling plant. We have daily UPS pick up service.The best part of winter in Michigan is that spring follows. There are lots of activities in the state to keep all the snow bunnies happy. Hopefully the snow will abate when the ice forms so that the iceboaters can get their share.
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