Boat owners clear decks of heavy snow

January 10

The Storm of 2004 has brought with it a rare amount of snow and ice, and nowhere is that more obvious than at the Hood River Marina. Boats are held fast not only by tethers but by frozen water, and boat owners are having to keep an eye on their watercrafts.

Most of the boat owners have no doubt prepared for winter by making sure there was no water in any of the tanks and checking for leaks; now it is time to clear off excess snow and make sure the engine doesn’t freeze.

The Port of Hood River said some minor problems have been reported with these private boats, including crafts slowly sinking under the weight of the snow, and encourage moorage tenants to check their vessels.

Heidi Ribkoff, who was at the moorage looking after her sailboat, said she came down to remove some of the snow and to check on the space heaters that are under the boat cover, keeping the engine from freezing.

“You don’t want to remove all the snow because it does help insulate, but you don’t want it to get too heavy,” she said. “It can start to sink your boat a little, especially the ones that are lower to the water.”

The boat owners try to look out for each other, she said, and if they see a problem they try and get word to the owner somehow. Sort of like Neighborhood Boat Watch.

Like hers, many of the boats have heavy duty extension cords running from the outlet on the dock to the boat’s covered interior, where they are set at about 45 degrees.

Greg Koonce, of Mosier, was also visiting his boat Thursday.

“Some of us with bigger boats have diesel furnaces as well,” he said. “If the power goes out, the diesel furnace kicks in.”

The worries won’t end when the weather warms, Koonce said.

“I think the big problem will be when the ice starts to break up and we’ll have all these ice floes,” he said. “They can do some damage.”

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