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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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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