Snow, Ice Cause Problems for Winter Boaters, Fishermen

A snow-covered boat tipped over and sank partially in icy water at Cedar Island Marina in Clinton on Friday, representing one incident of snow and ice causing problems for boat owners this winter.

Water got into the discharge hose, froze and caused the hose to pop, according to Jeffrey Shapiro, who has owned the marina since 1974. When the hose thawed, water came in and flooded the boat causing it to partially sink, he said. A mechanism preventing the back flow of water normally prevents that from being a problem, according to Shapiro.The issue with the Clinton boat has been resolved.

Many boats have holes water can discharge from that normally sit just a few inches above the water line, Shapiro said. But in the winter, snow weighs boats down, causing them to sit lower on the water and pushing discharge ports partially underwater, he said.

The weather is also causing problems for fishermen at places like Lisman Landing Marina. They're iced in and for some of them the solution is to wait for it to thaw out. As a result, there's a shellfish shortage in Connecticut.

Even when the ice melts, there could still be problems. Some docks and wooden piles might have to be fixed due to the ice.

The easiest way to prevent boats on the water in winter from sinking is to clear snow off the boats so that they won't be weighed down. In the past, boaters who owned wooden vessels would plug the holes so they couldn't fill with water, he said.

The other way to protect boats in the winter is for owners to take them out of the water for the season, according to Shapiro.

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