|Yep, that's ice. Note the proximity of the dock piling to the boat.|
First of all, as alarming as the movement of ice along the hull--the barrels in our case--can sound, this startling cccccrrrrrruuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnccccchhhhhhhhhh in the middle of the night, with the exception of slight damage to ablative bottom paints (which are, after all, designed to be a bit soft), the ice probably won't hurt your boat. Barrel barges are apparently especially immune as the shape tends to allow them to be pushed to the surface by encroaching ice, leaving them sitting high and dry. Damage, other than running into the stuff at speed, tends to be done when the boat becomes ice-locked with the ice pressing in from all sides and giving the vessel no where to go. Straight sided displacement hulls are more vulnerable in those instances.
Bubblers and Ice-Eaters can help here by cutting spaces in the ice, giving it room to expand and keeping it away from the docks and boat hulls. One of the thing that we didn't think about was the effect being ice locked might have on getting on and off the boat. See the above picture? That's about three feet between the dock and the boat, and because of the ice, we can't pull the boat over to step off.
The answer here is, of course, a little foresight. Make sure ice eaters or bubblers are on and working before an icing event is likely. Make sure your spring lines are snugged up enough that, should the boat become icebound, you can still step off onto the dock. And, of course, lay in adequate supplies of food, water, brandy, and chocolate in advance so you don't have to get off in weather like that,
After all, it's COLD out there. . . .
Stay warm, more later.
oh, hey, new stuff over at Life, Art, Water. Check it out!