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Marina / 2016

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Rolec Advisory – Frozen Water Systems

January 4th 2016

With the onset of winter, we provide some useful advice for marina operators on how to avoid frozen water systems…

“The harsh winter weather in the UK can easily lead to frozen water systems on a marina and we would therefore recommend that all marina operators have a plan in place at this time of year.

There are various solutions available to protect against frost/freezing damage, the simplest of which has always been to drain down the marina’s water system before the onset of the freezing conditions. However, this is not always practical for a number of reasons, i.e. the marina may still need to be in operation or occasionally the weather forecast may not have predicted the freezing conditions. 

In the event that a drain down cannot be carried out, a mechanical solution could be the answer. The basic solution would be to insulate the water pipes, both in the service pedestals and under the pontoons. However this provides only a limited degree of frost protection by simply covering the pipes and protecting against wind chill factors, but does not actually provide any heat or raise the temperature in any way. 

The best solution for protecting water systems from freezing is to install a heat trace tape frost protection system directly to the water pipes. This system can be installed in the service pedestals themselves and/or the water pipe system in the pontoons.

There are two types of heat trace tape systems recommended; the first being self-regulating and the second being thermostatically controlled, both of which are extremely reliable, easy to install and cost effective.

Examples of Typical Costs

Service Pedestal Self-Regulating Heat Trace Tape System

  • Approximately £20 per service pedestal for materials.
  • Electrical consumption approximately 6 watts.
  • Approximate running costs of 1p per day.

Pontoon Self-Regulating Heat Trace Tape System

  • Heat trace tape approximately £8 per metre.
  • Thermostat and protection approximately £125
  • External grade pipe insulation approximately £3 per metre

Typical cross section of an insulated and trace taped water pipe and flow

It should be noted that whilst the above recommended frost protection solution will assist in avoiding the freezing of the water system in sub-zero temperatures, total protection can never be guaranteed.”

  • For further information or advice on frost protection of water systems on marinas you can contact us on 01205 724754 or email
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