I don't know how you members are feeling, but it just struck me that we have published on a bunch of complex subjects lately: pitching moments, easily driven hull forms, practicality of going all renewable for electrical generation, and a deep...really, really, deep...dive into a bent-anchor incident.
All really important stuff but harder to digest, although thankfully Colin's always wonderful sea stories have lightened things up.
Anyway, time for a good old nuts-and-bolts gear article. The first of a bunch I will be writing about the cool stuff, and some not so cool, we have added to our J/109 since we bought her three years ago.
Let's dig in:
Why It Matters
Two things that keep me awake at night are the thought of our boat filling with water and sinking when we are not aboard, and going below while underway and finding myself up to my ankles in water.
And, judging from what I hear, both happen a lot more often than you might think.
I personally know of at least five separate incidents where boats have sunk, or come close to sinking, at the mooring or wharf when unattended.
And how often have we heard of a crew member going below to find flooding already out of control and the source difficult or impossible to find and fix because of the amount of water that's already in the boat?
The results are not fun, either. A friend of mine had his 40-foot boat fill to just a couple of feet above the cabin sole before he discovered and stopped it, and still it cost his insurance company over $100,000 to fix the mess.
Water, particularly salt water, is destructive stuff.
If ever there was a situation where an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure, this is it.
Colin and I have already written some articles about keeping the wet stuff out in the first place, and pumping it out if it does get in, so now let's take a look at making as sure as we can that our boats are not filling up with water when our backs are turned.
The early warning part.
What We Need To Do
And there are four pieces to that:
- Monitoring the bilge for the presence of water.
- Starting the bilge pump...duh.
- Alerting us if the flooding overwhelms the pump, wherever we are:
- On deck
- Not on the boat
- Alerting us if the pump runs more often than it should.
Phyllis and I have had the gear on our boats to accomplish numbers 1 and 2 and most of numbers 3 and 4 for over 30 years. And we were all-in-early on boat-monitoring systems to cover off numbers 3 and 4—now on our third system.
Let's take a look: