Please select your home edition
Edition
Sail Excchange 728x90 Used

Use This Sailing Safety Tool in a Flooding Emergency!

by John Jamieson on 25 Jan 2013
Make a simple seacock diagram. Divide the hull into thirds lengthwise to represent the forward cabin, main cabin, and cockpit/stern area. Place a dotted line down the middle to represent the centreline. SW
The average sailing boat could have eight to twelve holes drilled below the waterline. These 'through-hulls' are used for heads, sink and shower drains, cockpit scupper drains, engine intake, instrument transducers, shaft exits and the rudder post. Each could be the source of a catastrophic ingress of water if they are not maintained. If the worst does happen, knowing precisely where they are and how to fix the problem quickly could save your boat.

Follow these easy steps to make sure your through-hulls do their job for peace-of-mind at the dock, at anchor, or when you're underway.

How to Avoid the Danger of Flooding
Most through-hulls are covered by a valve--called seacocks--with a handle that can be opened to allow sea water into the boat or shut to keep sea water out. Seacocks are the most important components beneath the waterline and need attention and care to prevent flooding. Check every handle on every seacock on every through-hull. Surveyors report time and again that they find frozen sea-cock handles on most every boat they inspect. You must be able to close any seacock with minimum effort.

Move the handle from open position (parallel to the hose) to closed position (perpendicular to the hose) and back to open. This exercises the seacock handle to keep corrosion at bay, and the handle lubricated. Open frozen seacock handles with a light tap from a hammer or mallet.

Examine the hoses at the top of each seacock. Replace hardened or cracked hoses right away. They are the number one cause of through-hull failure. Inspect the stainless clamps on each seacock hose. Replace rusted or corroded clamps. Double-clamp hoses on each side of a device or fitting. This adds extra security and peace-of-mind.

Insure that a tapered wooden plug gets lashed to the base of the seacock with easy-to-break twine. If a seacock hose fails, you can drive the plug into the seacock hole with a hammer or mallet as a temporary repair.

Mount a hammer or mallet nearby in brackets in a conspicuous location in the main cabin. Paint the handle day-glow orange or red. Add reflective tape strips to make it visible to a flashlight on the blackest night. Brief your sailing crew or partner. Instant accessibility could make a difference in keeping your boat afloat.

Inspect, clean, and lubricate every seacock once a year when you haul your boat. This gives you the perfect opportunity to find and fix problems. That way, you will have peace-of-mind that all of your through-hulls are in great shape for another sailing season.

Make a Simple Seacock Diagram
Make a Seacock Diagram for your boat (see illustration). You need to do this just once. If you add additional through hulls in the future, update your diagram. Post the completed diagram in the cabin so that all hands can see it.

Make another copy and insert it into your ship's papers notebook or briefcase. Spend a few minutes to go over the diagram with your crew so that they can locate any seacock aboard your boat within seconds.

1. Attach a piece of paper to a clipboard. Draw an outline of a hull (see illustration). Divide the diagram lengthwise into thirds as shown. These represent the forward cabin, main cabin, and cockpit/stern area. Make a dotted line down the center of the diagram from bow to stern to represent your boat's centreline. Strap a rubber band near the bottom of the clipboard to hold your diagram in place. Grab a pencil.

2. Start in the forward third of your boat (forward of the main cabin). Remove lockers, lids, or access covers to locate each seacock.

3. Plot small circles onto the diagram to indicate each seacock. Label each circle (head, shower, washdown hose, etc …) Note the dotted line down the centreline of the diagram. Seacocks should be plotted to the left, right, or along the centreline for faster access. Color code if desired (see illustration).

4. Include bilge cover plates. These can be difficult to locate in trying conditions because fine joinery work can make seams almost invisible.

5. Move to the midships section (main cabin); then to the aft section (cockpit and stern). Repeat the process. Print a second copy of the insert. Transfer your rough sketch onto the new insert so that it's neat and legible. Post it where all hands can see it day or night.

Note that not all through-hulls are covered by sea cocks. Include these locations on your diagram: shaft exit (where the propeller shaft exits the hull), rudder post location, fuel and water vents.

Use these easy sailing tips to keep your boat's 'gates to the sea' working to perfection--wherever in the world you choose to cruise!

John Jamieson (Captain John) with 25+ years of experience shows you the no-nonsense cruising skills you need for safer sailing worldwide. Visit his website at www.skippertips.com. Sign up for the Free, highly popular weekly 'Captain John's Sailing Tip-of-the-Week'. Discover how you can gain instant access to hundreds of sailing articles, videos, and e-Books!

Cooper Teamwear 660x82 1Wildwind 2016 660x82Beneteau SAIL Oceanis 35.1 37.1 41.1 660x82 1

Related Articles

AMSA marine notice – Importance of using official nautical charts
This notice draws attention to the importance of using official nautical charts to comply with flag State requirements. Official charts are those issued by or on the authority of a government, authorised hydrographic office or other relevant government institution.
Posted on 24 May
Line 7 Marine presents Squadron II jacket in time for SCIBS
The Squadron II Jacket is now on shelves and has been designed to keep the wearer on the water for longer. The Squadron II Jacket is now on shelves and has been designed specifically to keep the wearer on the water for longer. It’s crafted from 100% waterproof fabric, with a high level of breathability for extra comfort and pulls together a host of extra features.
Posted on 23 May
Old4New Van notches up 100,000km and 20,000 lifejackets
Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey today announced the Old4New life jacket programme Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey today announced the Old4New life jacket programme had exchanged more than 20,000 old lifejackets for new ones, spreading the ‘wear a lifejacket’ message.
Posted on 23 May
Nineteenth blog from on board Perie Banou II - Panama Canal Transit
Still at Shelter Bay Marina Colon. Atlantic end of the Panama Canal. But not for long. Still at Shelter Bay Marina Colon. Atlantic end of the Panama Canal. But not for long. Shelter Bay is the natural meeting place of lots cruising yachts. Their tall masts and rows and rows of furling headsails. Most American and European. Friendly bunch.
Posted on 17 May
Zip up, step out – Top technical jackets
Zip up, step out – Top technical jackets Zip up, step out – Top technical jackets
Posted on 11 May
Eighteenth blog from on board Perie Banou II - Colon, Panama
Perie Banou is tied to the relatively new Shelter Bay Marina. Colon. Good Marina. With services, some modest. Colon remains, as with previous years, a dangerous city. But it is much cleaner and getting better. Perie Banou II is tied to the relatively new Shelter Bay Marina. Colon. Good Marina. With services, some modest. Balboa is the port for Panama City on the Pacific Ocean. The other end of the Canal. If one looked at a map or chart of all of the Americas and one wanted to cross from the Atlantic to th
Posted on 10 May
Seventeenth blog from on board Perie Banou II - Panama
I am back on the high seas. Left Nanny Cay Marina using engine, motored to Norman Bight, Norman Island, BVI. I am back on the high seas. Left Nanny Cay Marina using engine, motored to Norman Bight, Norman Island, British Virgin Islands. In quiet weather, sailing, motor sailing, or motor boating I can clip the tiller on (quick easy). Then clip the Simrad electronic tiller pilot. Then I steer electronically.
Posted on 4 May
Servicing winches for a longer, more efficient life
A question we get asked often is all about winch servicing and how often should this be done and how hard is it. A question we get asked often is all about winch servicing and how often should this be done and how hard is it. We thought we might try and answer the most common questions and put people’s minds at ease as to how it's done. How often should you service your winches?
Posted on 3 May
ANMM welcomes first European artefact to appear on Australian soil
ANMM is excited to welcome the first European artefact to appear on Australian soil, the Dirk Hartog Plate Just over four hundred years ago Dutch mariner Dirk Hartog (1580–1621) sailed into history when, on 25 October 1616, he made the first documented European landing on the west coast of Australia. And this week the Australian National Maritime Museum is excited to welcome the first European artefact to appear on Australian soil, the Dirk Hartog Plate, to Sydney on special loan
Posted on 3 May
Debbie says the 8thP with Insurance is Patience (Pt.III)
We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance. We’ve looked at what it was like to come into a disaster zone, seen the evidence of those that did the right thing, and how the area is already on the road to recovery. Now we’ll see why patience is the key in the aftermath of her fury.
Posted on 30 Apr