My last post here was about the dangers of a full time connection to dockside water, and the measures we take to mitigate those risks. I have always taken those risks seriously, but never actually had a plumbing failure that could have put the boat at risk.
Until—today. I mean really? Was my last post offensive to the Fates or what?
We finished dinner, and Karen was just finishing the cleanup when the piercing alarm that indicates a high level in the bilge sump went off. We can see that the pump is running. How can there be water there? What’s going on?
Once up in the cockpit, I can hear a noise… something is running but it is not a sound that I recognize. When I open the engine room to access the bilge, I see water spraying everywhere. AH-HA! The sound I hear is water rushing through the hose connection. Turn off the water, and everything settles back down. It only takes a few seconds to find where the hose has pulled apart from its fitting.
A couple new hose clamps, and we are back in business. Although the engine room received a good soaking, is all fresh water and in the summer heat it will all be gone quickly.
On the bright side, we were home and able to immediately respond to the situation. The bilge alarm was very important in alerting us to the issue quickly before the issues grew.
If we had been away, the water would have shut itself off after 200 gallons, and the bilge pump would have cleared that out in about 10 or 15 minutes. Nothing highly water sensitive is on the floor of the engine room so no serious damage would have been done.
If we had been away, and did NOT have a water timer on the inlet, we could have been looking at a serious, and expensive issue…
A tentative inspection shows that the hose clamp had corroded and broken. Of course they always seem to rust on the bottom where you can’t see. I have been replacing hose clamps around the boat as I see a problem, but it seems it might be time to be more systematic about that and just change all the old ones.
Fun facts. You should start doing preventative maintenance like in your working days. Make a list and record when you changed them last. Have fun!
Hey George! Our routine maintenance program has 243 entries. Everything from from changing oil in the main engine every 400 hours to inspecting rivet connections in the rigging poles every day while sailing. I guess I have to make it 244: “Replace all hose clamps every 20 years!”
Hmm, it is almost as though you can see the future? (grin) I like your method of worrying about things like this while you still have some control over the outcome..before they happen. Take care of the worst and the best will take care of itself! Keep having fun. James