Lessons Learned – by Pat Carson
Is It Right or Is It Wrong 13
It is getting toward the end of 2021 and it has been a great summer of boating. I thought it would be a good time to end the summer boating season with another installment of “Is It Right or Is It Wrong,” recapping the hits and misses of summer 2021. For the past nine months I have been collecting photos and saving contributions from readers of things that we know are just not right, some things we know are right and sometimes we see things of which we are not sure. I thought that I would share a few of my latest observations in installment 13. I appreciate reader submissions as I may not see all that is right or wrong as I boat around the Bay, Delta and Pacific Coast.
Propellers And Propulsion
The propulsion system on most of our boats consists of a propeller and rudder, or sometimes both combined into an outdrive or outboard. It seems inevitable that at some time our running gear will make contact with something hard and will need to be repaired or replaced. Working around a boatyard we see the results of all types of propeller mishaps and I thought that I would share a few of these.
This set of propellers was pulled off the boat, placed on a pallet and was ready to be delivered to the propeller shop before I had the opportunity to see where they came from or if there were any other bent parts. Both of these props are pretty mangled and will require a fair amount of reworking, but they are salvageable and will be as good as new in a week or so.
This unlucky boat clearly found a hard object while underway. The large missing pieces suggest that the object struck was rather solid such as a rock or a log, thus the extensive damage to the propeller. This one is also repairable with a bit of welding and bending and should be as good as new once the shop is finished with it.
This photo of a neglected outdrive should remind everyone with an outboard engine or stern drive that these parts need regular care and maintenance. On this particular drive, it appears that the anodes have not been serviced as needed and that the outdrive metal has been attacked and is severely pitted. A closer look reveals that even the propeller has had galvanic action and is also pitted. This drive can probably be salvaged, but it will be expensive. Wrong.
This owner is doing almost everything right including tilting the drive out of the water when not being used. A quick rinse with fresh water will keep that growth from attaching itself to the propeller blade and keep that grass from drying and sticking to the fin. What the photo does not show is a nice boat with a full cover to protect it from the sun and dirt. Just a little extra effort at the end of the boating day a rinse will keep it looking good and running well.
Well, just the opposite of the previous photo, this boat appears to live a life in saltwater and the vegetation that is attached to the underwater parts seems to indicate that it does not get run very often. Wrong.
The previous photos are of giant telephone pole sized trees that I spotted in time to avoid them. These are the kinds of things that will cause damage to a propeller or outdrive even if you are going slow. Keep a sharp eye out for debris and avoid as much of it as you can.
Just about all of our boats are connected to shore power at one time or another, and in some cases I think that they are permanently connected. Here are a few examples of how not to connect and secure shore power. Shore power connections deserve more care than they get. Remember, this is 120 volts, and in some cases 240 which has the potential for severe or fatal injury.
What can you see that is wrong in this photo? I see three things. The shore cord connector is not supported and is hanging into the power adapter, the shore connector end cable has pulled from the internal strain relief and is now no longer weather tight and there is no locking collar or ring that provides both mechanical strength and water tightness. Repairing the cord strain relief is not a difficult task. This connection will fail from water intrusion and the weight of the cord pulling on the internal connections with no strain relief.
In this next photo, there was at least some attempt to make the connection mechanically secure.
The addition of the correct collar would make the use of ty-raps unnecessary and make a better mechanical connection. A point for cleverness, however still wrong.
I can only guess what is under the garbage sack and its purpose. But look closer at what the real issue is here. There is a 120V/30A to 120V/20A adapter plugged into the 30A receptacle, and then a long 15A extension cord (the orange wire) plugged into the adapter. The problem here is that the breaker is sized for 30 amps and the cord set being used is only rated at 15 amps. This is a fire hazard as the 15-amp cord will overheat and likely start on fire long before the 30-amp breaker will trip. Wrong and really unsafe.
I realize that this is not shore power related, but I could not help wondering what the owner is thinking. His skiff is nearly underwater and the battery jumper cable is in the water. Just looking at the situation, I would guess that by boarding the skiff the added weight will lower the freeboard enough that the boat will swamp. Good job on the fendering to protect the mother ship though.
Probably not a good idea to pinch the shore power cord between the hydraulic swim platform and the boat. There is the possibility that something sharp in that area will pierce the shore power cord set’s protective covering and allow moisture in. If this were my boat, I would also be concerned that the platform does not appear to be seated correctly. Might just be an adjustment or perhaps a leaking cylinder, but in any case, it should be made to operate properly.
Fenders And Their Purpose
Fendering is an important part of securing your vessel to protect the hull from the incidental contact with fixed objects and to assist you when docking. Tying the fendering to the vessel takes a bit of practice to get it right as every boat is different. We see many examples of yacht owners who are still searching for that perfect combination of ease of deployment and adequate protection. In this first example, I believe the fender has outlived its useful life.
Like many of us, I have been searching for the perfect fender and the perfect implementation. Well, I may have found it.
I spotted these innovate fenders at a local marina doing a good job of protecting the hull of a late model yacht. The design addresses the issues we have with the deployment of round fenders and they appear to offer better protection. Seemingly well made, I ordered a set of four for my boat from the manufacturer at www.impactfend ers.com. We’ll see how they hold up for the long haul, but this one appeared to be well-made and should last for years.
A few random photos of observations this past year. Why don’t we start out with a photo demonstrating the intensity of the unfortunate fire at Ox Bow Marina?
Unfortunately, this boat was a total loss. The extreme heat from the fire melted the foredeck fiberglass and many of the other plastic parts. I cannot imagine that that propane cylinder sitting in the pilothouse is still in one piece.
I was going to meet a client whose boat was on the guest dock at the Willow Berm marina. As I walked down the attenuator dock, the north wind was so strong that the wind waves were splashing onto the dock. This was not going to be a fun day on the water with this wind.
Walking a dock in the San Juan Islands, I could not determine if this grill was being used on the dock or if the owner was preparing it to be loaded on his motor yacht.
I am pretty sure that the marina has a rule against open flame grilling on the dock, but I was at this marina for several days and it never moved. So, I am guessing that it is a permanent dock BBQ.
The well-equipped boat trailer should have all-terrain tires. A client towed his boat into the boatyard to have a trolling motor installed and I was impressed with his tire selection.
Spotted at a marina in Southern California was this nice dog. Apparently, it does a good job of keeping the sea lions from lounging on the nice warm concrete docks and does not even bark. Love the leash arrangement, but Bosun Carson will not have any part of that.
Abandoned boats seem to be everywhere. This submission came from a reader that was travelling the Delta Loop and saw this abandoned boat with the engine room removed. Did it fall off or was someone in need of the back end of an old wooden boat?
That is all for this installment. Now I can sit back and enjoy that fine cigar and glass of port as I consider the new year, 2022 and hope things get back to something resembling normal. We are at the end of the summer boating season, and some of the best Bay and Delta boating is this time of year. With lighter winds this time of year, many of the yacht clubs are heading west for the annual Bay Cruise. If you are one of them, please be safe around our fellow yachtsmen and yachtswomen.
If you do see something that you are not quite sure if it is right or wrong, take photos and email them to me at email@example.com. I may include them in the next edition of “Is It Right or Is It Wrong” so that we can all learn from your experiences.
What Is That?
I was overnighting in a port city in Western Washington and found this funny object at the foot of the dock.
Not sure what it is for, but some of you may know.
Both of these props are pretty mangled and will require a fair amount of reworking, but they are salvageable and will be as good as new in a week or so.