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Susie Campbell
Advanced Member
Username: Susie

Post Number: 47
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 04:11 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Here's some good stuff to know before your trip!!!

Vessel emergency repairs

Proper care and preventive maintenance on your boat will eliminate many emergency repairs. It is the nature of boats, however, to break down when you least want them to. Being innovative in your approach to repairs is essential.

A few, well suited hand tools such as wrenches, screwdrivers, a hammer, vise-grips and pliers should be in your tool kit. Many marine stores sell tool kits in water-proof, floating boxes which are small, compact and convenient. You should also have a selection of basic spare parts. These should include belts, spark plugs, points, assorted hoses, fuel filters, impellers, etc.

Remember, when making repairs do not stand up in your boat. The wake of a passing boat while you are disabled and not paying attention could cause you to go overboard.

The following are some examples of emergency repairs.

If your engine stalls, start from the obvious and work toward the more complicated solution.
Do you have fuel?
Have you run aground?
Has the propeller fouled with line?
Is the engine overheated due to no water flow?

Should you have a broken drive belt and not have a spare you can fashion one temporarily from some small line, the draw string from a bathing suit or a pair of ladies hose. Tie the ends together tightly with a square knot.
If you are losing engine oil, find the leak, catch the oil in a container and continue to pour back into the engine until you can fix the leak.
You can repair a broken hose or pipe with rags or a tee shirt tied tightly with a line or a belt. Or duct tape may work.
If you find you are taking on water, first find the source. You should carry on board assorted sizes of tapered wooden plugs or bungs. If the water is coming from a through hull opening or small hole use the appropriate plug to jam into the opening. If the hole is large, use pillows, clothing, or blankets to stuff the damaged area.


Ted Lavino
Username: Tlavino

Post Number: 8
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 11:42 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks Susie!

For those interested, some favorite references for electrical and mechanical issues:

Boat Owner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual (2nd Edition) by Nigel Calder, ISBN0-07-009618-X

The Marine Elecrical and Electronics Bible by John Payne, ISBN 1-57409-060-7


David Sheriff
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 115
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 - 12:48 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I had a Name Brand genset dealer suggest to me recently that starting or stopping a generator engine while the genset was connected to the loads on the boat could damage the generator. This did not sound right and it isn't. What can damage a generator is switching rapidly between shore power and the generator while a large motor, such as air conditioning, is running. You should pause for a few seconds with all power off when making the switch either way.

After doing a bit of research, it appears the dealer was misinformed or worse. I had been hired by a customer to determine why the fairly new generator on a boat would not power the AC loads on the boat. I discovered that a component in the generator itself had failed. According to my customer, the genset was still under warranty. I found myself in the neighborhood of the dealer and stopped in to discuss the problem and pick up a new part.

The dealer was very reluctant to classify the problem as falling under warranty, so I finally concluded he was bullshitting me, suggesting that the customer somehow damaged the generator by using it improperly. Well, maybe the customer did cause the damage, but not the way the dealer described.

I take particular offense when someone bullshits me because I learn from other professionals and might have repeated this inaccurate explanation to others if I had not dug into the matter. I don't service generators every day, but I understand how they work fairly well and don't need someone trying to confuse me. Besides, its disrespectful.

Credibility is one of the few things that can set you apart from the great mass of semi-competent people. Some would say the guy was just being a hard headed business man. I say he tried to fool the wrong person and it's going to cost him business somewhere down the line.

Back to the practice that actually does cause damage. The reason is that motors also act as generators, creating what is called "back EMF." Its why motors have high starting currents. Until they are up to speed and generating back EMF (opposing synchronized AC power), their current consumption is very high. If you rapidly switch a running motor from one source to another, the sources are almost certainly not synchronized and the power being supplied by the generator can oppose the power being fed back by the motor leading to excessively high voltages in the generator's circuits. This can damage components.

As a general rule, manually transfer power slowly. Pause a few seconds between cutting one source and connecting to the second. It's why most power transfer switched have an "off" position between power sources.

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