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Old 06-10-2013, 08:18   #1
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Locking holding tank seacock

My head goes only to the holding tank (no "Y" valve). The holding tank has a deck and pumped overboard discharge.

I've been using wire ties on the seacock for the pumped discharge but it's in an inconvenient place to open and close when I want to pump offshore.

I was thinking of installing a key switch to the pump (with the key not in the lock) and leaving the seacock open. I thought this was allowed in the US but now I'm not so sure. Dometic claims that their switch is approved:

Products - Dometic

Keyed switch provides U.S. Coast Guard-approved security when key is removed; no padlocks or other mechanical fasteners required.


Does anyone have experience with CG and other boardings as to whether the key switch is allowed?

Carl
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:27   #2
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

No key switch necessary. Swage together some wire with a loop on each end and run a lock through the two loops so that the valve handle cannot be moved to the overboard position. The USCG accepts this method of securing the overboard discharge.

Keep some wire cutters handy for emergencies....just kidding. Well actually it is probably not a bad idea to make the wire diameter no larger than what the largest wire cutter onboard can easily cut, just in case the lock fails to open.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:33   #3
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

Probably depends on where you are and who boards you to inspect. A system that requires an affirmative action to pump overboard that is normally secured with a lock is how the law reads. You can only remove interpretation by removing the overboard seacock.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:41   #4
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

I have had numerous USCG inspectors on numerous inspections tell me the method that I described qualifies and therefore makes my sanitation system legal.

The USCG understands that it is legal to dump directly overboard far enough offshore therefore having a sanitation system capable of doing this, but locked while inside the discharge boundary, is legal.

But on the other hand the USCG can do some pretty irrational things like having a whistle onboard that functions but terminating your voyage because the whistle does not say "USCG Approved".
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:17   #5
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

I like this idea, but I would replace the push button switch with this, a simple $18 ignition switch http://www.discountmarinesupplies.co...FcxAMgodim4A-A
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:18   #6
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

Quote:
Originally Posted by JusDreaming View Post
Could you not use a simple
could you not use a simple ignition switch, seems like a good idea
I would not risk getting a fine over an electrical switch that shuts off power to the head. I'm pretty sure the inspectors would want to see something more conventional.

Fines are expensive, the price difference is minimal.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:22   #7
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
My head goes only to the holding tank (no "Y" valve). The holding tank has a deck and pumped overboard discharge.

I've been using wire ties on the seacock for the pumped discharge but it's in an inconvenient place to open and close when I want to pump offshore.

I was thinking of installing a key switch to the pump (with the key not in the lock) and leaving the seacock open.

Ours is plumbed the same way. Leaving the seacock open will fill the holding tank with raw water.

-Chris
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:23   #8
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
I would not risk getting a fine over an electrical switch that shuts off power to the head. I'm pretty sure the inspectors would want to see something more conventional.

Fines are expensive, the price difference is minimal.
I would install it on the pump/macerator circuit. When you want to pump over board via holding tank, just use the key.
I don't know if they,CG, would consider it legal though
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:24   #9
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

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Originally Posted by David M View Post
No key switch necessary. Swage together some wire with a loop on each end and run a lock through the two loops so that the valve handle cannot be moved to the overboard position. The USCG accepts this method of securing the overboard discharge.

Keep some wire cutters handy for emergencies....just kidding. Well actually it is probably not a bad idea to make the wire diameter no larger than what the largest wire cutter onboard can easily cut, just in case the lock fails to open.
That can be a lot of work Dave. My though hull is almost under an engine in a very hard to get at place. I am sure many others have similar problems.

My answer was to install a key switch on the outside of our power distribution panel. Cheap and it works.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:53   #10
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

What foogysail describes is my situation. I wire tie the seacock now but it's a pain to get to. It sounds like several of you have been using the key switch without problems from the CG (or other inspector types)

I looked again at the regs and I may have been misreading them. It seems that with a type III MSD (a holding tank), the rules about securing the seacock only apply if you have a "Y" valve (and I don't have a Y valve). There doesn't seem to be any specific rule about securing the seacock attached to a separate pump from the holding tank.

Y valve. Type III MSDs having a through hull Y valve must only be opened when the vessel is offshore, beyond the limit of U.S. territorial waters. At all other times, the valve must be positively secured in a way that presents a physical barrier to valve use and prevents all discharges. Adequate means include the use of padlock, non-releasable wire-tie, or removal of the valve handle. For more information see 33 CFR 159.7

USCG Systems Engineering Division (CG-ENG-3)

If that's true, using a key switch on the pump seems like it's not only OK but doing more than required. I would use the key switch just to be safe.
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:12   #11
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

Ty-Raps are cheap. A hole in the handle, a Ty-Wrap around the hose, and a pair of cutters next to the spare Ty-Wraps takes care of my needs. It also demonstrates intent on your part to comply, should you get boarded after discharging in unprotected waters. Otherwise, I like David M's solution, with the key hanging next to the lock. If the Coastie doing the inspection is offended, you can place it in your pocket for safekeeping against any "poop pirates" that would attempt to make your vessel non-compliant.
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:22   #12
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
What foogysail describes is my situation. I wire tie the seacock now but it's a pain to get to. It sounds like several of you have been using the key switch without problems from the CG (or other inspector types)

I looked again at the regs and I may have been misreading them. It seems that with a type III MSD (a holding tank), the rules about securing the seacock only apply if you have a "Y" valve (and I don't have a Y valve). There doesn't seem to be any specific rule about securing the seacock attached to a separate pump from the holding tank.

Y valve. Type III MSDs having a through hull Y valve must only be opened when the vessel is offshore, beyond the limit of U.S. territorial waters. At all other times, the valve must be positively secured in a way that presents a physical barrier to valve use and prevents all discharges. Adequate means include the use of padlock, non-releasable wire-tie, or removal of the valve handle. For more information see 33 CFR 159.7

USCG Systems Engineering Division (CG-ENG-3)

If that's true, using a key switch on the pump seems like it's not only OK but doing more than required. I would use the key switch just to be safe.
I actually have two Ys. One at the head, then one at the holding tank. I generally use tie wraps on both while in "No discharge" areas. But having a keyed switch seems like a better way to do the holding tank Y


I actually sent an e-mail question to the CG. Don't know if I will get a response, but thought I would see what they say
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Old 06-10-2013, 13:51   #13
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

All of these approaches have one fundamental issue, in that they are all "honor" systems. No matter how the outlet is "secured", it is easily unsecured by the boater. It is a bit like "homeland security" - a lot of effort for marginal benefit. On our vessel, we simply remove the outlet seacock handle. Never bother to replace the nut when we need to pump out. The handle is stored remote from the seacock. This approach was "judged" adequate for our RI inspection a few years ago.
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Old 06-10-2013, 15:00   #14
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

I have a friend with a 2008 wellcraft cabin cruiser and it came from the factory with a key switch on the overboard pumpout. His seacock is almost impossible to reach (not good IMO). Wellcraft told him that the key switch was all that was required to meet USCG requirements, as long as the key was not in the switch.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:09   #15
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Re: Locking holding tank seacock

It is always best to read the regulations themselves.

33 CFR 159.7 - Requirements for vessel operators. | Title 33 - Navigation and Navigable Waters | Code of Federal Regulations | LII / Legal Information Institute

Notice that for a Type III device three methods of securing the device are listed and are definately OK. The word "include" may mean that other methods might be OK.
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