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Old 03-08-2010, 19:00   #1
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MSD Law - Options To Deliver Boat ?

This weekend I'll be helping a friend deliver his new-to-him 27' sailboat 165 miles up the ICW to his local marina. Its currently on the hard, scheduled for launch Friday afternoon. The boat has a head that is OEM straight-plumbed to a thru-hull for overboard discharge only - no holding tank, no Y valve. We will have a portable toilet onboard for the trip.

To complicate matters, the thru-hull valve is the original gate valve, handle broken off, valve frozen in open position. Hose and all else besides valve mechanism appears to be in good condition with no danger of failure and flooding boat (we have hose-cutting tools, tapered plugs and hammer handy). In fact, he and I each struggled for 10 minutes, a full tool set at our disposal, to remove the hose to effect a repair - its stuck very tightly to brass/bronze barb and there is no room to bring hammer into play to drive tool in to loosen hose. Obviously we could cut the hose off, but prefer to wait until boat is closer to home to do extensive repairs and upgrades...

Clearly this needs to be fixed properly ASAP, but bringing the boat home to do it right is the path chosen here, with only a small window of opportunity to do so.

I'm thinking its not wise to take the chance with the law. Should we:
1) Cut hose, remove valve and cap thru-hull since it will never be legal in its current configuration anyway?
2) Drive a plug into thru-hull from outside (quickest and easiest, but hard to prove to boarding authorities)?
3) Other options that may be suggested?

All feedback and input appreciated.
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Old 03-08-2010, 19:09   #2
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Can you remove the discharge hose from the toilet pump and plug it at that end?
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Old 03-08-2010, 19:12   #3
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just duct tape the lid shut on the toilet. Stop worrying about the authorities and enjoy your trip.
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Old 03-08-2010, 19:34   #4
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Just remove the pump handle. No handle, no pumping, no damage.
By the way, direct discharge overboard is legal, however you may be arrested for indecent exposure.

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Old 03-08-2010, 20:13   #5
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Having a portable makes the case a lot better than anything else. Making the old head inoperable would be best. Odds are in your favor though the problem needs to be addressed after the delivery. If some idea for the long term can be set then you could disable the head in a way that would not preclude a plan that would allow it to be used legally.

If it can be construed that the head is operable then it could be a problem if pushed into a corner. My guess is if it hits the radar you need more than just the portable and it needs to be made clearly legal after the delivery is over. You don't get a push because you say you are delivering the boat to a new port. I'm not sure I would try the duct tape approach. If someone was just looking the duct tape spawns more questions about the head than it might without the duct tape. No one uses duct tape on a head normally. It should should look normal.
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Old 04-08-2010, 01:33   #6
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I wouldn't stress over it unduly. If the pump handle comes off easily that's a great idea. Otherwise, while technically in violation, with the bill of sale in hand, the launch receipt, and the portable a reasonable law enforcement officer -- if you are boarded -- shouldn't have an issue. Just be polite and welcoming.

Enjoy the trip.
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Old 05-08-2010, 13:23   #7
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Quote:
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I'm not sure I would try the duct tape approach. If someone was just looking the duct tape spawns more questions about the head than it might without the duct tape. No one uses duct tape on a head normally. It should should look normal.
If the idea is to use a portable, taping the lid shut on the existing makes it unuseable. Clearly an unuseable head is unable to discharge. This makes it nessary to use the portable that just so happens to be next to the taped one.
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Old 05-08-2010, 16:20   #8
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You could take a toilet seat ring, which is beeswax, roll it up in a ball, and stuff it into the discharge from the outside of the hull. Then cut the hose about a foot from the throughhull, and securely plug it. (Dowel and a couple of clamps to make sure it can't slide out.

Now for three bucks worth of bees wax, you're totally legal. And the beeswax is easily cleared, won't harden, is biodegradeable if any drifts away.

Or, you could just tape the lid shut securely, and IF anyone asks, you say "The head doesn't work, it can't be pumped, don't even ask what a mess that was. That's why we put it out of service and brought the portapotty."

No one's going to be real interested in a clogged head on a delivery boat, unless you've really done something to motivate them.
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Old 05-08-2010, 16:38   #9
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I like Hellosailors idea of plugging the head. From there you can go to REI or a really good outdoors store and pick up these bio bags. Cleanwaste WAG BAG Waste Bags - Package of 12 at REI.com since I assume you are going to want a toilet on board. You can fit a toilet seat to a 5 gallon bucket and use the bags as a liner and then you will have a legal usable toilet. The bags are the holding tank. Also I don't think there is taht much chance of you being boarded on your trip.
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Old 05-08-2010, 16:42   #10
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Just a side note: if they used gate valves on the sanitation thru-hull, you might want to check to see whether they also used gate valves on the cockpit drains. This was a not-uncommon practice during the bad old days, and it could give you far more trouble than the MSD situation.
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Old 05-08-2010, 17:00   #11
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Thanks much for all the good ideas and input.

We will have a standard portable toilet with the seat/water tank on top buckled to the holding tank on the bottom.

As for disabling the head, I'll go with what's easiest - IIRC, removing the handle on this particular head (a bolt or two) is as easy as applying tape then cleaning the adhesive after removing it. No handle = no pumping = no overboard discharge.

Either would work fine, I'm sure, and I like both, each for its simplicity.

Am checking my list and packing my gear now - this is my friend's first sailboat and I'll be rounding out the gear on board from my collection to my satisfaction so if we have a problem it won't be for the lack of what's on my list...
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Old 05-08-2010, 17:04   #12
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Just a side note: if they used gate valves on the sanitation thru-hull, you might want to check to see whether they also used gate valves on the cockpit drains. This was a not-uncommon practice during the bad old days, and it could give you far more trouble than the MSD situation.
Yeah, thanks for pointing that out.

All the other thru-hulls on the boat are equipped (bastardized?) with gate valves, as well. They all work smoothly except for the head discharge valve.

Is the danger of not being able to close one in case of a leak what you were warning of?
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Old 05-08-2010, 20:14   #13
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Charlie, don't waste your money on the wag bags. They're a nice concept and IIRC they include an enzyme to help biodegrade the waste BUT for ten bucks you can buy a huge box of clumping kitty litter and a hundred good trash bags, and use that combo as a potty liner.

I've done this for invalid commodes and disaster shelter, and the clumping litter does a great job on odor and fluid control. Total cost for 100 uses, about the same as a dozen wag bags. And available at your local stores.
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Old 05-08-2010, 20:59   #14
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Is the danger of not being able to close one in case of a leak what you were warning of?
Yes. It's a bigger problem with gate valves on cockpit scuppers because people tend never to close them.
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:51   #15
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By the way, direct discharge overboard is legal, however you may be arrested for indecent exposure.

That may be so, but much less likely if your bio-thruhull is below the waterline of your bio-hull at the time of the direct discharge...

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