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Old 13-03-2019, 10:55   #1
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Raw water washdown?

As I continue to go through our ship's systems and troubleshoot the myriad of partially functioning equipment, I find myself staring at a questionably installed raw water washdown pump that currently is not functioning and wonder to myself, "What is this really good for?".

We have a selector valve so that the foredeck hose can be supplied fresh water or raw water. Fresh water works perfectly fine, as expected, and is great for washing down the deck after a crossing. Other than spraying the seafloor muck off of the chain and anchor, I can not immediately identify what the raw water pump would be good for if it were operational.

Is there something I'm not thinking about? Why else would I want to spray seawater from my boat? I think I want to abandoned troubleshooting this and at some point in the distant future just remove the whole thing and its terrible cowboy installation.

Enlighten me, please!

PS: We have effectively endless freshwater on board, from efficient watermaker and heaps of solar.
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Old 13-03-2019, 11:15   #2
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Re: Raw water washdown?

If you have an infinite supply of fresh water and the energy to make it and don't need to worry if it will break down in the middle of nowhere then wash down your anchor chain with fresh water and ditch the raw water.
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Old 13-03-2019, 11:18   #3
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Re: Raw water washdown?

Fishing is the main one, always clean ocean fish/seafood in salt water, never fresh, but that can be accomplished with a bucket and rope.
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Old 13-03-2019, 11:29   #4
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Re: Raw water washdown?

I suggest not replacing the raw water washdown pump unless you can think of a very good reason to have one.
My boat came with one - which broke soon after I bought the boat - and I simply put another in its place because... well... there was one there before. I haven't used it ONCE in 8 years (I don't even know if it works anymore!). That said, the previous owner had rigged the pump to a hose that connected to a metal pipe on the bowsprit so that the anchor chain would be washed as the anchor came up. A clever idea, but I just yank and shake the anchor chain to get the mud off.
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Old 13-03-2019, 11:41   #5
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Re: Raw water washdown?

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Originally Posted by LoudMusic View Post
Other than spraying the seafloor muck off of the chain and anchor, I can not immediately identify what the raw water pump would be good for if it were operational.

Aside from flushing the cockpit while occasionally fishing, that's what we use ours for. Too much mud on chain rode here in the Chesapeake to waste fresh water on.

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Old 13-03-2019, 11:47   #6
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Re: Raw water washdown?

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Fishing is the main one, always clean ocean fish/seafood in salt water, never fresh, but that can be accomplished with a bucket and rope.
Why never fresh?????
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Old 13-03-2019, 12:25   #7
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Re: Raw water washdown?

My question would be why a fresh water wash down pump??? As Skipmak said, you'd need an unlimited supply of fresh water to use it. Know that those cruising in their condo's have pretty much unlimited fresh water but a lot of people don't. Salt water is unlimited in it's abundance for washing the mud off the chain, dust off the decks and other things you need unlimited water for.
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Old 13-03-2019, 12:58   #8
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Re: Raw water washdown?

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Why never fresh?????
I had the same question. My father was a lifelong fisherman (mostly fresh water but plenty of salt water fishing after he retired) and I can't recall he ever cleaned or washed fish in anything but freshwater.
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Old 13-03-2019, 13:00   #9
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Re: Raw water washdown?

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I just yank and shake the anchor chain to get the mud off.
Guess you haven't anchored much along the US east coast where some of the bottom mud has the consistency of glue and takes a whole lot more than shaking the chain to clean it off.

Repairing my washdown is high on my list before I head north next summer.
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Old 13-03-2019, 13:21   #10
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Re: Raw water washdown?

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I had the same question. My father was a lifelong fisherman (mostly fresh water but plenty of salt water fishing after he retired) and I can't recall he ever cleaned or washed fish in anything but freshwater.
If consuming immediately not a big deal, but the longer a salt water fish/seafood sits in fresh water the flesh starts to break down. Salt water fishes have hypertonic cells will become hypotonic as the salt content balances and water is absorbed into the cells until the cell wall bloats or fails. If you rinse sea going fish in clean sea water and package, it will stay fresh for a considerable time (temperature considered) and requires no rinsing when ready to cook. if you rinse in fresh and package, or store in fresh ice, chances are it will develop a smell and can effect the texture (complete cellular breakdown is rare unless packaged/stored in large amounts of fresh water i.e. soaking. Even if catching fresh water caught salmon as they are just heading into rivers a good soak in salt can firm the flesh back up and prevent further breakdown.
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Old 13-03-2019, 13:49   #11
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Re: Raw water washdown?

We expel at least 30 gallons of water from our salt washdown pump when pulling a muddy anchor and chain. Our tankage for fresh is only 45 gallons. So makes sense.

But if you’ve got the fresh and the ability to make more. Go for it.
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Old 13-03-2019, 13:50   #12
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Raw water washdown?

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
My question would be why a fresh water wash down pump??? As Skipmak said, you'd need an unlimited supply of fresh water to use it. Know that those cruising in their condo's have pretty much unlimited fresh water but a lot of people don't. Salt water is unlimited in it's abundance for washing the mud off the chain, dust off the decks and other things you need unlimited water for.


I don’t cruise a condo and I wash our anchor chain off with fresh water.
I do it because there is no smell in the anchor locker and it seems that my chain will last a lot longer if doesn’t sit in the locker covered in salt and exposed to the air.

Since doing that it seems to not be rusting at all, but does seem to be lightly covered with a white deposit, I assume this is the zinc?
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Old 13-03-2019, 13:52   #13
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Re: Raw water washdown?

When you start experiencing the baby poop that is called mud and which will cover your anchor and chain and get spit all over your boat deck when bringing up the anchor, ............. then you will know what that seawater washdown pump is good for!

Btw - mine died recently and I didnt hesitate to replace it as it is well worth it’s price to have
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Old 13-03-2019, 14:02   #14
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Re: Raw water washdown?

Interesting, I had never heard that. I have always used a saltwater water wash down pump when cleaning and only rinsed in freshwater right before cooking. Mainly because that's what I had. I guess I have been accidentally doing it right for 50 years!

I do intend to mount a nice big fish cleaning table somewhere on the back of my CAT along with a salt water hose. It stuns me how many people clean fish down on their knees.

I also have much experience with really sticky mud and having the ability to use Salt water with a high pressure nozzle is real blessing. I guess it depends where you anchor, right!
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Old 13-03-2019, 14:05   #15
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Re: Raw water washdown?

The anchor rode is the big advantage for a salt water washdown. Sure your rode may come up clean now, but there will be a time when it's totally covered with muck that doesn't come off well. Clay like sticky stuff, or even grassy growth on the chain. Not to mention sticky goo on the anchor itself.
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