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Old 06-12-2012, 16:05   #1
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Sea Cocks Option or Not? Pros vs Cons

I have been researching sea cocks tonight and i must say having a hole drilled into the hull freaks me out a little bit.
I would like to know your thoughts on this matter.
Would it be better to have a holding tank of sea water that i could fill by pumping water into from a hose directly over the side? To me this would seem a wiser option as there would be no hole below the water line so less chance of a leak. I could then pump out the waste from another holding tank directly into the ocean from a hole above the sea line.
Researching engines i see that you can have a direct feed or a enclosed system to cool. Surley again it would be safer to have no sea cock?
I guess what i am trying to say is am i just freaking out over nothing and should i fit a sea cock or not.
Advice gladly received.
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Old 06-12-2012, 16:14   #2
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Re: Sea cocks option or not? Pros vs Cons

First question, What do you need sea water for? Cooling an engine? flushing a head?

If you really want no seacocks, there are ways but having a good bronze thru hull and seacock is not the end of the world, and with all things fiberglass.......you can patch the hole later if you feel you must.
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Old 06-12-2012, 16:18   #3
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Re: Sea cocks option or not? Pros vs Cons

Seems to me that having a few hundred or thousand extra pounds of weight moving around would be way worse than having a thru-hull and a valve and a backup plug. the thru-hull would have to have three points of freakishly weird catastrophic failure vs just one of having a tank bust loose or change the balance or corrode or, or or???
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Old 06-12-2012, 16:35   #4
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Re: Sea cocks option or not? Pros vs Cons

Phillip,

Use thru hulls. Keel cooled engines are rare in recreational boats for a reason. They are expensive complicated, and frankly a good quality sea cock, properly installed, will outlast the boat. The trouble occurs when people try to save a few bucks and use zinc fittings (including 40% zinc brass) below the waterline.
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Old 06-12-2012, 16:47   #5
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Re: Sea cocks option or not? Pros vs Cons

Yes, You are freaking out over nothing. Dont over think it!
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Old 06-12-2012, 17:02   #6
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Re: Sea cocks option or not? Pros vs Cons

Properly maintained thru-hull fittings are not big issue in the loss of boats. Because they are expensive, drag inducing, and a maintenance chore it is wise to minimize their number.

Your concern seems overdone.
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Old 06-12-2012, 17:18   #7
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Re: Sea cocks option or not? Pros vs Cons

Sea chests are common on many larger vessels that reduce the number of through hulls necessary for engine heat exchanger cooling and other raw water uses. They are used in a controlled environment that maintains a static level of raw water in the chest with as many take offs as you wish. In todays pleasure craft, it has been my experience that raw water intakes are necessarily minimal with fresh water supplied by efficient, low power watermakers being used to generate fresh water to operate heads (less odor), clothes washers, refer operation and galley needs.
If you do install a raw water seacock, make sure you have it located where it is easily accesible for regular service and have a properly sized bung secured to drive in to the housing in the unlikely event the valve should fail. Be certain there is enough space to swing a hammer to drive the bung home. Phil
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Old 06-12-2012, 17:34   #8
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Re: Sea cocks option or not? Pros vs Cons

Keep the number of seacocks to a minimum, and use big ones which are stronger. The seacock itself is less likely to fail than the hose and/or the hose clamps connected to it. But, you are correct that designers and builders could use a lot of clever ways to eliminate the large number of through hulls found on many modern boats. I used to have a 30 footer that had huge cockpit drains through the transom--worked perfectly and no fears about a seacock letting go. Use a composting head--no seacocks there. Another thing to do is to make the seacocks you do have very visible and easy to get to so that you can check them at a glance whenever you walk by the area--I hate seacocks buried in places you never see them. Out of sight out of mind.
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Old 06-12-2012, 18:01   #9
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Re: Sea Cocks Option or Not? Pros vs Cons

Quote:
Originally Posted by philipmclaren1 View Post
I guess what i am trying to say is am i just freaking out over nothing and should i fit a sea cock or not.
Advice gladly received.

1,000s and 1,000s and 1,000s of boats out there

all with those holes in the boat!

chill!
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Old 06-12-2012, 18:08   #10
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Re: Sea Cocks Option or Not? Pros vs Cons

The only reason to freak out over a thru-hull is if you are trying to install in while in the water.
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Old 06-12-2012, 19:48   #11
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Some sailboats have no holes below the waterline. Some have a common tube, say 4" that all the seacocks use that are below the waterline, and this tube can be sealed off keeping all the seacocks free of water pressure. This idea, while a good one, seems to be pretty rare.

I wish my cockpit drained above the waterline, rather than straight down on both sides of the engine. My engine compartment is tight enough already. O well, it has served almost 4 decades, must work.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:44   #12
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Re: Sea Cocks Option or Not? Pros vs Cons

If you really don't want a conventional sea cock then the only option would be a cofferdam arrangement that encloses the inlet (and seacock) up to above the waterline. Then any problem will not flood the boat. Of course, it could then be difficult to get at and maintain. Probably practical for a multihull, less so for a deep belly mono unless you have 5 foot long arms.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:14   #13
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Re: Sea Cocks Option or Not? Pros vs Cons

Nope if you have installed as a separate grate inside the chest (it's really a seachest you described) which you can easily lift it up from the handle. The top of the sea chest is closed with a transparent lid to ease inspection.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:36   #14
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Re: Sea Cocks Option or Not? Pros vs Cons

Keep the number to minimum but fear not to make a new one if this is truly necessary. If the hull is single layer of grp, the job is easy. If you have sandwich, you need to do the job very well to avoid water intrusion.

Use quality proper fittings (bronze, not brass).

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Old 07-12-2012, 10:47   #15
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Re: Sea Cocks Option or Not? Pros vs Cons

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
The only reason to freak out over a thru-hull is if you are trying to install in while in the water.
...and actually that's done all the time.
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