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Old 14-04-2011, 10:11   #1
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Kelp Troubles?

hello all I would like to get your take on kelp and if it can be a problem. I searched the site and read, but no threads really address my question directly.

I am planning my first boat dive trip to Monterey CA this weekend and there is a ton of kelp in and around the dive sites i would like to go. I will try my best to motor around the kelp beds, but how bad would/can it be if i get a little caught up in it? I am in a 38' cat with folding props. Here are the few data points I have.

sailing form San Diego north to SF in this boat we went through some kelp and just momentarily put the engine that was fouled in reverse and it cleared it pretty well.

on a big motor dive boat I was on the captain went right through the kelp and was not concerned about it very much (he also had big engines, opposed to my 2 18 hp)



Could the kelp get so bad and the prop so fouled that i have to dive and cut it out? could it kill the engine?



TIA for your thoughts
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Old 14-04-2011, 23:32   #2
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Yes props could get fouled to the point you loose drive. The other major problem is plugging your raw water pick ups sea strainers and heat exchangers.
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Old 14-04-2011, 23:45   #3
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Re: Kelp Troubles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pato View Post
Yes props could get fouled to the point you loose drive. The other major problem is plugging your raw water pick ups sea strainers and heat exchangers.
Ditto!
I use to dive the kelp beds off of Pt. Loma years ago. It's just a nuisance. It's soft enough that props will just chop it up. But a keeled sail boat really has trouble maneuvering through the stuff.

But DO keep your anchor chain out of the stuff. It'll foul it up so bad you'll just want to cut the anchor away. Do anchor on the seaward side of the kelp. A tide change can get you too close to the surf.
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Old 15-04-2011, 10:52   #4
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Re: Kelp Troubles?

thank to the b oth of you, I did not think of the raw water pickups...

B
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Old 15-04-2011, 11:03   #5
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Re: Kelp Troubles?

I was a dive instructor in Monterey for many years, and raced sailboats there extensively during that time. You'll learn quickly that a sailboat can't cut the corner on a kelp bed--even the smallest amount of kelp can stop a sailboat instantly, especially it low tide.

Watch how the tides effect the kelp. At low tide the kelp lies horizontal on top of the water, while at high tide it barely reaches the surface. The lower the tide, the more drag the kelp will create. This is especially true if you're trying to swim through the kelp at the end of a dive. This is important: when diving kelp, you want to make it all the way back to the boat underwater with air to spare.

Don't anchor in kelp. Realize that kelp only grows on rock, and that your rode will tangle with kelp, and that overnight kelp can actually destroy nylon rode. Find a sandy area just outside the kelp, preferably downcurrent from the kelp bed where you want to dive, and anchor there.

Be aware of how your dive gear will snag on kelp. For example, Monterey divers wear their knives strapped to the inside of their calves rather than outside. Kelp knows who the rookie kelp divers are, and it will make an extra effort to entangle them. If this happens, keep your cool; the best way to free yourself is to work the problem slowly.

I retired as a dive instructor more than a decade ago, by the way, so be advised that I have no professional standing at this point to offer dive advice.
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Old 15-04-2011, 11:11   #6
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Re: Kelp Troubles?

I saw someone being towed here one day and later talked to the skipper doing the towing. He said the boat in question had wrapped kelp around the prop and over heated the engine. It was a good sized sailboat. I wouldn't risk motoring through kelp if it's at all thick.
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Old 15-04-2011, 11:28   #7
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Re: Kelp Troubles?

Thanks Del and Bash

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Old 15-04-2011, 13:50   #8
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Re: Kelp Troubles?

We fish kelp beds in Puget Sound all the time. In a runabout, it's not a problem. I would not venture into a kelp bed with 5 feet of draft, though.
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