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Old 12-06-2015, 08:25   #1
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Harbour Stench in Shoes

I suspect that this happens to most sailors at an early stage in their learning. It recently happened to me. I was on my boat, tied up by a harbour wall when I suddenly found myself diving overboard.

I was a bit surprised as I hadn't planned on doing that. I wasn't even dressed for swimming. I had my 400 glasses on and they are now somewhere in the bottom of the harbour. My 6 week old iPhone 6 joined me, it had no choice, it was in my fleece jacket pocket. It hadn't a hope and now sits on my desk as an expensive reminder and paperweight.

I could handle the losses, as I still had an old pair of specs and an old iPhone 4s, I had only backed up the phone that morning. A replacement pair of specs awaits me at my opticians. The iPhone 6 I already miss, though the smaller 4s does the job, I had come to like the larger screen, and it did the Navionics charts so well.

My biggest concern however is for my shoes. You know how you can come to love a pair of shoes that just feel like they were made specially for you. So comfortable, more like a glove than a shoe. Anyhow, they now stink like a colony of teenage boys had taken up residence in them, without running water or soap. They are unwearable in polite company, which is the kind of company I tend to keep these days.

One bad sign is that I hit my head off the hull coming up for air. I picked up a few great lumps on my skull and a nice gash on my nose. The blue anti-foul that rubbed off really made the whole thing look quite dramatic.

I popped into my GP to see about getting the cut stitched (they put on paper stitches), but they were more concerned about other things. I ended up with a tetanus injection and a diptheria vaccination. So I think the harbour might have been more polluted than I thought.

Should I bin the shoes and break in another pair in the hope of getting the same level of comfort, or is there a way to rid footwear of harbour stench?

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Old 12-06-2015, 09:35   #2
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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

I soak my boat shoes in pinesol from time to time, it really helps

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Old 12-06-2015, 09:48   #3
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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

Getting shoes really dry, quickly, is also a huge help. Everyone in a damp climate should have a shoe drier. Placed near the door in a the mud room, you learn that on damp days you put your footware there instead of on the floor. They dry 20-50 times faster than in an average room, generally within 2 hours if well soaked, preventing odor. They already stink? A few days will solve the most persistent stink.

Also a great help when scrubbing shoes, since you can get them dry before they harden or stink.

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Old 12-06-2015, 09:57   #4
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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

If not just throwing the shoes away, soak/rinse them in fresh water. Just drying them with salt water in them will do no good.
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 12-06-2015, 10:50   #5
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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

Man, didn't your mother tell you not to go in the water with your shoes on? And you had your glasses and phone with you? Were you trying to catch dinner? What were you thinking?

Anyway, this is the past, now soak the shoes in a solution of 50/50 fresh water and vinegar to neutralize the salt. A faint vinegar smell may remain but will go away, but it is better than harbor stench. Since you are quoting prices in sterling, you may be from the western side of the north European continent, therefore, find a sunny place to dry them shoes and hopefully you can have it back.... Sorry about the phone, pride and specs.
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Old 12-06-2015, 11:21   #6

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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

What are the shoes made of? Leather with cloth and foam paddings?

I'd also guess a couple of soakings in fresh water, changed from time to time, would help remove whatever foul stuff got in them. Perhaps followed with a dose of disinfectant spray (our bowling alleys use that in shoes all the time) and a good long warm air drying in sunlight. A small ozone generator might also work miracles, they sell small 12v ones to use in cars, and that should be just fine in a shoe on a boat.

Rule #1: Stay on the boat.
Rule #2: No swimming unless lifeguard is on duty. (And we haven't one on crew.)
Rule #3: NO WALKING ON THE WATER. It tends to start religions.
Rule #4? See Rule #1!
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Old 12-06-2015, 13:05   #7
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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

There are deodorant sprays for shoes that work to knock out the tennis shoe smell from my shoes. Seems to work long term as I spray once and it's good till the shoes go in the trash. Should be able to find the aerosol spray can at any pharmacy.

I went swimming with my iPhone 5 soon afterit became available. Could get the Apple Logo to display on the screen with it plugged in but other than that, it was dead. Was able to sell it on eBay for $300 with full disclosure of condition. Bought a used near new iPhone 5 on eBay for $500 which made the inadvertent swim a little less painful. Might want to look on eBay and see what water damaged iPhone 6's are going for these days. While your at it, might think about getting a 6 plus. The bigger screen really is way easier to see detail and the bigger key pad makes texting so much easier for these not so nimble fingers.
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Old 12-06-2015, 13:45   #8
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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes


Sorry to hear of your accident, glad you're basically okay.

I don't know what products are available in Ireland, but I'm pretty sure you have household bleach available.

If the shoes are fabric, a tiny dollop of bleach in a 5 gallon bucket of fresh water will kill whatever bacteria are there. A little detergent will help remove whatever plant matter is decaying there. Follow with a fresh water rinse. Then dry in a warm dry place, if you have such. The Emerald Isle is emerald because it rains a lot, but maybe on top of a heating duct somewhere?

If the shoes are leather, it is more of a problem. Fresh water rinse, wash with saddle soap in and out, put in forms, or use wadded up newspaper, place somewhere warm and dry, and if you can, use something like a hand held hair dryer or a heat gun on air setting to keep circulating air around them. A proper shoe dryer would certainly be better, but I don't know if you have access.

Try the deodorant spray, if available. Might work. Might be more hassle than they're worth. Your call.

Ann & Jim, U.S. s/v Insatiable II, SE Qld, for a while
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Old 12-06-2015, 17:03   #9

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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

Sudden flash, how are your credit cards over there? If you paid for the phone with a credit card, SOME of them, at least here in the US, include all kinds of "purchase protection" which might very well cover drops, falls, and yes, even "I fell off a cliff and into the sea with it."
Not a lot, but there are some that do.
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Old 13-06-2015, 08:19   #10
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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

You didn't tell us why you fell off your boat. Last winter I fell about 4 feet off a ladder descending from my boat to the snow covered ground. I was looking up at the time. I told my GP about it and he, being a former cardiologist suspected Carotid Sinus Sensitivity, which means that when I turn my head sharply to the side, up, or down, the sinus detects a heightened blood pressure and tells the heart to stop. He demonstrated this while I was connected to an EKG machine, and showed that my heart stopped for 2 seconds. It has only been a problem in my old age. I'm now 83.
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Old 13-06-2015, 08:41   #11
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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

I'd soak your shoes in the remainder of the bottle of Jameison you were drinking if there is any left....If not the second bottle.

What were you thinking?!
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Old 13-06-2015, 08:52   #12
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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

I'm with Mendana. I'm glad you didn't get more bodily injuries. If any one saw it I'm betting your pride got the injury.
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Old 13-06-2015, 09:22   #13
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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

When you buy a new phone get a Samsung Galaxy 5. It's water proof to 1 meter for 30 minutes and is almost the same size screen as IP6. You can also remove the back to add batteries and memory (and dry it out if need be).

I always have croakies on my glasses on the boat. If I forget them I have a ball of yarn I use for telltail for night sailing. I make one out of that

I 2nd the fresh water flush with a little saddle soap then bleach and a fast dry
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Old 13-06-2015, 09:51   #14
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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

Always wear "keepers" on your sun glasses. They go by different names but basically a string that keeps the glasses on your neck. Ask me how I know!!!! Smile

One responder said to buy Samsung because it is water proof to 1 meter. If u were able to do a perfect belly flop u might be okay. But since u said u hit your head on the way up I think u exceeded that rule by quite a
Margin. 1 meter is for splashes, tipped glasses, and drop it in the toilet time. Nothing more.
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Old 13-06-2015, 09:54   #15
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Re: Harbour Stench in Shoes

First you tell us the tragedy, & then the comedy. My condolences about the shoes. I understand, & feel your pain.

As to my experience with getting shoes or clothes soaked in more olfactoraily "potent" seawater. You have to hose them out/off IMMEDIATELY with copious amounts of fresh water, repeatedly. If you don't catch them thusly before they start to dry, they're DOA.

BTW, on the Credit Card theme. Might some perk which comes with it also cover the glasses? And dare I say it, the shoes as well? Just explain to them via bio-chemisty, how the shoes have been irrepably destroyed. Which IS true. I'm sure you can get a few hundred expert witnesses straight from the forums.

On the serious side, I do have a formula or three for saving things electrical. Although I haven't personally tried either one on some of the more complex electronics. But I'm told tales of good survival rates.

Plan A ~ (This one I've used personally, many times on various submerged electrical toys, with a 100% survival rate, knock on wood).
1) - Take dunked item as far apart as easily possible in say 5 minutes or less.
- Rinse copiously with Distilled water, or the closest thing to it that you can find. RO water would essentially work/be close enough. ~ You're trying to flush out everything Salt.
2) - Repeat step 1, but use Isopropyl Alcohol instead of water. As in this instance we're trying to get rid of anything which takes long to dry. Unlike alcohol, which flash dries & leaves little to no residue.
3) - Optional (and untried by me) but after the above, enact Plan B.

Plan B
- Take electronic item, such as cell phone, & place in a large bag of white rice. Or barring the white rice (and this is an educated guess), substitute any type of grain which readily absorbs water.
~ The basis of the idea, of couse, is allow the uber hydrophillic nature of the rice to draw the water out of the phone.
It's the same principle & reasoning why you see rice in the salt shakers in seaside resturants. Ditto for my matches container when I'm a liveaboard.


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