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Old 21-05-2014, 22:00   #1
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Seacocks: your Operating Procedure

I am wondering how long people need to plan to be away from their boats before they would go through the trouble of closing their seacocks. Trying to figure out what is normal and what I am comfortable with. Of course, I would hate to have her sink because I couldn't be bothered. Thanks in advance for the input on what you do.
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Old 21-05-2014, 22:08   #2
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Re: seacocks: your operating procedure

I close them all when I leave the boat overnight.
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Old 21-05-2014, 22:27   #3
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Re: seacocks: your operating procedure

Since I only recently bought this boat, I
close them when I won't be at the boat
at least in a few days. I'm uncertain of
the integrity of them and their hoses.

I always hang the engine key on the
thruhull so I will not start the engine
with it closed.

Since changing to the C-Head, there
is no need for the head thruhull and
we never bring any saltwater into the
boat for any other purpose, so the
only other thruhull is our galley sink
drain. Real easy to close.
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Old 21-05-2014, 22:37   #4
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Re: seacocks: your operating procedure

I shouldn't admit this because I'll catch a lot of crap for it but I never close my seacocks. I do exercise them several times a year.

I've never had an unpressurized hose fail and I doubt one ever will.

I keep a good eye on the condition of my hoses and I use good quality hose.

I avoid using hose with wire in it. The wire will rust and damage the hose.

I use high quality type 316 stainless hose clamps and keep an eye on them as well.

If I was worried about it and they were hard to get to, I'd probably install remotely activated seacocks.
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Old 21-05-2014, 22:46   #5
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Re: seacocks: your operating procedure

Only when away for 2 wks or more...

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Old 21-05-2014, 23:26   #6
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Re: seacocks: your operating procedure

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Originally Posted by scotty c-m View Post
I close them all when I leave the boat overnight.
Even those served by the automatic bilge pump(s)?
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Old 21-05-2014, 23:50   #7
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Re: seacocks: your operating procedure

I close all of ours when we leave the boat... part of the shutdown routine, just as switching off electrics. Only takes a couple of minutes to do 5 of them.

An added benefit is that I never forget to turn on the engine water this way... as it, along with other seacocks is opened when we go through the startup routine...

Also note that we're on a swing mooring, so if something were to go wrong, it'd be a while before anyone noticed! Better safe than sorry.
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Old 22-05-2014, 00:09   #8
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Re: seacocks: your operating procedure

I have only three thru hulls open while at dock or anchor. I can close all three in less than 30 seconds. We are full time live aboards. We also have three layers of automatic bilge pumps stacked on top of each other in the bilge. They are wired directly to 675 amp hours of batteries so they can run for a while. The solar panels provide enough power to easily run all three pumps simultaneously. 500 gph, 1200 gph, 1500 gph

When at anchor I close them all if I am going to be out of sight of the boat for more than a couple hours.

When at the dock - I close all three when I am going to be away overnight.

Frequent closing of the thru hulls keeps them working easily and freely.

I checked both ends of every hose connected to a thru hull every couple months.

I have a computer program that reminds me to check every 90 days.
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Old 22-05-2014, 03:38   #9
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Re: seacocks: your operating procedure

I close all except cockpit drains if overnight or longer.
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Old 22-05-2014, 04:01   #10
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Re: seacocks: your operating procedure

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
I shouldn't admit this because I'll catch a lot of crap for it but I never close my seacocks. I do exercise them several times a year.

I've never had an unpressurized hose fail and I doubt one ever will.

I keep a good eye on the condition of my hoses and I use good quality hose.

I avoid using hose with wire in it. The wire will rust and damage the hose.

I use high quality type 316 stainless hose clamps and keep an eye on them as well.

If I was worried about it and they were hard to get to, I'd probably install remotely activated seacocks.
I'm pretty much aligned with HopCar. My two sink drains; two head intakes; three engine room seacocks (propulsion engine,generator, AC water) remain open unless I'm away from my boat for a week or more. I'm attentive to their clamps and hoses. I "exercise" them and I use an oiled toothbrush on occasion to keep them clean & bright. I do have two head effluent seacocks that are closed, handles removed & within locked cabinets when I'm in near coastal or inland waters. My engine exhausts. cockpit drains and bilge pump effluents are just above the waterline, but they are anti-siphon looped.

I would think that those of us who are liveaboard cruisers would spend far more time with these open.

correction: I have no anti-siphon loop on my cockpit drains, but they are pretty high in my center cockpit.
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Old 22-05-2014, 04:17   #11
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Re: Seacocks: your Operating Procedure

I'm pretty much live aboard for six months of the year. I'll close the seacocks when I know I'll be away from a day to a week or more. Nice thing about converting to electric propulsion is the most inaccessible seacock the one that provided raw water for the engine cooling system has been shut for six years. It was a real pain to get to it.
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Old 22-05-2014, 04:34   #12
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Re: Seacocks: your Operating Procedure

Way I look at is that something may fail a minute after leaving the boat,or a day, a week, who knows. Takes less than 5 minutes to close. At the same time, you will be exercising the valves, and hopefully paying some attention to their condition.
Bilge pump discharge is well above the water line, and does not have a valve.
If you are in an area where the water might freeze, it's a very good reason to close the valves.
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Old 22-05-2014, 05:22   #13
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Re: Seacocks: your Operating Procedure

I don't close mine when leaving the boat. I feel the chance of a double clamped hose that has been inspected at the start of the year suddenly coming loose is so small to be 0.

Much more likely that though hull fittings the valves are installed going bad, which you may find if you are operating the valve each trip. I have had those go bad, which is why I don't bond them anymore.
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Old 22-05-2014, 05:25   #14
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Re: Seacocks: your Operating Procedure

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Originally Posted by nigel1 View Post
Way I look at is that something may fail a minute after leaving the boat,or a day, a week, who knows. Takes less than 5 minutes to close. At the same time, you will be exercising the valves, and hopefully paying some attention to their condition.
Bilge pump discharge is well above the water line, and does not have a valve.
If you are in an area where the water might freeze, it's a very good reason to close the valves.
5 minutes. I'd do it for that. Takes me 2 hours each way, so 4 hours round trip to do mine. I timed it. Never again. Cut skin and a bucket of sweat to boot. That's the downside of having 34 (24 under water) and many deeply buried.

It's a risk/effort calculation. If the hoses and clips are good the risk reduction with a closed valve is very small.

That they don't build boats with just a few seacocks is pretty foolish.
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Old 22-05-2014, 19:43   #15
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Re: Seacocks: your Operating Procedure

I have six seacocks. I close all but the two cockpit drains whenever I leave the boat.
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