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Old 27-05-2020, 03:41   #1
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Fish in raw water intake

Yesterday I was finally able to take the boat out for the first time this year, just to knock off the rust of my motoring skills. After about 10 minutes the engine overheating alarm comes on. I limped the boat back into the slip. (Nuts.)

After two hours which included replacing the impeller, I found the problem. A small eel, or similar fish, was sucked up into the raw water intake on the sail drive. I removed the 2" of fish in the pipe shown below. Opening the seacock no water flowed in. I reattached the hose, disconnected the end at the strainer and blew into the hose. I could hear air bubbling around the hull, so I could get air out though the intake. But, hooking everything up showed no water flowing. It appears the rest of fish just gets sucked back into the intake when motor starts spinning the impeller.

OK, any good ideas on how to remove the fish remains?
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Old 27-05-2020, 04:01   #2
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

Doesn't garden hose water pressure permit forcing the obstruction clear?

On my boat I keep one of those small high pressure garden hose nozzles, that would be perfect to jam into that raw water hose.

There is not an exterior screen or exterior grating? There is not an interior raw water strainer / filter?
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Old 27-05-2020, 04:55   #3
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

Yes, I'm going to try using the dock fresh water. I don't have a good means to connect the hose to the seacock; I'm thinking duct tape . Thinking through the procedure, no matter what I do I will end up with water gushing all over. Better test the bilge pump first....


The raw water intake on the sail drive leg does have a grating, but the fish (or eel) was thin enough to get through it. The strainer basket was empty, so it is not like I went through a glob of seaweed with the critter inside it.


Another thing to try is jam pipe cleaners into the seacock. The problem trying to force anything mechanically is the 90 degree bend. There is also some concern that whatever is jammed in to push the fish remains out gets stuck.


Any other thoughts?
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Old 27-05-2020, 05:02   #4
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

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Originally Posted by wingless View Post
On my boat I keep one of those small high pressure garden hose nozzles, that would be perfect to jam into that raw water hose.
This nozzle loosely inserted into the hose end and pushed hard against the hose will permit enough water to be forced through the system to force out loose obstructions.

Wear your play clothes during the process, because you will get partially wet.
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Old 27-05-2020, 05:07   #5
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

A lot or maybe it’s just a few of us don’t think an outside grate is a good idea, you already have an inside strainer and the outsides grate may over time have barnacles grow inside of it and you can’t get them out because of the grate.
I installed opening grates so I can open them by diving the boat, but am coming to the conclusion that no grate is best, with no grate if blowing the hose doesn’t clear it, then you remove the hose and use a short piece of broom stick to push though the thru hull.

You can buy female nipples that screw onto a water hose end that have male barbed ends in 1/2 to 3/4 inch for harden hose repair, get the right size one and you can connect that to your hose and clamp it tight.

This one fits all hose sizes and converts to make or female, but you can buy them at any home improve the store too, maybe not a universal one, never seen that before
https://www.amazon.com/Maofa-Garden-...581309&sr=8-52
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Old 27-05-2020, 05:08   #6
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

My custom-designed engine flush system permits me to back flush the raw water inlet, from the strainer to the through hull.

Each time I am done w/ my engines for the day I flush the engines w/ fresh water, soapy water and Salt Away, then drain bone dry, ready for the next usage.

Part of that process includes also back flushing that raw water leg to the through hull.

With my system the strainer and the plumbing to the through remains filled w/ fresh water until the next usage.
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Old 27-05-2020, 05:15   #7
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
A lot or maybe it’s just a few of us don’t think an outside grate is a good idea, you already have an inside strainer and the outsides grate may over time have barnacles grow inside of it and you can’t get them out because of the grate.

I installed opening grates so I can open them by diving the boat, but am coming to the conclusion that no grate is best, with no grate if blowing the hose doesn’t clear it, then you remove the hose and use a short piece of broom stick to push though the thru hull.
The scoop type through hull gratings suck lemons through a garden hose. I replaced all of those on my boat w/ these Groco APHS strainers. These have been working well for me for years.


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Old 27-05-2020, 06:21   #8
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

Quote:
Originally Posted by wingless View Post
The scoop type through hull gratings suck lemons through a garden hose. I replaced all of those on my boat w/ these Groco APHS strainers. These have been working well for me for years.







How many years does your boat spend in the water between hauls?

Ours is typically 3-5 years between hauls so exterior strainers are a non starter for us.
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Old 27-05-2020, 06:43   #9
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
A lot or maybe it’s just a few of us don’t think an outside grate is a good idea, you already have an inside strainer and the outsides grate may over time have barnacles grow inside of it and you can’t get them out because of the grate.
I installed opening grates so I can open them by diving the boat, but am coming to the conclusion that no grate is best, with no grate if blowing the hose doesn’t clear it, then you remove the hose and use a short piece of broom stick to push though the thru hull.

I agree, and at this point, I'm looking for a good scoop setup that isn't a strainer (other than just cutting the slats out of a scoop strainer). A few of my intakes need the scoops, but I've come to the same conclusion that I'd rather have to clean out the strainer in the boat instead of needing to clean a clump of weeds or something out of an outside strainer.
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Old 27-05-2020, 06:47   #10
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
How many years does your boat spend in the water between hauls?

Ours is typically 3-5 years between hauls so exterior strainers are a non starter for us.
Mine is on the same haul cycle.

My last complete service was over a year ago and I used Rustoleum Cold Galvanizing Compound aerosol spray instead of the coatings shown in that image on all the bare underwater metal. That has been holding up fine so far.

My periodic in-water service is to use a hand held paint scraper on the exposed surfaces, knocking off any marine growth.

It has not been required for me to open the trap door while underwater. I instead only need those when the boat is on the hard for service to get the interior really clean.
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Old 27-05-2020, 09:04   #11
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

Quote:
Originally Posted by wingless View Post
My custom-designed engine flush system permits me to back flush the raw water inlet, from the strainer to the through hull.

Each time I am done w/ my engines for the day I flush the engines w/ fresh water, soapy water and Salt Away, then drain bone dry, ready for the next usage.

Part of that process includes also back flushing that raw water leg to the through hull.

With my system the strainer and the plumbing to the through remains filled w/ fresh water until the next usage.
I have a similar system on my Mastercraft X Star .(a Perko flush Pro) ...... the OP is talking about a saildrive on a yacht and I cant see what make it is from the photo .... If it is a Yanmar then I am sure the water intake and grate are built onto the saildrive and your system will not be able to back flush all the way out to the saildrive. What I cant figure out is the size of that eel getting through the grate and that makes me think it is another type of saildrive.
Your flush system is a brilliant system for your Mercruiser.
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Old 27-05-2020, 09:30   #12
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

Just a comment on “scoop” type strainers on engine raw water inlets:

On sailboat engine intakes they should never be installed with the “scoop” facing forward. When sailing they can force water into the engine cooling system, and without exhaust gases flowing the result is an engine flood. This might not happen right away, a new impeller in the engine raw water pump can present a lot of back pressure, but as it wears it leaks and disaster ensues.

As a double bonus, if they face “backwards” the flow of water helps flush debris off the screen.

I know it LOOKS wrong, but it is not! I also know a LOT of them are installed wrong, but that doesn’t make it right either.

Overall, I am not a fan of external strainers. A large and easy to clean engine room strainer seems the much better solution. Maybe because I am frequently in water too cold, mucky, or yucky to look forward to diving to clean an external strainer. I have also been in places where zebra mussels grew so fast and thick that any external strainer would have needed cleaning at least weekly.

My boat was designed with an open bottom strainer that is mounted directly over the thru-hull, so if there is a clog in the intake line it is easy to ream it out clear to the ocean.
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Old 27-05-2020, 09:50   #13
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. D View Post
Yesterday I was finally able to take the boat out for the first time this year, just to knock off the rust of my motoring skills. After about 10 minutes the engine overheating alarm comes on. I limped the boat back into the slip. (Nuts.)

After two hours which included replacing the impeller, I found the problem. A small eel, or similar fish, was sucked up into the raw water intake on the sail drive. I removed the 2" of fish in the pipe shown below. Opening the seacock no water flowed in. I reattached the hose, disconnected the end at the strainer and blew into the hose. I could hear air bubbling around the hull, so I could get air out though the intake. But, hooking everything up showed no water flowing. It appears the rest of fish just gets sucked back into the intake when motor starts spinning the impeller.

OK, any good ideas on how to remove the fish remains?
Dr D:

I don’t know enough about the internal plumbing of the saildrive to help with specific suggestions, but I have a bit of information that MIGHT help diagnose: The fish was in there from the time you left the dock.

I know because I was on the next dock over working on another boat, and heard the sound of a dry exhaust pulling away. By the time I got on deck, and figured out which boat it was, you were too far away to hail. From there on it was like sitting on a hill watching a train wreck!

I think you just added another item to my “Why I don’t like saildrives” list.

Bill
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Old 27-05-2020, 10:17   #14
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. D View Post
But, hooking everything up showed no water flowing. It appears the rest of fish just gets sucked back into the intake when motor starts spinning the impeller.

OK, any good ideas on how to remove the fish remains?
Hook up a shop-vac to the intake line, as close to the through-hull as you can get, and see of that will suck it clean?
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Old 27-05-2020, 10:23   #15
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Re: Fish in raw water intake

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Originally Posted by garyfdl View Post
Hook up a shop-vac to the intake line, as close to the through-hull as you can get, and see of that will suck it clean?
I agree with this approach. If you can't force it out, probably because of the grate, perhaps you can suck it all in. I haven't looked at an exploded diagram of a sail drive to confirm but I believe the run from the external grate to the seacock is all metal, so there should be nothing you can hurt by applying a high vacuum.
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